The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's petition for a rehearing of his case against the NFL. The court's decision means that Brady's four-game suspension issued by the league will be upheld.
Should Brady wish to continue to fight the ban, he could appeal to the Supreme Court. If he takes his case to the nation's highest court, he could ask the Second Circuit for a stay of the suspension while his team prepares its next appeal.
If that request to the Second Circuit is denied, according to Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk, Brady could seek an order from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- the Supreme Court Justice assigned to the Second Circuit -- to stay the suspension until the Supreme Court determines whether or not it will accept the appeal.
In April, a three-judge panel decided in favor of the NFL over Brady by a margin of 2-1, explaining that commissioner Roger Goodell was acting on powers granted to him in the collective bargaining agreement that allowed him to suspend Brady for his alleged role in a football-deflation scheme.
In its petition to the Second Circuit, Brady's legal team argued that it is not explicitly spelled out in the CBA that Goodell could issue a punishment based on facts other than those that were the focus of the initial appeal. Because Goodell based his punishment in part on "new grounds" -- gifts given by Brady to Patriots employees and the destruction of Brady's cell phone -- the punishment could be vacated.
Brady and the NFLPA also argued that Goodell ignored the collectively-bargained penalty schedule for equipment-related violations. The fact that Goodell never addressed the possibility that football deflation should be treated as an equipment violation could have been considered grounds for the suspension to be vacated, Brady's team insisted.
The Patriots will open the regular season Sept. 11 at Arizona. If Brady is suspended, third-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would likely serve as the starter.
Brady's ban will not prohibit him from participating in training camp practices or preseason games with the team. If his suspension remains in place, he will be required to stay away from team facilities beginning during the week leading up to the first regular-season game of the season.