RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And a group of diehard New England Patriots fans have gone to federal court trying to stop the team's punishment for Deflategate. The Patriots lost their first-round pick in the NFL draft after the league said the team had improperly deflated footballs in the 2014-2015 season. But fans say the team shouldn't be punished while the case is still on appeal. NPR's Tovia Smith reports.
TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: Call it a Hail Mary. These Pats fans say they can't let their team be robbed of their first-round pick.
MIKE DIMAURO: That's not fair - you know? Like, we've got to think long-term here.
SMITH: Mike Dimauro is one of seven plaintiffs accusing the NFL of fraud, negligence and inflicting emotional distress. He says he's lost sleep and can't bear to follow his team.
DIMAURO: It's too bothersome for me. It leaves a big hole in my heart.
SMITH: Plenty Patriots Nation can relate.
NORM WRIGHT: Yeah, I actually - when I saw it I wanted to actually say can I have my name on that lawsuit?
SMITH: Norm Wright at a sports pub last night agreed the NFL has unfairly subjected Pats fans to taunting and ridicule.
WRIGHT: We didn't do anything wrong.
RICH SCHILLER: Whiners.
SMITH: So now there's even more public ridicule from New York fans like Rich Schiller.
SCHILLER: It's about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard actually.
SMITH: Last fall Tom Brady got a judge to reverse his four-game suspension for Deflategate. But experts say they don't expect this suit to get very far down the field. Tovia Smith, NPR News, Boston.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.