Although it’s incredibly different on the surface, Adrian Peterson’s ongoing court case could have a trickle-down effect on Tom Brady’s legal battle regarding Deflategate.
Peterson was reinstated by the NFL before the 2015 season after missing the final 15 games of the 2014 season for a suspension stemming from a no contest plea on a misdemeanor reckless assault charge. The Minnesota Vikings running back admitted to disciplining his 4-year-old son with a “switch.” The NFL appealed U.S. District Court Judge David Doty’s decision to vacate Peterson’s suspension, though, and the case currently is in the hands of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
So, how exactly does Peterson’s child abuse case relate to Brady’s underinflated football case?
Well, as sports attorney Daniel Wallach explained Monday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Zolak and Bertrand,” a circuit split — a situation in which two appellate courts issue conflicting rulings on similar cases — would emerge if the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of Peterson. And that ultimately would be a good thing for Brady, whose four-game Deflategate suspension was reinstated Monday by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
“If you have two different federal appellate courts viewing the role of an arbitrator under the NFL CBA differently, you have a split among the circuit courts,” Wallach said, via CBS Boston. “And circuit splits are the No. 1 reason why the U.S. Supreme Court takes a case. Ninety percent of the Supreme Court’s dockets are because of circuit splits, to try to afford uniformity in federal law.
“Potentially, the Adrian Peterson decision could become Brady’s biggest ally for a potential rehearing en banc, or to be reviewed by the Supreme Court,” Wallach added. “So you’ve got to root for a circuit split if you’re a (New England) Patriots fan.”
Brady’s case could be heard again en banc, meaning it’ll be heard in front of all the judges on the Second Circuit. But the Second Circuit rehears very few cases en banc, according to Wallach, so a ruling in favor of Peterson and, in turn, a circuit split could represent the best way for the Patriots quarterback to eventually end up victorious in the Deflategate saga.
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