Diarmuid Connolly and Tom Brady: a tale of two suspensions

Diarmuid Connolly benefited from an almost identical assessment in New England Patriots quarter-back’s Tom Brady’s suspension appeal case last week to successfully quash the ublin star’s one-match ban on Saturday.

In a seven-hour marathon meeting that finished past 2am on Saturday, the Disputes Resolution Authority found that there had been a “lack of fair procedure early on” in the process.

It has since been learned by the Irish Examiner that the DRA ruled in Connolly’s favour having learned he had sought a clarification from referee Joe McQuillan and linesman Conor Lane about what they observed when the Dublin forward clashed with Mayo’s Lee Keegan in injury-time. They were satisfied Connolly’s request was not followed up properly by the GAA’s disciplinary authorities.

Earlier last week, Brady had a four game-suspension imposed by the NFL thrown out by US district judge Richard M Berman. The Patriots’ star had been handed the ban after a NFL investigation deemed that not only had he not co-operated sufficiently with the inquiry into alleged football tampering by the Massachusetts clubs in their AFC championship victory over the Indianapolis Colts last January.

Similar to how the former Supreme Court judge Hugh O’Flaherty-led DRA assessed the GAA’s case against Connolly, Berman found in Brady’s favour on the basis that “the requisites of fairness and due process” were absent from the process.

Berman ruled Brady had not been properly informed by the NFL of what punishment he faced nor of what he was accused of doing.

As well as that and in an uncanny likeness to the Connolly case, Berman stated neither Brady nor his representatives were afforded the opportunity to question NFL executives at his initial appeal. Neither were they given the chance to examine the evidence against him.

Jim Gavin is a well-known American football fanatic but it’s uncertain whether he played a role in Connolly’s case. Ironically, the current Central Hearings Committee and Central Appeals Committee chairmen Liam Keane and Matt Shaw are former secretaries of the DRA. The DRA’s full findings will be disclosed on their website in the coming two weeks.

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