Tom Brady’s four-game suspension from the NFL for his role in DeflateGate has been nullified, according to the Associated Press. In May, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the punishment, which Brady officially appealed last month. Although Goodell was the arbitrator for the appeal, he changed his original ruling and has now decided that the quarterback presented sufficient evidence to reduce his punishment for allegedly having knowledge that Patriots staff deflated footballs ahead of the AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts.
Goodell previously claimed that the only way Brady would be able to get his suspension reduced or eliminated was if he provided new information — specifically, information that Brady initially did not provide to the Wells investigation, such as text and phone records. It’s unclear yet if Brady did present new information, or if there were other factors at play.
Players like Richard Sherman and Ndamukong Suh beat suspensions in the past in front of an NFL appeals officer, but neither had Goodell as the arbitrator. The commissioner eliminating the suspension that he himself placed on Brady is somewhat unprecedented.
Brady’s suspension wasn’t completely erased upon his initial appeal, which was heard by Roger Goodell. That prompted the quarterback and the NFLPA to take the league to federal court. They did, and as many predicted, the won.
With Brady’s suspension now eliminated, the DeflateGate saga, which dragged on for more than six months after the AFC Championship, is now in the rearview mirror.
Brady and the Patriots will begin the 2015 season with a home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Sept. 10.