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Brady could still delay suspension without Second Circuit rehearing

Green Bay Packers v New England Patriots

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By next Monday, Tom Brady and the NFL Players Association almost definitely will file a petition for a rehearing of the federal appeal that resulted in the reinstatement of Brady’s four-game #Deflategate suspension. If the petition for rehearing is granted, Brady likely will be available for most if not all of the 2016 season as the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit takes up the issue.

If, on the other hand, the Second Circuit denies the petition, Brady will need to take swift and successful action to further delay the suspension pending an effort to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.

First, Brady would ask the Second Circuit for a stay of the suspension while an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is prepared and pursued. If that request is denied, Brady would present the question of whether the suspension will be stayed not to the full U.S. Supreme Court but to the lone Supreme Court justice assigned to the Second Circuit.

Currently, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has the Second Circuit assignment. Which on the surface is good news for Brady, given that Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by a Democratic president and has been part of the liberal/progressive voting block on the Court since joining it in 1993.

The background and overall philosophy, which suggests an inclination to side with labor over management, could make her more apt to allow Brady to keep playing while he throws one last Hail Mary pass aimed at overturning his suspension for good.

Bottom line? Even if the Second Circuit refuses to take any further action and the U.S. Supreme Court later refuses to consider the case at all, Justice Ginsburg becomes the key to keeping Brady on the field through issuance of the Supreme Court’s decision not to take up the case, which if she issues the stay means that Brady likely wouldn’t be suspended until 2017 at the earliest.