If Tom Brady is going to appeal the Second Circuit court's decision to reinstate his four-game suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he either speaks now or forever holds his peace.
Today is the deadline for Brady and his union, the National Football League Players' Association, to file a response to the Second Circuit's ruling that Goodell had acted within his authority to suspend Brady for allegedly tampering with footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship Game. The suspension was originally overturned by U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman last Sept. 3, allowing Brady to play the entire 2015 season, but the NFL won its appeal in a ruling announced April 25.
Brady and the union have assembled a high-priced team of powerful lawyers -- among them Theodore B. Olson, a U.S. solicitor general under former President George W. Bush who has argued before the Supreme Court 62 times, and Thomas H. Dupree Jr., who represented Bush in Bush-vs.-Gore after the 2000 presidential election -- and are expected to go through with the filing.
According to the Boston Globe, Brady and the union will likely file for an "en banc" hearing, which would allow all 13 of the active Second Circuit judges to decide whether or not an appeal of their ruling should be heard. The Globe reports they could also file for a panel hearing, in which the three Second Circuit judges that decided to reinstate Brady's suspension would rehear the case.
The Globe's Ben Volin reports:
"A decision on whether to hold an en banc rehearing should come within four to six weeks. Should Brady . . . receive the rehearing, his four-game suspension will be stayed until the legal process is complete. Brady could potentially play the entire 2016 season, although the original lawsuit and appeal both operated on an expedited schedule, and there are still 31/2 months until the start of the NFL regular season.
"If Brady’s request is denied, he still has a few long-shot remedies to try to delay his suspension. He would probably file a petition with the Supreme Court and ask the Second Circuit to stay his suspension until the Supreme Court decides whether to hear the case.
"If the Second Circuit declines, Brady could then ask the Supreme Court to stay his suspension until it decides whether or not to hear his case. Instead of asking all nine (or eight, current) justices, he would present his case to the Supreme Court justice assigned to the Second Circuit, currently Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg."