NEW YORK: A group of New England Patriots fans is suing the NFL, seeking to recover the first-round draft pick the team lost as part of the punishment for the “Deflate-gate” scandal.
The suit was filed on Tuesday in federal court in Boston, charging the loss of the draft pick was “arbitrary and capricious”.
In addition to the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell, Patriots owner Robert Kraft is named in the lawsuit, accused of not doing enough to get the draft selection back.
“This case is brought by New England Patriots fans on behalf of all Patriots fans who believe the New England Patriots professional football team were harmed by the Defendants’ arbitrary and capricious decision to revoke the Patriots first round draft choice in the April 28, 2016 NFL Draft,” the suit, signed by Seth Carey, a Maine attorney, states.
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 made it clear at the meetings he is 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.