Tom Brady has got to be feeling in high spirits. He nimbly strolled away from the federal court hearing regarding his suspension to resume practices with his team, and a judge basically just gave Rodger Goodell and the NFL a big, fat bird.
While the verdict is not in quite yet, things are looking up for Tom Brady as he appeals a four-game suspension that was handed down by the NFL for his alleged role in Deflate Gate.
During the most recent episode to this enduring, soap opera NFL saga, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman issued a stern warning to the NFL during oral arguments. Basically, he told him that the status quo is to toss any penalties that are assessed and issued by arbitrators (which is why Tom went to court in the first place), due to the biased nature of such arbitration.
Judge Berman was quick to point out apparent holes in the NFL’s case. Namely, how they handled the controversy, and the fact that these decisions are typically rejected when a key witness isn’t allowed to testify. In this case, that’d be NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash, who has not been interviewed by the NFLPA throughout the entire process.
In essence, Berman cited due process. He also was certain to note that the evidence in the case was scant, if any, and that it was ”conspicuously absent” that Brady was “generally aware” of a plot to deflate the footballs.
In doing so, he also gave Ted Wells, the lawyer who was responsible for the “third-party” investigation, which got Brady banned for four games, the big, federal bird.
Berman also pointed out that he was confounded by the fact that Brady’s punishment was so harsh, and noted that there were other, more suiting punishments, like the $50k equipment tampering fine, that should apply instead. He also hinted that Goodell punished Brady so severely merely for his refusal to cooperate during the investigation. Lastly, he disagreed with Goodell’s logic that Brady’s punishment be the same as it is for players who are caught using performance-enhancing drugs.
Berman has repeatedly urged both sides to arrive at a settlement on their own. But he did say that he will rule on Sept 4th if an agreement has not been made. This would be just in time for Brady, if the suspension is tossed, to suit up to play the Pittsburgh Steelers, where the Pats are hosting for their season opening game.
Logic tells us that either way the cookie crumbles, Brady walks away with a fine. Considering the nature of his alleged offence, the lack of any clear evidence, and the circus that it’s made of the NFL, it’s probably a good thing it all gets dismissed anyways.
As for Berman giving the anecdotal finger to the NFL, it’s got to feel good to flip the bird to the only profitable, multibillion corporation that still does not pay any federal taxes.