The NFL announced Tuesday that it has upheld Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his involvement in Deflategate. That declaration, however, may not be the end of this ongoing saga.
What will happen now?
“What happens now is everyone expects Tom Brady, Jeff Kessler, the NFLPA, Don Yee – his whole team – to appeal,” Villanova professor and ESPN, Sports Illustrated and MMQB NFL analyst Andrew Brandt said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Why not? Might as well try to get this in federal court. I think before we get to New York . . . there’s always an uphill battle here. Courts want CBAs to function independently. They don’t want you coming to court and saying ‘Hey, you know that CBA? The other side went past it.’ They want to be able to say, ‘Hey, that’s your CBA. Deal with it.’ No. 2, Tom Brady and the NFLPA agreed to this system, where we hear it so often (that) Roger Goodell is judge, jury and executioner. That’s the system they agreed to. That would be an uphill battle in court. And of course courts don’t like taking a sledgehammer to a cellphone.”
Speaking of cell phones, Brady apparently had his destroyed on or around March 6 – the day he met with Ted Wells. Brady did this knowing full well that Wells wanted access to his phone to look at text messages and other electronic information contained therein.
Needless to say, Brady lost a lot of credibility in doing that.
“Yeah, I think so,” Brandt said. “We heard about non-compliance from Ted Wells. We heard about avoiding and being evasive in interviews. Remember, he even said he didn’t even know (Jim) McNally, didn’t even know his name, all those kind of things. And I guess you could explain away some of that, but Wells also said this: He said they never asked for the cell phone. He just asked for printed records. Don Yee could provide him whatever records he had with the two equipment guys – and now we find out there’s an extra step. So Roger Goodell is determining that not only was he non-complaint and evasive, but he did something beyond that. He destroyed evidence. That is only inferred in one way: that you had something to hide that implied guilt and you got rid of it. So that is really what went on today that we didn’t expect.”
The NFL has reportedly asked a Manhattan district court to confirm the suspension – a “preemptive strike,”as Brandt called it.
“I guess what they’re doing is saying to the NFLPA, ‘If you want to appeal this, fine, but we’re going to go to New York court, and you have to take that extra step of trying to move it to (a more player-friendly place like) Minnesota before you ever get to an appeal or a temporary injunction,’” Brandt explained. “I just heard from a lawyer friend by text that the Manhattan court – I don’t even know which district that would be – is very pro-arbitrator. So when you see a pro-arbitrator, you mean they’re going to bless arbitrator Roger Goodell unless there’s something just egregious just beyond negligence in the decision.”