(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
UPDATE: No settlement was reached between the Brady and Goodell. According to NFL.com, "Judge Richard Berman engaged the two sides in settlement talks for weeks, but he quickly announced Monday that those talks are over. Berman announced publicly that no decision in the case will come Monday, but it could come as early as Tuesday or Wednesday. The public portion of the case is now closed."
Whether you are pro-“Free Brady” or pro-“ban Brady for life,” we have to admit that Brady vs. the NFL is a pretty entertaining situation. The two sides -- Brady’s Camp and the NFL -- have not been able to settle on Brady’s punishment for not complying with the Ted Wells investigation by not turning over his personal cell phone, which TB12 destroyed in the days leading up to the investigation.
Judge Berman has requested Tom Brady and Rodger Goodell to be present today in court. This will be the last meeting before Burman is supposed to rule on Friday. It’s looking like his ruling can go either way at this point. However, according to ESPN, Judge Berman will most likely rule on the side of the NFL because,
“other legal precedents indicate that Goodell, as the arbitrator established in the NFL collective bargaining agreement, has the power to determine what constitutes conduct detrimental to the league, whether there was a violation, and what the appropriate punishment is. It's obvious, and it's simple. Goodell has the authority to answer all of the questions in the dispute, and a federal judge has no authority to reconsider his answers.”
According to the NFL Collective Bragging Agreement agreed upon in 2011, Article 46 (Page 204) states:
“(a) All disputes involving a fine or suspension imposed upon a player for conduct on the playing field (other than as described in Subsection (b) below) or involving action taken against a player by the Commissioner for conduct detrimental to the integrity of, or public confidence in, the game of professional football, will be processed exclusively as follows: the Commissioner will promptly send written notice of his action to the player, with a copy to the NFLPA. Within three (3) business days following such written notification, the player affected thereby, or the NFLPA with the player’s approval, may appeal in writing to the Commissioner.”
According to Goodell, Brady is not being punished for allegedly deflating the football or even orchestrating it, but more so for not giving over his phone. The Washington Post states:
“Wells never asked for Tom Brady’s cellphone and didn’t require it. “Keep the phone,” Wells told Brady and his agent. He insisted his investigation was thorough without it. “I don’t think it undermines in any way the conclusions of the report,” he said. Those were his exact words. So were these, after interrogating Brady for more than five hours: “Totally cooperative,” Wells said of Brady’s testimony.”
WaPo even brought in John Dowd, who conducted the investigation into Pete Rose for betting on the game. Dowd ultimately got Rose banned from the MLB for life. WaPO noted:
“As a neutral observer, Dowd finds the abuse of process in DeflateGate to be the real scandal. “I still don’t know what this is about. . . . Like ‘Seinfeld,’ this is about nothing,” he said in an e-mail. He called Goodell’s ruling against Brady based on a sudden issue over Brady’s cellphone “an ambush” and added, “The entire NFL disciplinary process lacks integrity and fairness.”
Goodell’s rulings are always so much livelier than the man himself. One reason they’re so entertaining is because he always doubles back. It’s like watching a kid do a Spirograph. First he gave Ray Rice a two-game suspension for slugging his wife, when he thought no one was watching. When it turned out the world was watching, he suddenly accused Rice of lying to him and declared an indefinite suspension. A federal judge overturned him, finding Goodell not credible.”
Again, no matter where you stand, this thing can go either way. Based on precedent, judges usually rule on the side of the NFL, but at the same time these series of cases seem to hurt the NFL as well.
Today’s hearing is scheduled to take place at 11:00 am. We will see what happens, if anything -- but by the looks of things, I doubt anything will.