Tom Brady‘s chances at overturning his four-game suspension continue to diminish.
The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition by Brady and the NFL Players Association on Wednesday to rehear his suspension case, meaning the New England Patriotsquarterback’s last opportunity to dissolve the NFL-issued punishment would have to come in a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Brady has 90 days to appeal to file a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. It remains to be seen if Brady’s legal team will appeal to country’s highest court and, more importantly, if the court will hear the case.
If Brady petitions the Supreme Court, his legal team could first ask the Second Circuit Court for a stay of its decision. If the Second Circuit doesn’t grant a stay, Brady’s lawyers could then request for a stay from the Supreme Court, which would be decided by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. If Ginsberg granted a stay or the court decided to hear the case, Brady almost certainly would be eligible to play the entire 2016 season due the Supreme Court’s schedule. Brady would be forced to serve his suspension if the Supreme Court chose not to hear the appeal.
An image of the Second Circuit's denial of Tom Brady's petition is very brief but very to the point: pic.twitter.com/T29Y1O8LIp
— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) July 13, 2016
Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Sports Law Program, said the chances of the Supreme Court deciding to hear the case would be very slim.
Brady was suspended four games by the NFL in May 2015 after an NFL-commissioned investigation conducted by attorney Ted Wells concluded it was “more probable than not” that Brady was “generally aware” of Patriotsattendants deflating footballs prior to the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18, 2015.
The four-time Super Bowl winner’s suspension was initially nullified by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman last September, a week before the first game of the regular season. An appeals panel reversed Berman’s decision in April, stating in the majority opinion that Goodell “properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement” in issuing Brady’s suspension.
In May, Brady’s legal team, led by former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, petitioned for a panel rehearing or a rehearing en banc in an effort to get the Second Circuit judges to reconsider the panel’s 2-1 ruling. The Patriots, a group of 21 scientists, the AFL-CIO and a prominent labor attorney each filed amicus briefs in support of Brady’s rehearing petition.
If Brady pursues an appeal and is granted a stay, he stands a good chance at playing in the Patriots‘ season opener on the road against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football on Sept. 11. New England then plays three straight home games against the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans andBuffalo Bills. If Brady were to end up serving his suspension this season he would be eligible to make his debut Oct. 9 on the road against the Cleveland Browns.