Nat’l Football League Mgmt. Council v. Nat’l Football League Players Assoc., — F.3d —, 2016 WL 1619883 (2d Cir. Apr. 25, 2016)
On April 25, 2016, the Second Circuit reinstated (reinflated?) the four-game suspension previously imposed upon New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, for his participation in what has come to be known as “Deflategate,” including the destruction of his cellular phone and its contents.
On January 18, 2015, it was discovered that the footballs used by the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts were underinflated, i.e., “inflated below the allowed minimum pressure of 12.5 pounds per square inch.” The initial investigation into the incident conducted by Theodore V. Wells, Jr., Esq.—an attorney retained by the NFL—concluded it was “more probable than not” that Brady was “at least generally aware” of the scheme to deflate footballs and indicated that “the investigation had been impaired” by Brady’s refusal to produce requested information, including text messages and emails. This “awareness and knowledge of the scheme” and Brady’s “failure to cooperate” were cited by the NFL Executive Vice President in his letter notifying Brady of the suspension. Brady, through the National Football League Players Association (“the Players Association”), appealed.