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Tom Brady's Only Chance At Overturning Deflategate Suspension Is To Take It To The Supreme Court

At this point, the story is just about the particulars of labor law.

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If you stopped following the Deflategate saga long ago, here's where it stands now: No longer is the drama about the inflation levels of some footballs, but about the power NFL Commissioner Goodell has to suspend players under the negotiated collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and the next possible stop for this scandal is the United States Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals denied Brady's request to have the full federal appeals court hold a hearing regarding Goodell's four-game suspension, which the players' union has argued did not have precedent in the CBA.

Earlier this year, a three-judge panel from that appeals court ruled that Goodell was in fact, acting within the power allowed to him in the CBA, overturning a previous ruling in a federal district court in New York that sided with Brady and the NFLPA, vacating the four-game suspension.

At this point, the saga of Deflategate reads a little bit like a play-by-play of a tennis match, so here's the condensed version: Brady was suspended, Brady won on appeal, the NFL won on that appeal, and Brady was denied his next pit stop on the way to the Supreme Court.

Brady and the NFLPA have not yet announced if they will take this case to the Supreme Court — which, again, at this point is about precedents in the minutia of labor law — but in April, Brady and the NFLPA hired former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson. Olson has argued 62 cases in front of the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Brady and the NFLPA can ask to have the 2nd Circuit's decision stayed, which would again suspend his four-game suspension. If the 2nd Circuit denies the request for a stay, they can ask the Supreme Court for a stay while it considers the petition to be heard by the highest court.

At this point, it is looking like it is time for the Patriots to make sure backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is ready to take the field come September.

Here's what the NFLPA had to say:

We are disappointed with the decision denying a rehearing, as there were clear violations of our collective bargaining agreement by the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Despite today’s result, the track record of this League office when it comes to matters of player discipline is bad for our business and bad for our game. We have a broken system that must be fixed.

We will review all of our options carefully on behalf of Tom Brady and all NFL players.

Lindsey Adler is a sports reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Lindsey Adler at lindsey.adler@buzzfeed.com.

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