Tag Archives: Roger Goodell

NFL: The Aftermath of Arrogance

Generated by IJG JPEG Library
Generated by IJG JPEG Library

New England Patriot fans will forever entomb Thursday September 3rd, 2015 as the day that Tom Brady’s four game suspension due to the never ending spectacle known as Deflategate, was overturned by New York Judge, Richard Berman. Deflategate , began on January 18th when several footballs were found to be under inflated during  the AFC title game. What ensued in the next six months following Deflategate brought the collective six regions of New England to new depths of misery and redundancy.

The NFL launched an investigation with enough venom, bias and arrogance to destroy all the good will brought forth by this year’s winning Super Bowl season.  In fact the NFL’s punishments and insistance on cheating led many in New England to speculate whether the Patriots were being treated so viscerally due to other league owners whom were unsatisfied with how Spygate was handled in 2007. In essence, the fans, owner Bob Kraft and Tom Brady were essentially placed on a proverbial island with the other 31 teams happily laying fire to their escape raft.

From the standpoint of the NFLPA (National Football Players Association) and New England Patriots fans it was a phenomenal thing that Tom Brady was exonerated by Judge Berman. The NFL took this farther than they should have in order to prove a point and save face in the aftermath of the Ray Rice spousal abuse scandal. Were the New England Patriots responsible for deflating footballs? Whether you believe that to be true or a ridiculous falsehood is irrelevant.  This appeal was never about Brady’s innocence but more about abuse of power. The fact is the NFL went too far in their punishment and Judge Berman recognized it. The NFL should’ve absolutely allowed the punishment to fit the crime, rather than use Tom Brady and the Patriots as scapegoats for their own misgivings. It was an overreach on something that should have been a fine for an equipment violation.

On the other side of this transgression, although Sept. 3rd was a victory that should be held in high esteem all over New England, it does come with a rather large grain of salt. The New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft accepted a $1 million dollar fine, the loss of 2016’s 1st round draft pick and 2017’s 4th round draft pick. As great as having Tom Brady under center during the first four games of the season, the previously mentioned penalties are still an unprecedented punishment and something that New England fans will be unable to ignore.

With all things being equal, had the NFL and Roger Goodell gone about this correctly, they would have massacred the New England Patriots in every conceivable way by merely sticking to the punishment and leaving what little they thought they had on Brady off the table. Had they not been so shortsighted, the NFL could have come out of this looking incredible. The NFL could have simply stuck it to the hated, “cheaters” and restored some semblance of order after the ridiculous year they had suffered through. Instead the NFL decided to gamble with a lack of concrete evidence which led to their downfall.

Ultimately, the world has focused its attention on Tom Brady’s involvement and subsequent suspension rather than the fact that the Patriots were again punished for apparent cheating.  With Tom Brady exonerated, the story is about Tom Brady beating the NFL, not the Patriots and the shenanigans surrounding underinflated footballs and the consequences which followed.  In the end, the NFL had the chance to come out of this looking proficient but now must live with yet another loss in judicial, as well as public court. New England Patriot fans may have to live with what is arguably an unprecedented fine, but their quarterback, Tom Brady,  is where he should be and the NFL was fed a great deal of humble pie.

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After Nearly 7 and a Half Months, Tom Brady is Free

Brady suit game, 100% on point
Brady suit game, 100% on point

That sound you just heard was the cheer that erupted from millions of Patriots fans across the world. Let this day, this third day of September in the year 2015, be a day to remember. Let it be a day of celebration. There will be singing and dancing in the streets. Wounds will be healed, broken relationships will be mended. Hell, the dead may even rise again. The reason for all this jubilation, you ask? After nearly seven and a half months, Tom Brady is free again.

Let’s quickly run through the story that has captured America’s attention since seemingly the beginning of time. The Patriots beat the Colts easily in the AFC Championship game. The next morning, there were some rumblings that perhaps the Patriots played with deflated footballs. This left many fans thinking, “how does a deflated football even give you an advantage?” and every Patriots hater screaming, “SEE! CHEATERS!!!”

Later Monday night, Chris Mortensen reports that 11 of the 12 Patriot’s footballs were underinflated by 2 PSI. The media grills Tom Brady. America grills Tom Brady. A dark cloud is cast over Patriots Nation during the first week of Super Bowl Week. Then the real Super Bowl Week arrives. And, for no apparent reason, Patriot’s fans transform from dark, depressed, somber mode into “F You” mode the following week. It becomes an “us against the world” mentality. The Patriots go out in Super Bowl XLIX with perfectly inflated footballs and beat the Seattle Seahawks, who looked to be a more talented team, in one of the most exciting Super Bowls in recent memory. Snuck into this by the NFL was a leak that in actuality, only one of the Patriots balls was 2 PSI under the legal minimum, the others were no more than 0.2 PSI under it.

goodell-egg

Months go by, and the Pats bask in their victory. The NFL sends “Independant” investigator Ted Wells to conduct an investigation. In May, Wells finally comes out with his report. His conclusion is that it is “more probable than not” that Tom Brady was “generally aware” of footballs being intentionally manipulated. This sends America into an uproar. Their villain has finally been exposed, they think. The NFL uses these highly conclusive findings (that was sarcasm if you weren’t sure) to suspend Tom Brady for not one, not two, not three, but FOUR games.

Brady will not go down without a fight. Believing it will aid Brady’s case, Robert Kraft elects not to appeal the team-imposed sanctions, which included a $1 million fine, the biggest in league history, and the loss of a first and a fourth round draft pick. Yes, the Patriots received the harshest punishment in the history of the league over the air pressure in a few footballs.

Naturally, Brady appeals the suspension. On June 26, Brady and his lawyers meet with the NFL to appeal. They spent almost an entire day in one room discussing the air pressure in footballs, a real fun day I’m sure. A month goes by with no new news. Finally, the NFL rules to uphold the 4-game suspension, but not before leaking information they had known for more than a month, that Brady ordered his cell phone to be destroyed before Wells’ investigation.

470144094-new-england-patriots-owner-robert-kraft-gettyimages

The next day is the eve of training camp, the day when the team arrives for camp. Robert Kraft, in his press conference, reads a harsh statement in which he rips apart the NFL, his most notable quote being, “I was wrong to put my faith in the league.”

Brady fires back as well, writing a long Facebook post about his disappointment in the suspension. But, as we all know, Tom Brady is no quitter. He elects to sue the NFL in federal court. The case is assigned to Judge Richard Berman, a judge in Manhattan. The location of the case is supposedly slightly in favor of the NFL.

The two sides meet three times in front of the judge, and a few others on their own. Berman really wants the sides to settle. They both want a ruling before September 4. In the hearings, Berman goes hard after the NFL. The first thing he asks them is the question we’ve been wondering since the start. Tom Brady played much better in the 2nd half of the game when the balls were re-inflated than he did with the deflated balls, so how was this even an advantage?

During the hearings, the NFL keeps falling back on their power in the CBA to rule however they deem necessary. At one point, Roger Goodell compares Brady’s offense to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Seriously? On Monday, August 31, the sides met for the last time. No settlement was reached. The NFL was only willing to knock one game off the suspension if Brady admitted to the findings in the Wells report, which of course were nothing. Brady was willing to accept a one-game suspension but only because of his failure to cooperate during the investigation.

Judge Berman said he would rule on the case before Friday, September 4th. Today, he vacated Brady’s suspension. Brady’s beaten all 31 teams in the NFL that he hasn’t played for, and now he’s beaten the league as well.

The NFL is a loser in this case more than Tom Brady’s a winner. This opens a huge Pandora’s box. Now, every single player that is suspended will appeal it and challenge it in court, the league’s worst nightmare. That’s why the Deflategate case is far from over.

The league will almost certainly appeal this to a higher court. No matter how weak their case is, they’ve now become the side that has nothing to lose. Roger Goodell has had a rough couple of years. After Ray Rice knocked out his fiancée in February 2014, Goodell suspended him an embarrassing two games. A little while later, a video came out of the actual scene, something the NFL could’ve easily obtained themselves. Goodell used that as an excuse to suspend him the entire season. A lot of people were critical of his handling of Adrian Peterson’s child abuse case.

I defended Goodell for a long time. I feel like handing out punishments in the NFL is one of the hardest jobs in the world. There are so many incidents that no matter how well prepared you are, it’s impossible to be perfect. However, if this job is done badly, it looks horrible. And that’s the situation we have here.

The NFL essentially makes up their discipline policy as they go along. In an industry with as many wrongdoings as they have, this is a problem. Goodell has a long history of his suspensions being overturned, and this is the easy explanation as to why. Roger Goodell is still the commissioner of the NFL, but the more time passes, the more it’s clear that the clock is ticking.

via bostonherald.com
via bostonherald.com

So, after nearly seven and a half months, the NFL’s golden boy has been cleaned of all inequities. That means that, one-week from today, when the NFL season begins in Foxborough, Tom Brady will be on the field facing the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tom Brady is a winner. He’s engineered 35 4th quarter comebacks in his NFL career, but let the record show, that on September 3, he engineered number 36, against his toughest opponent, the NFL.

New England Patriots – NFL: Judge Berman’s “No Deal” Is No Surprise

The good news is we could have Judge Richard M. Berman’s ruling in Tom Brady’s four game suspension, you know, “deflategate,” before I actually get to publish this article. After Monday’s meeting he said he will have a decision by Friday and possibly as early as Tuesday.

The bad news is, no matter how the Judge rules, odds are we won’t be through hearing about this fiasco for another year or more.

Judge Berman: “We did not reach a settlement. … In some cases, it doesn’t happen and this is one of those cases.”

In an abbreviated meeting Monday (8/31) between the attorney’s for the NFL and those for Tom Brady and the NFLPA, Judge Berman gave up. Yup, no matter how hard he pushed for a negotiated settlement neither party was willing to move enough (or at all) off their original position to bring about closure.

All the big guns were there for both sides, including NFL Commissioner (King) Roger Goodell, John Mara (chairman of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee), Tom Brady, Jay Feely (a member of the union’s executive committee) and a horde of Attorneys charging huge $$$$$$$$$. Could anyone really expect a last minute miracle? Not only no, but hell no!

Feely, speaking for the NFLPA outside the courthouse after the meetings, had this to say:

“For us it reinforces the desire and the need for an independent arbitrator in these matters of personal conduct,” … “But we understand Tom’s position and I think the process will work itself out.”

S-L-O-W Is Where We Go Now

No matter what he rules in the next few days, it is highly likely the loser will appeal the decision…and, when that happens, things slow to a crawl. If you think it’s been forever to get to this point your patience is about to be drained.

Judge Berman fast tracked this ridiculous case through his court with the hope he could force a settlement, but the higher courts have more important things to do than to rule on deflated football theories and they will take their time. You can be sure Berman will write his decision carefully to avoid being overturned.

Per Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated An appeal might not be decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit until next summer, meaning Brady could lose this round in court but play the entire 2015 season without disruption

Nothing New

So, nothing has changed from all the discussions everyone has had and, no matter what anyone says…once again…don’t believe anything you hear until the Judge issues his ruling. We’ll be writing a lot more about the silliest court action ever (should work it’s way into Ripley’s Believe It Or Not) once we hear what Judge Berman decides.

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

 

“Save Roger”: What The NFL is Trying to do at any Expense

A confident Roger Goodell (Photo: ora.tv.com)
A confident Roger Goodell (Photo: ora.tv.com)

Corruption. Power breeds it, no matter how good one’s intentions are when push comes to shove power destroys ideals. It doesn’t have to be malicious, it rarely is at first but when absolute influence goes unchecked the results are no less poisonous.

Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement has given Roger Goodell absolute autonomy to rule the NFL. What exactly is article 46 of the CBA? In a nutshell, it allows the commissioner to impose the discipline and to designate the hearing officer (this can also be the Commissioner himself) to handle all appeals in regards to matters relating to conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in, the game of professional football. This effectively makes him Roger GODell.

Why would the National Football League’s Player’s Association agree to such a grand deliverance of power? To be honest, article 46 has been around since the very first CBA was drafted back in 1968. In a game of give and take the NFLPA for whatever the reason, they always felt this was a car that was better left on the showroom floor. If the past few years abuse of power are any indication, it would seem that the next time the NFL and the Union meet, this will be a point of contention.

The year 2014 is more than likely a year Roger Goodell would like to forget. The Ray Rice scandal was devastating to his tenure as commissioner. In the interest of protecting “the Shield”, Goodell and the NFL thought it best to ignore and deflect rather than hold Ray Rice responsible for assaulting his then fiance. The Commissioner lied about seeing a crucial piece of evidence (elevator video), the world reacted with disgust and Goodell has been over compensating ever since.
It’s safe to say that at the start of the “Save Roger” reclamation project, much of the public was thrilled when he rescinded Ray Rice’s mere two game suspension and changed it to indefinite. Never mind that this act showed that  he was inconsistent but it reeked of desperation. Roger mishandled an important case and tried to cover his tracks ultimately leading to the case being overturned and making his power seem less omnipotent.

Roger hid behind his stature and tried desperately to find a scapegoat to get him out of this mess. Star running back Adrian Peterson’s child abuse case and defensemen Greg Hardy’s assault case weren’t enough to scrub the perceived ineptitude from Goodell’s hands.
The NFL Commissioner needed to deflect all this bad publicity, much to his delight the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts were about the hand him a gift. Deflategate arrived like a proverbial wrecking ball and suddenly the world was now focusing on the fall from grace of Tom Brady the cheater.

It's been a headache for both Roger Goodell & Tom Brady
It’s been a headache for both Roger Goodell & Tom Brady

Roger got his diversion.

Goodell has made his share of mistakes with Deflategate, the most recent being when he came under fire due to his admittance that (after months of saying otherwise) the entire investigation was never really independent. Remember Article 46? Once again, Roger has been delighted to hide behind his greatest weapon, his  magic wand.
In the eyes of the NFL, it doesn’t matter how Roger has handled any of this, Article 46 states he can conduct himself in any manner he sees fit when protecting the integrity of the product. “Save Roger” is in full effect, leaving many players in the NFL to ask who will save them?

NFL: If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying

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Deflategate is a sham. Roger Goodell and the NFL took an equipment violation and turned it into the crime of the century. It’s all part of an effort to buy back trust and confidence from league owners after a tumultuous 2014.
The previous paragraph accurately sums up how the New England fan base feels about the debacle known as deflategate. It’s a bit one sided but not all together the worst summary of 2015’s biggest non story. The NFL and more than likely the other 44 states, look at this organizational massacre as one brand’s comeuppance for seemingly always skirting the rules.
Last week ESPN,which has hardly been in the New England Patriots corner during this mess, polled more than 100 NFL players asking them a variety of questions concerning their take on deflategate. While every fan and media member from around the globe has had their chance to jump on their proverbial soap boxes we have only heard from a select few actual colleagues of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
The 13 question survey begins by asking if the player believed the accusations that the Patriots knowingly deflated footballs; 72% said yes and 28% said no. Given the Patriot’s history, this comes as no real shock. Where it gets interesting is when the players are asked if they are upset with the Patriots over the alleged deflation of footballs; 84% said no and only 16% said yes. Take a moment to let that resonate, 84% of their peers look at this alleged reaction as

“no biggie“.

The majority of people the Patriots play week in and week out aren’t upset with this supposed travesty of justice.
Questions three and four run a bit closer to a split decision but, none the less, still fall in the Patriots favor. Question three point blank asks if the Patriots are cheaters; 58% said no and 48 percent said yes. Question four asked if the outcome of the game could be impacted by deflated footballs; 52% said no and 48% said yes.
When asked how many games Tom Brady should have been suspended for, the most common answer was 1.5, more than four games was 3%, four games was 19 % and fewer than four was a resounding 78%.
Questions six and seven were once again far apart in results but both in Tom Brady and the Patriot’s favor. Question six asked if the Patriots would still make the postseason without Brady (85% yes, 15% no.) Question seven asked if Spygate still stuck in their craw (80% no, 20% yes.)
Possibly the most indicative of the league’s biggest problems, from a player’s point of view, is Roger Goodell handling player discipline. 88% of players feel Roger should not decide discipline, with only 12% okay with his current role.
What should come as no surprise, to anyone who has ever competed athletically, are the questions and results garnered from inquiries nine through thirteen. When asked if other teams illegally tamper with the footballs, 68% said yes and 32% said no. Mind you, these are actual, current NFL players indicating that most teams tamper with the footballs. When asked about the most common form of on field cheating, 55% of those polled said holding was the most egregious faux pas. The most outlandish form of cheating witnessed were cheap shots and deliberate injuries at 52% It’s safe to say Bountygate would register as a bigger offense to those polled when compared to under inflated footballs.
Question twelve asked the percentage of players they think actually cheat on field which came up at 30%. The final question asked the player if they thought their teammates had cheated; 71% said no, whereas 29% said yes.
Overall it seems that although not every athlete cheats, in the NFL skirting the rules and gaining a competitive advantage is not something that angers many players. Does this ESPN survey prove the Patriots are cheaters or that deflategate is overblown hyperbole? No, it just proves that for some “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”

via grantland.com
via grantland.com

NFL: Deflategate, Why would Roger Goodell Go After Tom Brady?

Generated by IJG JPEG Library
Generated by IJG JPEG Library

From the first pages of the Wells Report, it’s clear that Tom Brady was in the NFL’s crosshairs. It took a logical stretch, but Mr. Wells was sure to hang that “more probably than not… generally aware” label on old number twelve, opening the door for Troy Vincent and Roger Goodell to slap him across the teeth with a good, hard punishment.

The suspension itself proves that Brady must be guilty, some people say. Why would Roger Goodell go after Tom Brady, maybe the most recognizable face in the NFL, a man who has done nothing but promote good sportsmanship and class for the past decade and a half? Why would he punish him so severely, unless he had no choice?

The answer is…(click to-> read more)

Story by: Sports Police

NFL-New England Patriots: Will Brady Retire Before Deflategate Is Resolved?

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”

Guns A Blazing (photo: genius.com)
Guns A Blazing (photo: genius.com)

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:

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?”

Asking the NFL to play Where's The Beef?
Asking the NFL to play “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:

  1. Would all this have been for nothing?
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

New England Patriots: Judge Berman Doesn’t Buy It

Let me start by saying I was (gulp) wrong. Now if only NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would just say the same thing and Tom Brady would apologize for not being “cooperative” we could all start talking about football instead of the legal garbage. Unfortunately, that’s too simplistic at this stage.

In my recent article on “Deflategate”, published before Wednesday’s conference between Judge Richard Berman, the NFL legal team and Tom Brady’s attorneys I mistakenly said this isn’t about whether Brady knew about the deflation of the NFL’s balls.  

The inaccurate Chris Mortenson NFL
The inaccurate Chris Mortenson NFL “leak” that drove football fans to a frenzy

Judge Berman, to the NFL’s chagrin, quickly dispelled that notion when he grilled NFL Attorney Daniel Nash about the proof of Tom Brady’s involvement in a conspiracy. And, (use your Gomer Pyle voice please) “sur-prise, sur-prise” …the Judge doesn’t understand how the NFL made their case in “Deflategate.” Here’s what he asked Nash:

“What is (the) evidence of scheme or conspiracy that covers the January 18 game? I’m having trouble with that.”

The NFL’s “So What” Defense

Yup, he went down that road despite everyone’s understanding that the legal issue was whether due process was given properly. And guess what the NFL Legal Team’s answer to just about every question was? You got it, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed off on by the players, including Mr. Brady, states the Commissioner can make the decision based upon his judgement…in other words the nah, nah, it doesn’t matter whether he is proven guilty or not defense.

I acknowledge I may have (OK, did) made the NFL look guilty of any real conspiracy by highlighting the most explosive part of the hearings. Judge Berman did state he still hadn’t made any decision on the case, so not to read too much into the questions he asked…but c’mon. “I’m having trouble with that sure sounds like he isn’t buying into why this has arrived in his court.

The judge questioned both sides and asked most of the questions fans, both pro and con Brady, have asked for going on seven months now.

  • Is there a solid link between Brady and any “direct evidence” connecting Tom Brady to the balls being tampered with?
  • Is there an e-mail tie between John Jastremski, the equipment assistant, and Jim McNally, the officials’ locker room attendant on that infamous day.

Dash’s reply, “no,” but (to paraphrase the rest) there’s enough circumstantial evidence to link Brady. Also see the “So What” defense above. At the meeting Brady’s attorney, Jeffrey Kessler, acknowledged that the Patriots’ QB wasn’t completely innocent in the Deflategate fiasco by not fully cooperating with the investigation on the advice of his agent Don Yee. That seemed like a first step in the right direction.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Now that we have the sensational headline out-of-the-way, the question becomes what went on behind closed doors? No matter what you see, hear or read…don’t believe it until a final agreement is reached or (oh no) it goes to court. Everyone (except me, of course) has highly informed secret sources who can’t be revealed because of privacy agreements (you know, freedom of the press) and “leaks” will occur…but until it comes from the horse’s mouth (sorry Judge Berman, didn’t mean to call you a horse) don’t buy into anything!

The parties continued to meet in private until after 7PM Wednesday. That’s a long time to not do anything, provided nothing was accomplished. Now it’s my turn to speculate that, if the NFL insists on Brady accepting the accuracy of the Wells report (as rumored) this case has a long, long way to go.  If however the NFL is willing to exclude that caveat there is some wiggle room.

The problem remains that no matter how many people poke holes in the report the NFL adamantly refuses to budge. Why, oh why, would Tom Brady now say he’d accept the report and acknowledge he lied under oath and set himself up for even more ridicule? It’s not going to happen…in my humble opinion.

SO WHAT NOW

Although both Brady and Goodell were present, they both let their legal counsel do all the talking after introducing themselves to the court. What happens next is up to the NFL (Goodell) and NFLPA (Brady) while Judge Berman awaits for the next get together, scheduled for August 19. He has flatly told them that they must have meaningful settlement discussions and wants them to make progress between now and that conference. Will that occur? Both sides will have to make some major concessions if a settlement is arrived at…and dammit, that’s highly unlikely.

Who Me? (Photo from youtube.com)
Who Me? (Photo from youtube.com)

All the opinions in this article are mine and have been influenced by my skewed look at things through the eyes of a lifelong Patriot fan. I admit it, so please, hold back on the hate comments.

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

NFL: Tom Brady and NFL Meet In Court For First Time, Judge Berman Seeks Facts

Brady suit game, 100% on point
Brady suit game, 100% on point

After 7.5 hours, day one of the settlement talks between Tom Brady, NFL Players Association, and NFL in federal court in New York are done. And there is not any progress to a settlement, as both sides are adamant in their positions, but both sides have put out their arguments on day one.

Both Tom Brady & the NFLPA, and the NFL took blows from Judge Berman. For Brady’s side it was mainly the issue of Jim McNally tampering the balls without Brady’s consent. However, the NFL took the biggest blows of the day. Judge Berman continuously asked for direct evidence of Brady’s wrongdoing, which the NFL did not have. It also seems that Berman is “skeptical about the evidence or lack of it linked to Brady and the alleged ball deflation scheme,” according to legal analyst Michael McCann.

<> on August 12, 2015 in New York City.

This court meeting is only the start, and both sides will meet again on Aug 19 for another settlement meeting. But, if both sides do not reach a settlement, Judge Berman will have to make a decision to eliminate Brady’s suspension or uphold it by Sept. 4, a week before the season opener, where the New England Patriots face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL: High Noon For The NFL & NFLPA In Deflategate

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.

A confident Roger Goodell (Photo: ora.tv.com)
A confident Roger Goodell (Photo: ora.tv.com)

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.

Judge Richard Berman will be pushing both sides to settle
Judge Richard Berman will be pushing both sides to settle

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

Welcome to the Twilight Zone
Welcome to 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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