Deflategate judge will put NFL's arbitration process into focus – USA TODAY
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (left) and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pose with the Pete Rozelle trophy during the Super Bowl XLIX-Winning Head Coach and MVP Press Conference at Media Center-Press Conference Room B.(Photo: Joe Camporeale, USA TODAY Sports)
Forget psi and the Ideal Gas Law. Text messages referencing “the deflator” won’t be considered either.
As U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman weighs the case between the NFL and the Players Association and Tom Brady, the question of whether Brady was complicit in the deflation of footballs isn’t on the table.
Rather Berman must decide whether the arbitration process that ended with Commissioner Roger Goodell upholding a four-game suspension for the New England Patriots quarterback was fair and in compliance with the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union.
“If it’s outside the collective bargaining agreement and doesn’t go to the very essence of that agreement, he will overturn the discipline,” says Daniel Wallach, a sports litigator with Becker & Poliakoff in Fort Lauderdale.
“This is no longer about deflated footballs,” says Wallach. “It’s about the way the NFL administers justice and it’s about the absence of fair procedures and even handedness.”
Tom Brady’s Deflategate testimony, phone records revealed in NFLPA filing
In the nearly seven months since the Patriots’ 45-7 win over Indianapolis in the AFC Championship game, the fight turned to a question of how players are disciplined.
In July, Goodell upheld Brady’s suspension in an arbitration decision now before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The NFLPA and Brady have put forth several arguments, but attorneys say a lack of notice is likely his strongest.
The union contends: Brady was not told he would be subject to the competitive integrity policy used to fine the Patriots and revoke draft picks, which applies to clubs and not players; applicable player policies regarding tampering with equipment call for fines and not suspensions; he could not be suspended for “general awareness” of misconduct by others; and he could not be suspended for non-cooperation when only a fine has been levied previously.
Their cases relies on the law of the shop, which represents the past practices and precedents between the parties. That …Read More