Back in May of 2015, Tom Brady was suspended by the NFL for his alleged involvement in the so-called "Deflategate" scandal.
The New England Patriots quarterback (whom some believe to be the greatest to ever play the game) was ordered to sit for the first four weeks of the season after an investigation concluded that Brady was at least aware that two members of the Patriots equipment staff partially deflated game balls in order to make them easier to handle.
In addition, the NFL accused Brady of hindering the investigation by destroying the cell phone he allegedly used in order to communicate with staff.
After a lengthy appeals process, however, Brady’s suspension was overturned just days before the start of the season, and he wound up playing a full season and leading the Patriots to the playoffs for the seventh straight season.
Now, however, it looks as though one of the league’s most consistently dominant teams may have to do without its star QB for a full quarter of next season, as Brady’s suspension was reinstated today on appeal.
A three-judge panel from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell “properly exercised his broad discretion” in suspending Brady.
In their decision, the judges stated their opinion that Goodell and the league had not denied Brady "fundamental fairness" when they chose to suspend him.
Thus, as of right now, Brady will be forced to sit for the Pats’ 2016 games against the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans and Bills.
But of course, Brady and the NFL players union are expected to appeal the decision, which will likely lead to another lengthy round of legal wrangling.
The appeals process could wind up taking this bizarre case as high as the Supreme Court, which would land Brady in the history books for more than just his consistently stellar performance on the field.
News that the suspension will be upheld comes just hours after the announcement that Brady is once again the league’s most popular player in terms of merchandise sales.
The court’s decision is especially devastating for Patriots fans, as the upcoming season could well be the final one of the 38-year-old Brady’s career.