New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s “Deflategate” suspension was thrown out by a federal judge in New York on Thursday, following a seven-month standoff between the National Football League and its players union.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman vacated NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision in July to uphold Brady’s four-game suspension over his alleged role in a scheme to deflate footballs used during a January playoff victory.
Goodell’s ruling, Berman found, was plagued by “several significant legal deficiencies,” including a failure to notify Brady beforehand that his alleged conduct could be punished by suspension.
“The court finds that Brady had no notice that he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others or participation in any scheme to deflate footballs,” Berman wrote.
The ruling is unlikely to be the last word on the matter, which has dominated sports radio, made national headlines and inspired nicknames like “Deflategate” and “Ballghazi.” The NFL can appeal Berman’s decision, a process that will take months to resolve.
Neither the NFL nor the players union immediately commented on the decision.