Deflategate Hurdles to Overturn Suspension

July 30, 2015Article

Ricardo Cestero, a partner at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP was quoted in a Law360 article on July 30th discussing the hurdles Tom Brady and the NFLPA face in their attempt to overturn the “deflategate” suspension. The discussion includes a look at issues Brady and his legal team need to overcome in federal court in order to triumph in overturning his four-game suspension.

According to Cestero, sports and media litigator with Greenberg Glusker, “Goodell’s finding that Brady had destroyed a cellphone with nearly 10,000 text messages could prove to be more significant in the Southern District of New York, which has taken a hard line against the destruction of electronic evidence.”

Cestero went on to say that the judges in the Southern District are not likely to be moved by Brady’s explanations. “I think the destruction of the cellphone is going to be a real problem for Brady in the Southern District,” Cestero said. “I think it would have been a problem for him in Minnesota also, but I think it will be an even bigger problem for him in the Southern District.”

On the issue of unfairness, Brady and the union’s lawsuit give three reasons that Goodell’s decision should be vacated. Cestero believes the only way that Brady has any real chance of having the suspension overturned is to convince the judge that the punishment somehow exceeds the commissioner’s authority, and that the CBA does not allow for this sort of penalty.

“Given the factual findings [Goodell] made and the credibility determinations he made, I would be very surprised if any judge looks at it and finds that a four-game suspension is excessive, particularly in light of the cellphone destruction,” Cestero said.