Tom Brady's "deflategate" suspension has been reinstated by the United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit Court. This is the latest decision in a year-long battle to punish New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady for his alleged involvement in a scheme to deflate Patriots footballs at the 2015 American Football Conference (AFC) Championship. The scandal resulted in the Patriots win over the Indianapolis Colts and their advancement to Super Bowl XLIX, which they later won.

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The case of "deflategate"

Two of the three judges on the Second Circuit Court reinstated the suspension based on two factors: Brady's highly suspicious actions after the scandal was revealed and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's actions as arbitrator, which the court called "properly grounded."

The ordeal started when Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson intercepted a ball during the AFC Championship thrown by Brady and noticed that the ball was underinflated.

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After inspection by officials, it was determined that eleven of the Patriots balls were underinflated while all of the Colts balls passed inspection. The permissible range for National Footbal League (NFL) footballs is 12.5 to 13.5 psi.

The details of the investigation were released in the Wells Report in May 2015. It found that Patriots official Jim McNally had taken the game balls from the Officials Locker Room without permission to a bathroom, where he deflated all eleven balls.

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A series of text messages between him and fellow Patriots Official John Jastremski implicated Brady in the debacle, seemingly concluding that the order to deflate the balls came from Brady directly.

Brady further implicated himself by having a 25-minute phone call with Jastremski the same day the initial investigation was announced on January 19, 2015. The report also stated that, "Brady had also taken the 'unprecented step' on January 19 of inviting Jastremski to the quarterback room, and had sent Jastremski several text messages that day that were apparently designed to calm him." The Wells Report concluded that Brady was "at least generally aware" of the plot.

Goodell's investigation

An internal investigation ensued later with Goodell as the arbitrator. Goodell levied a 4-game suspension on Brady, which Brady appealed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Judge Richard M. Berman sided with Brady and overturned Goodell's punishment.

Today, the Second Circuit Court held that Goodell had acted properly by overseeing the case given the information available, including the fact that Brady not only withheld his cellphone used during the AFC Championship from investigators, but he also instructed his assistant to destroy it. The court likened Goodell's punishment as equivalent to an athlete being caught using steroids, thereby making the suspension appropriate.

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Reaction from all sides

The NFL released a statement on the recent court decision. "We are pleased the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled today that the Commissioner [Roger Goodell] properly exercised his authority under the collective bargaining agreement to act in cases involving the integrity of the game.

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That authority has been recognized by many courts and has been expressly incorporated into every collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA [National Football League Players Association] for the past 40 years."

The NFLPA was not as accepting of the decision. They stated, "We fought Roger Goodell's suspension of Tom Brady because we know he did not serve as a fair arbitrator and that the player's rights were violated under our collective bargaining agreement." They vowed to continue to fight the latest ruling, ensuring that the sports world hasn't heard the last of "deflategate."

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