Why Did the Judge Overrule the NFL’s Decision?
According to the 40-page decision released to the media, the NFL was inconsistent throughout the ‘Deflategate’ investigation. The case the league had against Brady had ‘significant deficiencies’. Two struck out the most:
- The quarterback wasn’t aware ‘ball tampering’ is actually a misconduct that could get him suspended. The NFL didn’t have specific rules that covered a possible ‘football deflating’ situation so commissioner Roger Goodellrelated Brady’s case with using drug-enhancing substances. The court’s decision clearly states: “(The Steroid Policy in the league’s collective bargain agreement) cannot, in matter of law, serve as adequate notice of discipline to Brady.”Goodellspecifically said in his final ruling, on July 28, 2015: “In terms of appropriate level of discipline, the closest parallel of which I am aware of is the collective bargained discipline imposed for a first violation of the policy governing performance-enhancing drugs [four-game suspension].”
- The way the NFL conducted the investigation was ‘fundamentally unfair.’ The league didn’t permit Brady and the NFLPA – the players’ union – to interrogate ‘Deflategate’ investigator Jeff Pash, therefore they couldn’t really know if the investigation was truly independent. Moreover Roger Goodell made another poor decision by denying the NFLPA access to files related to the case and notes of witness interviews.
What’s Next for the NFL?
The Federal Court’s overrule is a huge blow for the National Football League and the commissioner. NFLPA Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith slammed Goodell in a statement saying that the judge’s decision “prove, once and for all, that our Collective Bargaining Agreement does not grant this Commissioner to be unfair, arbitrary and misleading.”
Goodellwill probably try to repair his image and appeal in the next few days but, according to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, he won’t seek any suspension to keep Brady off the field.
So rest assure, football and Patriots fans, Tom Brady is here to stay and play. In the backstage however, a lengthy appeal awaits both sides, and the final legal saying in the ‘Deflategate’ case could be heard in 2016 or even 2017. Till then, a football season or two are about to unfold.]]>