Judges Grill Tom Brady’s Side In Deflategate Appeal

Tom Brady

With the NFL season finally over, we can now turn our attention to more important things with the “Deflategate” Appeal by the NFL, or at least, that is how Commissioner Roger Goodell and his team of legal representatives feel. On Thursday, representatives from the NFL and Tom Brady’s defense returned to federal court in New York City for the preliminary hearing of the NFL’s appeal on the “Deflategate” ruling by judge Richard Berman back in September.

Unlike the set of hearings that took place in September, however, it appears that the NFL may have gotten the upper hand early in this set of current appeals. One of the three judges appointed to the case, Judge Chin, said on Thursday that evidence of ball tampering was “compelling, if not overwhelming” as he along with Judge Barrington D. Parker peppered Brady’s lawyer, Jeffery Kesler with questions concerning the tampering and destruction of Brady’s cell phone during the Wells investigation. 

Neither Brady or Commissioner Goodell were present at Thursday’s hearing, and both are not expected to appear in court until after preliminary arguments/hearings are over sometime during the summer. The case is not expected to receive a ruling for several months and could possibly cut into the 2016 NFL regular season, meaning that even if Brady’s four-game suspension were to be reinstated, he likely would not sit out until 2017 if he were to decide to once again appeal the ruling. 

The judges peppering Jeffery Kesler about the cell-phone destruction is not a good start to the appeal process for Brady’s team, Patriot-Nation, and anybody supporting TB12 in this case. However, one also must remember that Judge Berman peppered the NFL with questions about its procedures and handling of the investigation, the Wells Report, and the decision to levy out the four-game ban on Brady. Part of an appeal process is for the judges to re-examine and call into question all of the evidence and facts which led to the previous ruling, that way they can either dig deeper or eliminate certain discrepancies in the case. This ‘peppering’ of Brady’s team on Thursday is the same thing that occurred with the NFL when it went to court for Brady’s appeal last summer so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Brady’s team has quickly come under fire. 

Many people in New England have already become afraid that the decision by Judge Berman to nullify Brady’s suspension could get overturned, but right now it is way too early to tell. Yes, the judges peppering Jeffery Kesler on the opening day of the NFL’s appeal is certainly not a positive for Brady’s side, but this case is months away from reaching a decision and a lot more has to be discussed and examined in order for any type of decision to be made.

Stay tuned. 

Information from ESPN and CBS Sports’ Mike Hurley was used in this report. 

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