(Reuters) - The “Deflategate” scandal could still cost Tom Brady a four-game suspension next season but the New England Patriots quarterback is thriving when it comes merchandise sales in the NFL.
Brady, 37, a four-time Super Bowl champion and 10-time Pro Bowler, is “the current undisputed retail champion” as the league’s top-selling player for the last fiscal quarter, the NFL Players Association said in statement on Thursday.
For the time since the rankings of officially licensed merchandise were introduced in 2012, Brady occupies the top spot, having replaced fellow quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks based on sales from March 1-May 31.
Quarterbacks dominate the latest rankings with Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers second, Wilson dropping to third, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers fourth and Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning fifth.
The merchandise sales rankings, released quarterly by NFL Players Inc., the marketing and licensing arm of the NFLPA, are based on total sales of all licensed products from online and traditional retail outlets.
Brady, who led the Patriots to victory against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, is awaiting NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling on the quarterback’s appeal of a four-game suspension for his role in a scheme to deflate footballs in the AFC championship game.
He has consistently denied any involvement and both he and the NFLPA plan to challenge the suspension in court if Goodell does not rule favorably on Brady’s appeal.
Goodell fined the Patriots $1 million for its role in the “Deflategate” scandal, and ordered the team to surrender two draft choices, including the team’s coveted number one pick in 2016.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry