NEW YORK (AP) – A federal appeals court has ruled that New England Patriots Tom Brady must serve a four-game “Deflategate” suspension imposed by the NFL, overturning a lower judge and siding with the league in a battle with the players union.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in New York. The decision by a three-judge panel may end the legal debate over the scandal that led to months of football fans arguing over air pressure and the reputation of one of the league’s top teams.
It is also likely to fuel a fresh round of debate over what role, if any, the former University of Michigan quarterback and top NFL star played in using underinflated footballs at the AFC championship game in January 2015.
The appeals ruling follows a September decision by Manhattan Judge Richard Berman that went against the league, letting Brady skip the suspension.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell insisted the suspension was deserved.
meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is weighing in on Deflategate, saying “Leave Tom Brady alone.”
Trump made his comments during a campaign appearance in Rhode Island on Monday, soon after a federal appeals court ruled the New England Patriots quarterback must serve a four-game suspension imposed by the NFL.
Trump told hundreds of people at the rally that Brady is a “great guy” and “it’s enough.”
Rhode Island’s primary is Tuesday.
The two men have said they are friends, and they have golfed together.
Brady last year displayed a “Make America Great Again” hat from the Trump campaign in his locker. He said at the time that he hoped Trump would win the presidency, but later said the comment was offhand and taken out of context.