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Tom Brady's Legal Hail Mary: QB Files for Rehearing on Deflategate

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on May 23, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Quarterback Tom Brady wants to play ball. He's filing for rehearing of an appeals court decision reinstating his four-game suspension over claims he deflated a ball during an important game for the New England Patriots in January 2015. This scandal is known as "Deflategate."

Now Brady has filed for rehearing in federal court, a legal long shot. But Brady's lawyers argue that he's doing this for the team, not just NFL players but all unionized workers like him. They say, according to USA Today, that the appeals court decision last month harms all union workers and management by allowing labor arbitrators to "go rogue."

Blowing Hot Air?

Is Brady's legal team blowing hot air? Is there really so much at stake here or is it just that this player prefers winning? The issue seems to stem from controversy surrounding the findings in a labor commission report and the quality of the evidence on which Brady's suspension rests.

The NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith told USA Today Sports that the process followed in the Brady suspension was extremely flawed. He said that workers of all kinds are entitled to notice and clear process, and that is not what happened in this case. "Whether it's a player or any worker, you're entitled to know why you're being punished," DeMaurice said, "and no one who has decided to take on the responsibilities of being an arbitrator should be allowed to make it up as they go along."

Legally Speaking

The problem is, according to commentators, that it is very unusual for courts to intervene in these matters, showing deference to labor arbitrators. And the filing today has been called a legal Hail Mary because rehearing before an appellate panel is rarely granted -- it is discretionary. But the quarterback, who is essentially charged with being a poor sportsman, will not accept loss and continues to argue that the charges against him are inflated.

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