Tom Brady

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UPDATE: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots Chairman, CEO Robert Kraft and the NFL Players Association have commented on the decision. See their statements below.


Good news for Tom Brady and his fans: His Deflategate scandal is over...for now.

A federal judge has thrown out the New England Patriots quarterback's four-game suspension, which the NFL had issued after concluding that he was part of an alleged scheme to under-inflate footballs used in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in January.

Brady had denied any wrongdoing, saying there was "zero evidence."

"Brady's four-game suspension is vacated, effective immediately," Judge Richard M. Berman of Federal District Court in Manhattan said in his ruling, issued on Thursday.

The NFL players union had in July filed a petition at a federal court to overturn commissioner Roger Goodell's decision to uphold the suspension. Berman ruled that the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the players' union, the NFL Players Association, did not give Goodell the authority to carry it out, The New York Times reported.

Goodell said in a statement that the NFL plans to appeal the decision. If they are not granted an emergency injunction, Brady will be allowed to play when the regular season starts on Sept. 10, when the Patriots take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter, but respectfully disagree with today's decision," Goodell said in a statement obtained by E! News. "We will appeal today's ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game."

"The commissioner's responsibility to secure the competitive fairness of our game is a paramount principle, and the league and our 32 clubs will continue to pursue a path to that end," he said. "While the legal phase of this process continues, we look forward to focusing on football and the opening of the regular season."

In a statement obtained by E! News, Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft called the federal judge's decision "thoughtful."

"As I have said during this process and throughout his Patriots career, Tom Brady is a classy person of the highest integrity," he said. "He represents everything that is great about this game and this league. Yet, with absolutely no evidence of any actions of wrongdoing by Tom in the Wells report, the lawyers at the league still insisted on imposing and defending unwarranted and unprecedented discipline."

"Judge Richard Berman understood this and we are greatly appreciative of his thoughtful decision that was delivered today," Kraft said. "Now, we can return our focus to the game on the field."

The NFL Player's Association said in a statement they "are happy for the victory of the rule of law for our players and our fans."

"This court's decision to overturn the NFL Commissioner again should signal to every NFL owner that collective bargaining is better than legal losses," the group said. "Collective bargaining is a much better process that will lead to far better results."

—Reporting by Baker Machado

(Originally published at 7:46 a.m. PT).

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