New York: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will have the court appeal of his four-game "Deflate-gate" suspension heard in a New York federal court, a judge in Minnesota ruled Thursday.
US District Court Judge Richard Kyle ruled that despite the union filing its appeal of the ban in Minnesota, the NFL had taken the matter to court in New York first after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced he had upheld his original four-game suspension and denied Brady`s appeal.
The controversy began last January when footballs used by Brady and the Patriots` offensive unit were found to be below NFL minimums during a playoff game against Indianapolis, making them easier to grip, grab and hold. The Patriots beat the Colts 45-7 on their way to winning the Super Bowl, the fourth NFL crown from Brady.
A league investigation found Brady likely knew about Patriots employees deflating the balls, although Brady has steadfastly denied any knowledge of the matter. He spoke in a 10-hour appeal hearing last month but Goodell ruled against him Tuesday and Brady went to court to fight the ban.
The latest legal move consolidates the lawsuits in hopes of expediting the court hearing.
A protracted legal fight could see Brady seek an injunction on the ban until there is a final ruling, so he could play in the Patriots` season opener in September against the Pittsburgh Steelers and other games until a decision is made.
The NFL Players Association has been asked to have a response to the NFL complaint ready by August 13.