Coming to a Supreme Court nearest you…deflated footballs?
We’re still talking about air pressure in a football, people!
In a 2-1 decision in the second circuit of the U.S. Appeals Court, the choice to exonerate Tom Brady of a four-game suspension for his suspected role in the New England Patriots’ deflated football scandal was reversed on Monday.
Brady, as it stands today, will serve that four-game suspension—the one that was originally handed down to him by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last May—in the first month of the 2016 season.
I was at the 2014 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. I watched as Tom Brady threw a late first-half interception to D’Qwell Jackson. I watched as a Patriots’ ball boy sprinted down the sidelines to toss a football into play in the beginning of the second half. I watched as Brady got under center only to be whistled to stop by a referee. I watched as a week of Super Bowl press conferences turned into Bill Belichick channeling his inner Bill Nye. And I watched a summer of Super Bowl celebrations turn into an endless line of court hearings.
I got angry. I changed my Twitter picture to Brady’s jersey, as did so many fellow Patriots fans as well as players. I screamed defam- atory words toward Goodell as the Pats dropped their fourth Super Bowl banner last September.
Personal bias aside, as hard as it is to realize that now, I’m furious—for a different reason.
Are we really going to do this again? Are we really going to dance this dance for a second straight summer? Barring Brady and the NFLPA accepting this four-game ban, (and why would they?) this thing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Brady has options like he has weapons on the football field on Sundays. He can request a re-hearing en banc at the second circuit, meaning all the judges of the court would re-hear the case. Or, if he is denied en banc, (which he probably will be, as rehearing en banc are rarely granted) or if he loses in a re-hearing, Brady can take this to the Supreme Court.
Yes. The Supreme Court.
A home for murder trials and death penalty decisions, there’s a chance the Supreme Court will be hearing a case centered around air pressure of a football. All Brady would need is four of the eight remaining judges to agree to hear the writ for the case to be brought to the highest of all courts in the United States.
What a joke. But honestly, if the NFL can go through the troubles it went through and spent the millions it spent to nail Brady, why shouldn’t Brady take this as far as he can?
The kicker of the entire thing?
If, in fact, Brady decides to further fight his suspension, whether he goes through the circuits of the U.S. Appeals Courts and if he takes this all the way to the Supreme Court, Brady can request a stay of the decision while the Supreme Court sorts it out. How long could that take? Who knows.
My brain hurts writing this, because this is where we’re at. If you think Monday’s decision spells the end of Deflategate, you haven’t been following.
No matter what court this issue finds a home in the coming weeks, one thing is clear. We have spent the last 16 months—and that number will grow—talking about whether or not Tom Brady knew about air pressure being taken out of his footballs in a game his team won 45-7.
David Heim is a senior journalism major from Roselle Park, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @davidheim12.