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May 21, 2015

NBA Hall of Famer Thomas maintains he is innocent of sex discrimination

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) – Isiah Thomas, an NBA Hall of Famer who was named president of the Women’s National Basketball Association’s New York Liberty despite a 2007 court ruling he sexually harassed a female colleague, maintained his innocence on Thursday and said he was “proud of the man” he is today.

A federal jury eight years ago found that Thomas, then coach of the New York Knicks, made unwanted advances to team executive Anucha Browne Sanders, and it ordered Madison Square Garden and its chairman, James Dolan, to pay her $11.6 million in punitive damages for unfairly firing her after she complained about Thomas.

May 21, 2015

Ex-NFL star Ray Rice’s domestic violence charges dismissed

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) – A New Jersey judge on Thursday dismissed domestic violence charges against Ray Rice brought against the former National Football League star for knocking unconscious the woman he later married after Rice completed a pretrial intervention program.

The February 2014 incident involving Rice and Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino’s elevator and others involving NFL players prompted the most popular U.S. sports league to toughen penalties for domestic violence and other off-field misconduct.

May 20, 2015

NFL didn’t push Patriots not to fight ‘Deflategate’ penalty: Goodell

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s decision not to appeal the team’s “Deflategate” penalty was made without pressure from the National Football League, Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Wednesday.

“The decision that Robert made was his decision,” Goodell said during a 25-minute news conference at the end of the NFL owners’ meeting in San Francisco.

May 19, 2015

Patriots owner Kraft says will not appeal NFL’s ‘Deflategate’ penalty

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said on Tuesday he will “reluctantly” accept rather than appeal the penalty the National Football League handed the reigning Super Bowl champions for the team’s role in the “Deflategate” scandal.

The NFL fined the club a record $1 million and forced the Patriots to give up two draft choices for purposely deflating footballs used in the team’s 45-7 playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts that put New England in the Super Bowl.

May 15, 2015

NFL players union wants Goodell to testify in Brady appeal

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) – The NFL players union said its plans to call Commissioner Roger Goodell as a witness during the appeal of the four-game suspension handed to New England Patriots star Tom Brady for his role in the “Deflategate” scandal disqualifies Goodell from hearing the case.

In a letter to the league released on Friday outlining the grounds for the appeal, the union also said it will seek testimony from NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent, who issued the penalty to Brady.

May 15, 2015

Patriots’ star Brady appeals four-game ‘Deflategate’ suspension

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Thursday formally appealed a four-game suspension for his role in “Deflategate” after his team, one of America’s most high-profile sports franchises, delivered a blistering rebuttal of an NFL investigation into the matter.

The NFL players union, which filed the appeal on behalf of Brady, called for an independent arbitrator to hear the case involving one of the NFL’s marquee players.

May 14, 2015

Patriots deliver blistering rebuttal on ‘Deflategate’ probe

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) – The New England Patriots on Thursday delivered a blistering rebuttal of the NFL investigation into how footballs were deflated below league standards in the AFC title game.

In a website created to dispute the findings of the scandal known as “Deflategate,” the Patriots said the conclusions in the report were “incomplete, incorrect and lack context.”

May 13, 2015

Patriots fans want to help pay NFL’s ‘Deflategate’ fine

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) – The loyal fans of the New England Patriots, angered by the suspension of Tom Brady and $1 million fine levied against the team for the “Deflategate” scandal, have opened a fund-raising drive to help the team pay the bill.

A Patriots fan looking to raise money to pay the fine created a GoFundMe web page titled “Paying the bill of the PATRIOTS,” and as of Wednesday morning fans had donated $13,538.

May 13, 2015

Brady and NFL prepare to battle over ‘Deflategate’ suspension

By Steve Ginsburg and Steve Keating

(Reuters) – The National Football League’s hardline stance on Tom Brady and his role in “Deflategate” sparked predictions on Tuesday that the star quarterback could see his four-game suspension reduced through an appeal.

The severity of the punishment for the New England Patriots star combined with a spate of overturned NFL sanctions bode well for Brady in the appeals process, experts said.

May 12, 2015

NFL again under scrutiny with Brady poised to appeal suspension

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is expected this week to formally appeal his four-game suspension over his role in “Deflategate,” in what would be the latest test for a league whose sanctioning policies have come under intense scrutiny.

Brady, a four-time Super Bowl champion and one of the National Football League’s marquee players, has said he will appeal the penalty, handed down on Monday for his part in deflating footballs for the AFC title game in January.