Roger Goodell & Tom Brady (Feature Photo: sportige.com)
Could things actually be coming to a head in deflategate? It’s getting tense. The sides have challenged each other to a showdown at high noon (actually the meeting starts at 11AM, but it will be “High Noon” before the battle truly starts) Wednesday before Judge Richard Berman and it seems neither side has budged. Whispers have circulated that the sides have met, but no solid evidence (evidence…who needs evidence?) has been leaked, so who knows what discussions have led to.
Commissioner Roger Goodell is taking congratulations for sticking to his guns from some, while others are unhappy with how this has dragged on…and on…and on. When Tom Brady’s camp released transcripts of the appeal hearing held in the commissioner’s office the NFL took a hit…but they are still defending their position.
The NFL office is crowing that they are sticking with their original decision to suspend Brady for four games, while the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) is saying they won’t accept any suspension. Now the question becomes, is this just posturing or are we going to see some real movement when everyone is sitting in front of the Judge? Was any movement made over the past few weeks?
WHAT TO EXPECT
It’s anyone’s guess what will actually happen when they all get together, but Judge Berman has been adamant that he wants things resolved before it goes to court. In fact, both sides and the Judge have acknowledged they want everything resolved before September 4, the start of the regular season.
There’s a good chance Judge Berman will give some sign of what he is looking for at the first of the two scheduled meetings (Aug. 19 for meeting #2) before him. In his words he expected the sides to “engage in comprehensive, good-faith settlement discussions prior to the conference” this Wednesday.
“Let’s see what we can accomplish at that conference.”
It’s obvious the judge has taken a stance and expects some action at this meeting. The media is going to be present and the opening statements are open to the public. After that, Judge Berman will control how things go. The thing to remember is, this isn’t about whether Brady knew about the deflation of the NFL’s balls (oops – sorry about that), but is to decide whether the NFL followed proper procedure and allowed the Patriots’ QB to have “due process.”
THE TWILIGHT ZONE
Football fans are beginning to feel like they are in the “Twilight Zone” as this case just keeps on going with both sides digging in their heels. Here’s a quick summary of some of the latest positions:
- The NFL lawyers are contending that as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement the players agreed to abide by any ruling from the Commissioner
- The NFLPA is stating there is no precedent for Commissioner Goodell to hand out a suspension without players being aware that their action would be subject to such a penalty.
- The NFL is now saying they were under no obligation to have an “independent” investigation (Well’s Report) under the CBA
- The NFLPA is quoting excerpts from the Commissioners many statements assuring the investigation that the Wells report was an independent investigation. The NFL has now backed off that claim and basically said “So What?”
Here’s hoping that by week-end we’ll have a sense of whether this is about to end…or if we are still in store for more litigation.
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