The long awaited court ruling on Tom Brady's suspension finally came in today. And if your league has already had your draft, you probably got him at a steal. Of course the court made the obvious decision to overturn the 4 game suspension. As much as I despise Tom Brady and as guilty as he was, there is no rule in the NFL rulebook that allows a player to be suspended for deflating footballs or interfering with an investigation. The court had to make this decision to uphold the integrity of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFLPA and the owners. Roger Goodell knew this ruling would come if the suspension were to be challenged in court and tried to get Brady to admit guilt and take a reduced suspension. I applaud Tom Brady for calling his bluff here and getting the suspension eliminated entirely.
The moment this story was reported it was obvious to me and anyone with half a brain that Brady was involved in deflatting these footballs. A quarterback of Tom Brady's caliber is the lord of the fooball team. Nobody is going to alter the condition of the football without his knowledge. You can't claim lack of evidence, because zero evidence is needed. The savvy thing for Brady to have done, was admit something right away. A simple “I said the balls felt a little firm in warm-ups, can you guys let some air out, I had no idea they would end up below PSI regulations” by Brady would have been the perfect bullshit statement to end the circus before it started. He would only have gotten the mandated $25,000 fine for the violation as stated in the NFL policy book.
So what does this mean going forward? Well the NFL is going to appeal this decision but that won't be ruled on until after the completion of this season. My guess is that Brady never misses a game and pays a small fine and maybe even retires before this whole thing is over. As for the fondling of the balls in the future the NFL really has two choices. The logical one (based on all the comments from players past and current) is to allow each team to alter the balls however they would like. There is also what they will probably do: taking away possession of the balls from team trainers after inspection, prior to taking the field.
So just remember, Tom Brady was guilty just not convicted.