BRADY FREED: Deflategate judge nullifies Tom Brady's 4-game suspension

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The latest on a federal judge's decision to overturn the NFL's four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the "Deflategate" scandal (all times Eastern):

3:15 p.m.

The NFL has appealed its overturned suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The league filed its appeal Thursday, several hours after U.S. District Judge Richard Berman sided with Brady and nullified a four-game suspension backed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The NFL notified Berman of its decision. A clerk for the judge then forwarded the electronic case file to the appeals court, which also sits in Manhattan.


1:15 p.m.

Robert Kraft called Tom Brady "a classy person of the highest integrity" in a statement released Thursday afternoon. "He represents everything that is great about this game and this league," he added.

Kraft said he appreciated Judge Berman's decision to nullify Brady's four-game suspension, saying that "Now, we can return our focus to the game on the field."

11:45 a.m.

The executive director of the NFL Players Association says a judge overturning Tom Brady's four-game "Deflategate" suspension shows that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell needs to act fairly.

DeMaurice Smith said in a statement Thursday that the players contract does not allow Goodell to be arbitrary and misleading when he uses his power to discipline players.

Smith says the decision by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman should signal to all NFL team owners that collective bargaining is better than legal losses, leading to "far better results."

<< READ: 'Deflategate' ruling, judge nullifies Brady's 4-game suspension >>

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11:25 a.m.

Sports books in Las Vegas are shifting their odds on the Patriots now that a federal judge has ruled quarterback Tom Brady can play right away.

Odds compiled by gambling expert R.J. Bell of Pregame.com show New England's chances of winning the Super Bowl at 8-1, compared with 10-1 before the resolution in the "Deflategate" scandal.

The ruling erased a four game suspension dished out by the NFL in the dispute over underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game last season.

Las Vegas casinos moved the Patriots from a 2.5-point favorite to a 7-point favorite in their opener Sept. 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Had the suspension been upheld, the Patriots would have started Jimmy Garoppolo instead of Brady.

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11:15 a.m.

The Patriots are letting a photo do their talking on "Deflategate."

Team owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick have not yet commented on a judge overturning the four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady on Thursday, but the team tweeted a celebratory photo of its star.

The photo (http://bit.ly/1L7rnN2 ) shows Brady pumping his right fist and celebrating during the Patriots' Super Bowl win last season.

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10:45 a.m.

The federal judge who overturned a four-game suspension for Tom Brady says the discipline over underinflated footballs was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's "own brand of industrial justice."

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman said Thursday that the suspension was based on several significant legal deficiencies.

Berman says that includes failing to notify Brady of potential penalties equivalent to what would be imposed on a player who used performance-enhancing drugs.

The judge says Brady was also denied equal access to investigative files, including witness interview notes, and didn't have a chance to examine one of two lead investigators.

The written decision frees Brady to prepare for the Sept. 10 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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10:15 a.m.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady can suit up for his team's season opener after a judge erased his four-game suspension for "Deflategate."

The surprise ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman came Thursday after more than one month of failed settlement talks between the NFL and its players' union. Many legal experts believed the judge was merely pressuring the sides to settle when he criticized the NFL's handling of the case at two hearings in August.

But the judge wasn't posturing.

He came out forcefully in Brady's favor, maligning the NFL for its handling of the scandal that erupted after the AFC championship game in January, when officials discovered during the first half that Brady used underinflated footballs. New England beat the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 then won the Super Bowl two weeks later.

An NFL investigation led to Brady's suspension, which Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld.

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