Bid to quash draft pick punishment denied

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NEW YORK: A federal judge has denied a motion by a group of New England Patriots fans to restore the first-round draft pick the team lost over the “Deflate-gate” scandal.

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The fans, claiming “emotional distress,” went to court seeking a preliminary injunction and restraining order, which would have allowed the Patriots to exercise their original first-round selection in the NFL Draft later this month.

Both, however, were promptly denied, according to the Boston Herald.

“After reviewing the complaint, it appears highly unlikely that plaintiffs will succeed on the merits of any of their claims,” Judge F. Dennis Saylor wrote Friday.

The NFL, commissioner Roger Goodell and Patriots owner Robert Kraft were all named in the lawsuit, with the fans claiming Kraft didn’t try hard enough to get the draft pick back.

“The federal courts are courts of limited resources, funded by the taxpayers, and it would not be a prudent expenditure of those resources to permit the motion to progress to the hearing stage,” Saylor wrote.

Last month at the NFL owners’ meetings in Florida, Kraft said he asked Goodell in a letter to reconsider the penalties of a 2016 first-round pick, 2017 fourth-round pick, four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady and a $1 million team fine.

But Goodell indicated he was sticking with the penalties, having not received any new information in the case in which the Patriots were found to have used under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship game in January of 2015.

Brady’s suspension — based on the estimation of investigator Ted Wells that the quarterback probably knew the balls were being purposely deflated — has received the most attention and remains under appeal.

He played the entire 2015 season after the ban was overturned in federal court, but the NFL appealed that decision and the US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York heard testimony on March 3 from both sides.

The three judge appeals panel could take months to issue a ruling.

AFP

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