By Caleb Bailey, Sports Editor
Anyone wanting New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady to sit out the first few games of the 2015 NFL season was certainly in for some bad news early last week. Brady won his appeal and had his four-game suspension wiped away by Judge Richard Berman.
If you have been living under a rock for the last eight months, then you won’t know why Brady was suspended. He was accused of deflating balls during the 2014 AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Berman ruled Commissioner Roger Goodell as issuing “his own brand of industrial justice” and saying that because Brady was not aware of his violation being on par with someone caught using performance-enhancing drugs, the suspension was invalid. This is a huge blow to Goodell and the NFL as he has now lost five straight appeals, dating back to the 2009 New Orleans Saints bountygate scandal.
For those who believe Brady got away with cheating in the game, keep in mind that this suspension appeal was not about whether or not cheating occurred. Berman believed that Goodell did not have the power to lay down such a large suspension, which is the truth as well. Chalk this up to Goodell believing he is above the NFL owners and the power within the NFL Players’ Association.
Brady spoke with the media for the first time Sunday, claiming he is ready to move past everything and get back on the field.
“My part is to get ready to play football and that’s what I’m prepared to do,” Brady said, per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. Brady added, “For the last 20 years, I’ve been playing football this time of year and it feels good to be able to do it again.”
Goodell and the NFL will appeal Judge Berman’s decision, but that could take months, or even years, for it to go through and really affect the quarterback’s future. There is no telling where the NFL could go from here, but one thing is sure: the Patriots are excited to have their MVP quarterback on the field for Thursday’s season opener.
One cannot help but feel bad for backup-quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He was slated to be the starter for the first four games, but now that Brady has returned, it is hard to imagine that he will get his shot in 2015.
At least he still has the opportunity to learn from one of the NFL’s very best, but that is a story for another day.