NEW YORK— Tom Brady learned Thursday he will start the season on the field after a judge lifted the league’s four-game suspension of the star quarterback for a scandal over deflated footballs, saying he was treated unfairly by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The league quickly appealed.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman criticized Goodell for dispensing “his own brand of industrial justice” as he found multiple reasons to reject the suspension one week before New England’s Sept. 10 opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Super Bowl MVP has insisted he played no role in a conspiracy to deflate footballs below the allowable limit at last season’s AFC championship game, a 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts.
The judge cited “several significant legal deficiencies” in the league’s handling of the controversy, including no advance notice of potential penalties, a refusal to produce a key witness and the apparent first-ever discipline of a player based on a finding of “general awareness” of someone else’s wrongdoing.
“Because there was no notice of a four-game suspension in the circumstances presented here, Commissioner Goodell may be said to have ‘dispensed his own brand of industrial justice,'” Berman wrote, partially citing wording from a previous case.
He said a player’s right to know what constitutes violations and what penalties are was “at the heart” of the collective bargaining agreement “and, for that matter, of our criminal and civil justice systems.”
“The court finds that Brady had no notice that he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others,” the judge wrote.
Goodell said it was necessary to appeal “to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game.”
He called the need to secure the game’s competitive fairness “a paramount principle.”
Hours after Goodell issued his statement, the league appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan with a one-page notice from NFL attorney Daniel Nash.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league would not seek an emergency stay, freeing Brady to play while the case is appealed. It could be months before the court considers the case, since the league would have to show it would suffer irreparable harm to speed up the timetable.
Goodell will also skip the Steelers-Patriots opener next week, opting instead to watch the game on TV and attend another opener over the weekend, McCarthy said. McCarthy said Goodell wants the focus to be on the game itself and New England’s celebration of its Super Bowl win.
Brady was not in uniform for the Patriots’ preseason finale at home Thursday night against the Giants.
The union’s executive director, DeMaurice Smith, said in a statement the ruling proves the contract with the NFL doesn’t grant Goodell “the authority to be unfair, arbitrary and misleading.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft called Brady a “classy person of the highest integrity” and the penalty against him “unwarranted and unprecedented discipline.” He said the ruling was thoughtful.
Berman said the league was wrong to discipline Brady as if a deflating ball accusation was equal to using performance enhancing drugs.
Brady was also denied equal access to investigative files, including witness interview notes, and wasn’t permitted to question one of two lead investigators, the judge said.
The Patriots, who were fined $1 million and stripped of two draft picks, posted a celebratory photo on Twitter of Brady pumping his fist and screaming at the Super Bowl last season.
The ruling was a surprise to some legal experts who believed Berman was merely pressuring the league to settle at two hearings when he criticized its handling of the investigation over the last eight months.
The league brought the case to court within minutes of Goodell upholding Brady’s suspension, blasting the quarterback for arranging the destruction of his cellphone and its nearly 10,000 messages just before he was interviewed for the NFL probe. The union countersued.
The league spent more than $3 million for its investigation by prominent attorney Ted Wells, who had previously conducted NFL probes. While Wells’ 243-page report found it was “more probable than not” that two Patriots ball handling employees deliberately released air from Patriots game balls at the AFC championship game, it cited no direct evidence that Brady knew about or authorized it.
Goodell, though, went “far beyond” Wells’ report, Berman said, finding in late July that Brady conspired with the ball handlers and tried to obstruct the league’s probe, including by destroying his cellphone.
The commissioner said he concluded Brady “knew about, approved of, consented to, and provided inducements and rewards” to ensure balls were deflated.
Berman attacked the league while questioning one of its lawyers at two hearings. He had repeatedly urged both sides to settle and tone down rhetoric. At a hearing Monday attended by Brady and Goodell, the judge announced that both sides had “tried quite hard” unsuccessfully to reach a deal.
NEW YORK, United States—Andy Murray battled back from two sets down to beat France’s Adrian Mannarino at the US Open before calling for new rules to cut the number of retirements, which have hit record levels.
Third seed and 2012 champion Murray triumphed 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 after his world number 35 opponent had threatened to condemn him to his earliest loss in New York since his debut in 2005.
But left-hander Mannarino wilted in the 30-degree heat and humidity in Arthur Ashe Stadium as Murray’s better physical condition proved crucial.
Murray goes on to face Brazilian 30th seed Thomaz Bellucci for a place in the last 16.
With heat and injury-forced retirements now at a record 12 in the men’s event—including 10 in the first round—Murray called for a heat rule, similar to the women’s tour, to be introduced for the men.
“When it’s extremely hot and humid, it helps to have that break,” said Murray of the 10-minute rest that women players take between the second and third sets when the temperature goes above 30.1 degrees.
“I don’t know exactly what it’s for. But I guess you get the chance to sort of go off and change, get under a cold shower if you want to.”
Murray also suggested new measures to prevent injured players turning up at events but going through the motions on court before stopping in a brazen ploy to claim the prize money.
The British star believes that “Lucky Losers” from qualifying should be given the opportunity to play in the main draw instead.
“If someone’s injured before they go out there, they’re just going to play five games or a few games just to get the first-round cheque, then that’s really bad for anyone that’s paid to come and watch,” he said.
“So the best thing to do, if you’ve worked the whole year to get into these events and earned the right to play, if you show up here and withdraw, give the lucky loser a chance.
“But the player that pulls out takes the first-round prize money. If I was the lucky loser, I’d be delighted to have the chance to play for the second-round prize money.
“I think the player that’s earned the right to be there in the first place, you give them the first-round prize money and you avoid people walking on the court for a few games. It’s a waste of time for everyone.”
Murray, who has been suffering from a cold in common with many players at the tournament, admitted the conditions had been tough on Thursday as he pulled off his eighth career comeback from two sets down.
“I’m proud of the way I fought. It was not an easy match to come through at all. He was making it extremely difficult for me, as well,” said Murray.
“I was very happy with the way I fought through that, you know, finished the match stronger than him.”
Murray, who had needed four sets to beat Nick Kyrgios in the opening round, fired 21 aces—the last of which was on match point—while Mannarino was undone by 61 unforced errors.
It was a familiar tale of woe for the 27-year-old Frenchman, who also had a two sets to love lead over Feliciano Lopez at the Australian Open in January before retiring with heat exhaustion in the fourth set.
“In a Grand Slam match, against these kinds of a players, it is never finished, even with a two sets to zero lead,” said Mannarino.
“It was there that you could see the difference between us.”
TAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas, down to wafer-thin chances of winning the Jones Cup here, could be down to one pure point guard in Jason Castro when the Filipinos clash with the Wellington Saints of New Zealand at 1 p.m. Friday.
With Jimmy Alapag already down with a leg injury after just one game, Terrence Romeo, the darling of the tournament, has been listed as day-to-day after spraining his left ankle in a losing game against Asian champion Iran on Thursday afternoon.
Romeo landed awkwardly in a fastbreak play and limped out of the court at the end of the third period against the Iranians.
The ankle twist required the attention of the team trainer, who gave Romeo the go-signal to return only with a little under three minutes left in the contest.
Team Philippines’ fate doesn’t rest on its hands as even if the Filipinos sweep their remaining three contests, they need to hope for the Iranians to lose to Spartak Primorye of Russia for them to end up tied after the single round elimination.
In that case, Gilas could wind up winning the tiebreak since the Filipinos beat Russia, 85-71, and lost to the Iranians, 74-65.
With Romeo out, Gabe Norwood or even Matt Ganuelas-Rosser could be asked to do some point guard chores.
NEW YORK — The latest on the US Open (all times local):
As American qualifier Shelby Rogers achieved a personal milestone at the US Open, she couldn’t help noticing the home crowd cheering her on.
“There was a guy wearing American flag pants, the bandana,” she said. “It’s always fun to see the fans come out and kind of have a little pride for playing for your country.”
Rogers, who was sidelined by a right knee injury earlier this year, reached the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time Thursday.
Playing in her ninth career major, the 154th-ranked Rogers beat Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-4, 6-4. Nara, ranked 82nd, had upset 27th-seeded Alize Cornet in the first round.
“It’s just nice to be back on court, playing well,” Rogers said. “I’m loving every minute.”
Petra Kvitova easily beat a second straight opponent ranked outside the top 100.
The fifth-seeded Czech lefty defeated American Nicole Gibbs 6-3, 6-4 in 70 minutes Thursday in the second round of the US Open. Playing with her right thigh wrapped, Kvitova didn’t face a break point.
The 117th-ranked Gibbs, who got in on a wild card, reached the third round at last year’s US Open.
Kvitova routed 126th-ranked qualifier Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-1 in the first round.
American Jack Sock, who retired because of heat illness while up two sets to one in his second-round US Open match Thursday against Ruben Bemelmans, didn’t hold a news conference and instead issued a statement.
“Playing in the US Open is the biggest and most important moment of the season for me, so having to retire from my match today is extremely disappointing,” the statement said. “I want to thank everyone for their support and can’t wait to be back next year. I feel better already and look forward to playing Davis Cup.”
Andy Murray rallied from down two sets to win his second-round match at the US Open.
The third-seeded Murray beat 35th-ranked Adrian Mannarino 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday, dominating the last three sets.
Murray is 35-1 in Grand Slam second-round matches, with the only loss coming in his US Open debut a decade ago.
It was the eighth time in his career Murray came back to win from two sets down.
American Donald Young came from behind again, though this deficit wasn’t quite as daunting.
Young dropped the first set Thursday before rallying to beat Britain’s Aljaz Bedene 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 at the US Open. He advances to his first Grand Slam third round since last year’s French Open.
On Tuesday, the 68th-ranked Young fell behind by two sets and a break against 11th-seeded Gilles Simon before roaring back for the five-set victory.
Young had 18 unforced errors in the first set Thursday against the 57th-ranked Bedene, who has never been past the second round at a major. But Young looked sharper and sharper as the match wore on and broke Bedene’s serve eight times in the final three sets.
American John Isner keeps getting off the court quickly, a good thing considering the steamy weather early at the US Open.
The 13th-seeded Isner’s two matches have totaled 3 hours, 24 minutes — less than a single five-setter could take. He beat Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows for the seventh straight year.
Isner has held serve in all 83 of his games at the US Open since the start of last year’s tournament.
Isner had been 0-2 against Youzhny, though both of those losses were at least five years ago. The Russian is a former top-10 player, but his ranking is down to 93rd at age 33.
American qualifier Shelby Rogers has reached the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
The 22-year-old Rogers beat Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-4, 6-4 at the US Open on Thursday.
The 154th-ranked Rogers is playing in her ninth career major. She next faces second-seeded Simona Halep.
Nara, ranked 82nd, had upset 27th-seeded Alize Cornet in the first round.
Stan Wawrinka is a two-time major champion. Chung Hyeon is a 19-year-old playing in his second Grand Slam tournament.
That experience gap showed in what was a tightly contested match Thursday at the US Open, which Wawrinka still pulled out in straight sets.
The fifth-seeded Wawrinka won 136 points to Chung’s 125. The difference was the tiebreakers in a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6) second-round victory. The three sets still took more than 3 hours.
Wawrinka had 26 aces and a total of 62 winners but a whopping 66 unforced errors against the 69th-ranked South Korean.
American Jack Sock was overcome by the heat and had to retire in the fourth set of his US Open match.
The 28th-seeded Sock was three games from winning the match in the third set against Ruben Bemelmans on a hot, humid afternoon Wednesday. He received treatment after dropping the set, but in the third game of the fourth, he froze in place after a serve, unable to move his leg.
A trainer had to help him sit down on the court, and Sock was barely able to lift his arm to shake Bemelmans’ hand when the Belgian walked around the net and over to him.
Trainers rubbed bags of ice on Sock’s legs and neck. A wheelchair was brought out, but he was able to limp off with significant help.
It had been a breakthrough season for the 22-year-old Sock, who made his deepest run at a major by reaching the fourth round at the French Open and climbed to a career best in the rankings.
The 107th-ranked Bemelmans advances to a Grand Slam third round for the first time.
Simona Halep is feeling more comfortable as the No. 2 seed at the US Open.
A year ago, she arrived at Flushing Meadows seeded second at a major for the first time. She was pushed to three sets in her opening match then upset in the third round by a qualifier.
No such problems so far this time. Halep has dropped just nine games through two rounds. She beat qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday.
Recalling what happened when she reached No. 2 in the world for the first time, Halep said in an on-court interview: “I lost my mind a little bit.”
“I couldn’t be focused for what I have to do,” she added. “With experience now I’m much better. I feel I have much more confidence in myself. I’m stronger mentally — and physically.”
Wimbledon runner-up Garbine Muguruza is out of the US Open.
The ninth-seeded Spaniard was upset by qualifier Johanna Konta 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 6-2 in the second round Thursday. At 3 hours, 23 minutes, it was the US Open’s longest women’s match since the tournament introduced tiebreakers in 1970.
Muguruza had made at least the fourth round at the year’s first three majors, losing to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon title match.
Three of the four women who had reached Grand Slam finals in 2015 are already gone from the US Open before the third round: Australian Open runner-up Maria Sharapova withdrew because of injury, and French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova was upset in the first round. The only one left is the woman who beat them all in those title matches, Williams.
With Muguruza’s defeat, six of the top 10 seeds in the women’s draw are out at Flushing Meadows.
Muguruza had lost her opening match at her next two tournaments after Wimbledon. The US Open is the only major at which the 21-year-old Muguruza has failed to make at least the fourth round in her young career. She had never even won a match at Flushing Meadows before Tuesday.
Konta, a 24-year-old Brit ranked 97th in the world, is into the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. She is now on a 15-match winning streak after capturing titles at two lower-level events then advancing through US Open qualifying.
Struggling with dizziness and shut out in the first set, 16th-seeded Sara Errani rallied to win her second-round match at the US Open on Thursday.
The diminutive Italian took a medical timeout after dropping the first five games, complaining of dizziness. The soft-serving Errani was broken nine times but found a way to beat 18-year-old qualifier Jelena Ostapenko 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 in 2 hours on a hot, humid day.
Errani said she woke up not feeling well, blaming the powerful air conditioning of New York hotels.
But the 2012 French Open runner-up could rely on her experience against the 114th-ranked Latvian, who was playing in her first US Open. Ostapenko was unable to hold serve once in the final set, getting broken in her final six service games.
Errani won a match despite getting “bageled” in a set for the second straight US Open. She beat Venus Williams 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (5) in the third round last year.
Fierce rivals Ateneo and La Salle may be fielding rookie-laden rosters, but opponents still rank the two popular squads as top contenders in this season’s UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
Controversial guards Jerie Pingoy and Hubert Cani head the Blue Eagles’ eight new recruits, while former San Beda high school star Andrei Caracut leads the Green Archers’ nine rookies.
Opposing coaches, though, still predict that both teams will crash into the Final Four.
“Ateneo has a rookie-laden team, but their rookies are blue-chippers,” said coach Eric Altamirano of defending champion National U. “La Salle is also deep in their bench.”
Pingoy and Cani, both former UAAP juniors standouts, finally get to suit up after an arduous battle with the league’s residency rules.
“We had zero in the point guard position, so they’re really the two that we’re relying on,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol.
Last season’s UAAP juniors MVP Mike Nieto and his twin brother and Mythical Five member Matt Nieto of the Blue Eaglets are also among Ateneo’s stellar recruits along with 6-foot-9 Nigerian Ikeh Chibueze.
Caracut, the NCAA juniors Finals MVP who powered the Red Cubs to a sixth straight title last year, will lead La Salle newcomers.
“Andrei can play both 1 (point guard) and 2 (shooting guard),” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler. “Just the versatility that Andrei brings to team will be a big help.”
The Archers and the Eagles kick off their campaigns versus last season’s finalists this Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
La Salle takes on NU at 12 noon, while Ateneo battles Far Eastern U at 4 p.m. Tickets will be sold separately.
Given the chance at last to strut his stuff in the United States, Donnie “Ahas” Nietes intends to impress without being careless.
Nietes will stake his World Boxing Organization junior flyweight title against Mexican champion Juan Alejo on Oct. 17, headlining Pinoy Pride 33 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Though he has beaten all 14 Mexicans pitted against him so far, Nietes said he needs to be careful against Alejo.
“He likes to go inside and is a good counter-puncher,” said Nietes in Filipino after watching Alejo’s two-round demolition of countryman Erik Ramirez on YouTube. “He has a strong straight and hook.”
“I can’t afford to be complacent,” the 33-year-old Nietes told sportswriters over lunch tendered by ALA Promotions Thursday.
Like Nietes, unbeaten since 2004 with a 36-4, 21 knockouts record, Alejo is also on a roll, beating his last 23 foes, 13 by KO.
Dubbed “Philippines vs the World,” Pinoy Pride 33, ALA Promotions’ first foray in the US in cooperation with ABS-CBN Sports, will also feature brothers Albert and Jason Pagara and Mark Magpayo.
Though the Pagaras’ foes and that of Magpayo have yet to be announced, the trio will be leaving for Los Angeles on Saturday to train at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.
Nigerian center Ola Adeogun threw his weight around in the final period as San Beda held off Jose Rizal U, 83-75, Thursday to grab the solo lead in the 91st NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Heavy Bombers showed plenty of fight, using their pressure defense to unsettle the Red Lions, until Adeogun took charge with 11 points in the payoff period, upping San Beda’s record to 10-2, which put it past Letran (9-2).
MVP contender Art Dela Cruz notched his first triple double of the season with 26 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for the Lions, who welcomed Baser Amer back after an eight-game absence due to a dislocated shoulder.
“We’re happy that Baser is back,” said coach Jamike Jarin. “We need every player to contribute to be successful this season.”
Josan Nimes also returned from injury to power Mapua to an 87-78 trouncing of San Sebastian earlier for the Cardinals’ sixth win in 11 games.
Missing the last three games due to a hamstring problem, Nimes showed why he’s still the Cardinals’ main man, firing 18 points for the Stags.
The Stags unleashed a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 83-78 with 1:03 remaining, before Allwell Oraeme stopped Mapua’s bleeding with a transition lay-up. Nimes then wrapped up the win with a floater with 45 seconds remaining, sending the Stags closer to elimination at 3-9.
MAPUA 87—Nimes 18, Oraeme 11, Nieles 10, Menina 10, Brana 10, Biteng 9, Que 7, Aguiire 6, Serrano 4, Raflores 2, dela Rosa 0
SAN SEBASTIAN 78—Ortuoste 23, Costelo 15, Calisaan 13, David 10, Fabian 8, Guinto 7, Santos 2, Sibal 0, Pretta 0, Bulanadi 0, Vera 0
Quarters: 23-27, 45-43, 67-57, 87-78
SAN BEDA 83—Dela Cruz 26, Adeogun 23, Tankoua 10, Sara 8, Koga 5, Soberano 4, Tongco 3, Cabanag 2, Mocon 2, Amer 0, Bonsubre 0, Presbitero 0, Solera 0, Sedillo 0
JRU 75—Pontejos 19, Teodoro 16, Grospe 10, Lasquety 7, Poutouochi 6, Cruz 4, Abdul Wahab 4, Dela Virgen 3, Sanchez 3, Dela Paz 2, Astilla 1, Balagtas 0
Quarters: 21-16, 36-32, 64-60, 83-75
LIPA CITY—Princess Superal cashed in on a three-shot swing on No. 14 and turned a one-stroke deficit into a one-shot lead over South Korean Hwang Min-jeong with a two-under 70 in the second round Thursday of the ICTSI Mt. Malarayat Ladies Classic at Mt. Malarayat’s composite course here.
Superal canned in a birdie from 12 feet on the par-4 14th while Hwang holed out with a six after an errant drive and a poor approach shot as the Filipino surged ahead after trailing by two.
With a 36-hole total of 141, Superal moved closer to nailing a second leg win on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour after the top The Country Club bet edged reigning back-to-back Order of Merit winner Cyna Rodriguez in a playoff at Wack Wack last April.
Hwang’s 71 gave her a 142 aggregate, just two clear of Rodriguez who shot a 71 and Jayvie Agojo who carded a 72.
Sarah Ababa fired a 70 to be at 145.
Jerlbert Gamolo and Noel Langgamin both shot a two-under-par 70 to keep their share of the lead in the men’s division of the NGAP Mindanao Regional Tournament at the Pueblo de Oro course in Cagayan de Oro.
Gamolo and Langgamin tallied 143s in the event organized by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and MVP Sports Foundation. Jovencio Lusterio improved to a 73 after a 75 Wednesday to stay third at 148.
Korean Nam Kyung-woo carded a 74 for 154 followed at 156 by Mel Cubillo after a 79.
Harmie Constantino added a sizzling 67 to her first-round 68 to virtually wrap up the women’s division title with 135, 13 shots up on Villamor teammate Kristine Torralba (73).
Alain Golez paced mid-am play with 162 after an 80, 10 clear of Randy Arevalo (88).
Philippine coach Thomas Dooley was relieved that no one from the Azkals was injured during the Azkals international friendly match against Maldives on Thursday.
While Patrick Reichelt seemingly pulled his hamstring during extra time at Rizal a Memorial Stadium, Dooley is confident that the Ceres striker would be ready to go for the Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Uzbekistan on Tuesday.
“It’s a great thing that we won and nobody got injured,” he said at the post-match press conference following the Azkals’ 2-0 win over Maldives.
“He [Reichelt] should be fine. Tomorrow’s day off sure will be helpful for him but I expect him to be ready on Tuesday.”
The Azkals can breathe a sigh of relief as the squad is still reeling from the loss of key players due to injury.
The squad is still coping with the injuries of Simone Rota (ribs) and Rob Gier (knee), but Dooley is expecting a squad in full strength against the Uzbeks for the all-important qualifying match.