I have just about convinced myself that neither the NFL (Roger Goodell) or the NFLPA (Tom Brady) are willing to move enough to settle their differences. At this stage it really doesn’t help either side to settle.
- The NFL would look stupid (gee whiz, ya’ think?), after fighting for this long, to suddenly acknowledge the flawed Wells’ report was…well, flawed!
- The NFLPA (aka Tom Brady) would have to admit guilt if they accepted any penalty other than a fine, and Mr. Brady has stated from the beginning he “did nothing wrong.”
GUNS A BLAZIN”
Both sides came out firing and emptied their weapons Friday, leaving little doubt they are still at war. When you read their filings you get the definite impression Judge Richard Berman is not going to get what he’s looking for when they gather again in his war room…oops, courthouse. The rhetoric is strong and if you haven’t seen it, here are a few excerpts from the filings.
- NFLPA: “At every turn, the NFL misstates the record-from the discipline that was actually imposed”… “…to the Award that was actually rendered (which ignores-not “distinguishes” – settled law of the shop and the binding Peterson decision), to undisputed arbitration evidence (even the NFL does not deny Brady’s lack of notice – the League merely tries to explain it away). “
That was just the beginning, the filing also stated:
- “The NFL’s seismic shifts are nothing short of breathtaking, “
- “…the “independent” (Wells’) Report has now been relegated to “thorough,” the “independent” law firm has been relegated to “experienced and highly respected professionals,” and the whole façade of “independence” has been relabeled as “irrelevant.”
I won’t bore you with a lot of the legal language of the filing, but thought this one summed up the NFLPA’s stance in a nutshell
- (The Award) is more a smear campaign than reasoned decision-a propaganda piece written for public consumption, at a time when the NFL believed the transcript would be sealed from public view, to validate a multi-million-dollar “independent” investigation”
In other words, liar, liar, pants on fire. I don’t know about you, but where I come from those are fightin’ words pardner and, if nothing else, Commissioner Goodell has always been ready to fight, despite his losing record and no matter how much it costs.
Not to be outdone, the NFL lawyers retaliated with a bombshell of their own when they filed later that day. How’s this for headline news:
- Brady “knew about, approved of, consented to, provided inducements in support of the ball tampering”
Well now, we have definitely escalated from “generally aware” to actual pay-off huh? That doesn’t sound much like settling language to me. Of course, there’s still no direct evidence of this, but so what? As the old Wendy’s commercial asked “Where’s The Beef?”
HOW LONG CAN THIS GO ON?
If (and they will) the losing party appeals whatever the judge’s decision is we are talking years, not months. Tom Brady has stated he wants to play for 7 or 8 more years (good luck on that Tom), but what happens if he retires before all the appeals are heard and ruled on? Think about this:
- Would all this have been for nothing?
- Could the courts, the NFLPA, the NFL and all the football fans in the world finally relax and forget about this much-ado-about-nothing case?
- Will Roger Goodell continue as NFL Commissioner at a multi-million $$$ salary (sorry Pats fans, but the answer to that is yes)
Is anyone really optimistic that a settlement will happen after reading this? You have to believe even Judge Berman is doubtful. He once again grilled the NFL Wednesday yet they are sticking to their guns on four games. No room to negotiate when one side is ignoring the Judge! A roomful of lawyers and a judge, sounds like a new TV series to me!
To read both filings, click on the green highlighted text, go to your favorite reading room (in my case the bathroom) and set aside a few hours. It took me about that long to read/re-read it all and I still don’t get all the legalize.
As I acknowledged in my ” The Judge Doesn’t Buy It” column, this was written with my own bias as a lifelong Patriots fan, so please hold off on the hate comments. Thanks.
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