Well, he’s probably feeling a little deflated. Tom Brady announced Friday, July 15, that he will not appeal his four-game Deflategate suspension to the U.S. Supreme Court, accepting that he will have to sit out the New England Patriots’ first four football games of the 2016 season.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan rejected Brady and the NFL Players Associations’ most recent appeal of the April 2016 ruling Wednesday, July 13, which meant the last resort would be an appeal to the Supreme Court.
“I’m very grateful for the overwhelming support I’ve received from [team owner] Mr. Kraft, the Kraft family, Coach Belichick, my coaches and teammates, the NFLPA, my agents, my loving family and most of all, our fans,” the 38-year-old football star wrote on Facebook. “It has been a challenging 18 months and I have made the difficult decision to no longer proceed with the legal process. I’m going to work hard to be the best player I can be for the New England Patriots and I look forward to having the opportunity to return to the field this fall.”
The legal fight started when the Patriots were accused of intentionally deflating footballs in the January 2015 championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, which sent Brady’s team to the 2015 Super Bowl. (Deflated balls are easier to grip and catch, especially in poor weather conditions.) The NFL said this was cheating and it was “more probable than not” that the quarterback was “at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities," so the league gave him a four-game suspension without pay.
The NFL player’s union appealed on Brady's behalf and the suspension was thrown out in September 2015. The NFL then appealed the appeal, and the court reversed the decision in April, saying that the Patriots MVP must sit out those games. Finally, Brady appealed again in May, which brought the court to its most recent decision.
While Brady said he will not pursue the legal process any further, the NFL Players Association announced in a statement that it may still continue on without the quarterback. “After careful consideration and discussion with Tom Brady, the NFLPA will not be seeking a stay of the four-game suspense with the 2nd Circuit,” the statement read, according to ESPN. “This decision was made in the interest of certainty and planning for Tom prior to the New England Patriots season. We will continue to review all of our options and we reserve our rights to petition for cert to the Supreme Court.”
Now that the legal drama is mostly behind him, the athlete can focus on spending the off-season with his family. He married Gisele Bündchen in 2009, and the pair are the parents of Benjamin, 6, and Vivian, 3. Brady is also dad of Jack, 8, from his previous relationship with Bridget Moynahan.
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