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NFL Upholds Tom Brady Suspension For 'Deflategate' Scandal


Next, the latest installment in the deflategate saga. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the suspension of New England star quarterback Tom Brady. The NFL's players' union announced it will appeal the decision on Brady's behalf, but if that fails, Brady will have to sit out the first four regular-season games for the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots. Here's NPR's Tom Goldman.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Tom Brady was suspended in May after an investigator concluded Brady was involved with using underinflated footballs during last season's AFC Championship Game. Several footballs used by the Patriot's offense were found to be below the legal inflation limit, which could have given Brady and his receivers an advantage. Brady claimed he wasn't involved in any illegal behavior and appealed the suspension. Today, he lost the appeal. Commissioner Roger Goodell says his decision to stick with his initial punishment was based in large part on new evidence.

In his 20-page report, Goodell writes Brady had an assistant destroy a cellphone that Brady had been using before and after the AFC Championship Game. Goodell says at the time it was destroyed, Brady new investigators wanted information from the phone, especially text message, for their investigation. Brady has the option of challenging today's decision in federal court at the very least to try to get an injunction blocking Goodell's decision and allowing Brady to play. Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane University Sports Law Program, says the new evidence makes it a tougher task in court for Brady.

GABE FELDMAN: Now Roger Goodell can say, well, I have a good basis for suspending Tom Brady. He destroyed evidence that interferes with an investigation that we were doing that goes to, as the NFL would say, the heart of the integrity of the game.

GOLDMAN: Feldman says the NFL contends Brady has no legal options because under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, the commissioner's decision is final and binding. Patriots veteran players are due to open training camp tomorrow with backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo poised to take a more active role with the team. Tom Goldman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.