I kid. The fact that the Jets exist at all proves that there is no God.
Note that the court didn’t rule that Brady was innocent in Deflategate. The ruling was that Roger Goodell’s decision to suspend him for four games was an arbitrary punishment which Goodell had no explicit authority under the collective bargaining agreement to impose. It’s hard to believe, but even in Barack Obama’s America there are limits to executive power.
The judge said Brady had no notice he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others or participation in any scheme to deflate football and for not cooperating with an investigation.
“Brady also had no notice that his discipline would be the equivalent of the discipline imposed upon a player who used performance enhancing drugs,” Berman said.
Brady was also denied equal access to investigative files, including witness interview notes, and didn’t have a chance to examine one of two lead investigators, the judge said.
More from the NYT:
Brady’s lawyers had argued that the N.F.L. did not warn him that he could be suspended for not cooperating with the league’s investigation, as a report commissioned by the N.F.L. asserted, or for playing a role in tampering with equipment, something that normally warrants a fine. Brady had denied any knowledge, but the N.F.L. report said the preponderance of evidence made it likely he knew about the balls.
Judge Berman’s ruling is a blow to Goodell, who has tried to expand his authority to suspend players for what he perceives to be violations of the integrity of the game.
In other words, Goodell and the league stacked the deck against Brady procedurally and then slapped him with a penalty that no one realized was possible for deflating game balls. If you’re going to claim a power that’s never been asserted before, you’d better have some solid grounding in the written rules everyone’s agreed on to support your position. In football, I mean; in government, you’re pretty much good to go with anything voters will let you get away with. Meanwhile, the NFL’s stuck now with a tough decision: Do they appeal this ruling, dragging Deflategate out for several more weeks or months with the Patriots set to open at home against the Steelers next Thursday, or do they drop the matter and accept a highly damaging legal precedent limiting Goodell’s authority? Any player who’s disciplined by the league going forward has every incentive to take their challenge to federal court now.
Here’s what floated across the Patriots’ Twitter feed a few minutes after the ruling came down. I’m going to go watch the end of Super Bowl XLII again and try to calm down.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 3, 2015