A U.S. federal judge has overturned a four-game suspension handed down by the National Football League to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his alleged role in deflating footballs for a key playoff game last season.
The judge ruled Thursday that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell went too far in punishing Brady, saying he dispensed "his own brand of industrial justice" in response to Brady's alleged involvement in a controversy called "Deflategate."
Goodell has vowed to appeal the ruling. However, the league said it would not seek to put the judge's decision on hold while its appeal was pending, assuring that Brady can play when the Patriots open the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 10.
The appeal is expected to take about two months to resolve.
Brady has insisted he played no role in the deflation of footballs below the allowable limit at the conference championship game last season, a 45-7 Patriots victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Brady, a two-time NFL Most Valuable Player and three-time Super Bowl MVP, is one of the biggest stars in the National Football League. He has helped the Patriots win four Super Bowls since 2001.