NFL Won’t Reduce (Updated) Tom Brady Suspension

Posted on July 28, 2015

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New update (9/3)

Judge Overturns Tom Brady’s Suspension

Judge Richard M. Berman has nullified the NFL’s four-game suspension of Tom Brady for his role in the Patriots’ ball deflation scandal. Pending an appeal (Update: the NFL will appeal, according to ESPN’s Andrew Brandt), Brady will start on opening night one week from tonight.

If the NFL does appeal, it could also seek a stay of Berman’s decision. If granted, that would reinstate Brady’s suspension.

We’ll be updating this post as we go through the 40-page decision, which can be read in full below. Here, though, are the three ways the judge ruled that the NFL fucked up:

  1. The NFL didn’t properly inform Brady of the punishment he faced, or even what he was accused of.
  2. The NFL didn’t let Brady’s camp question NFL executive and counsel Jeff Pash at his appeal.
  3. The NFL didn’t give Brady’s side the opportunity to examine the evidence against him.

The NFL also erred, the judge wrote, in not properly informing Brady of the rules that it later accused him of breaking. (Much like how Brady violated the NFL’s “honor code” that isn’t shared with players.)

That one is really the key point here: Judge Berman wasn’t ruling on whether Brady was involved with or “generally aware” of deflated footballs. He was judging the legality of the NFL’s investigatory and disciplinary procedures: the ones that made Roger Goodell and his handpicked minions the cops, prosecutors, judge, and jury and allow the players no independent recourse. Well, none beyond going to court—and, recently, usually winning.

And remember, it’s the NFL that handpicked this New York court in attempt to keep the NFLPA away from a traditionally player-friendly Minnesota judge.

The judge said the NFL’s catch-all “conduct detrimental” policy is overreaching—basically that the league is “legally misplaced” in making shit up as it goes along.

The NFLPA has issued a statement on today’s ruling:

The rights of Tom Brady and of all NFL players under the collective bargaining agreement were affirmed today by a Federal Judge in a court of the NFL’s choosing. We thank Judge Berman for his time, careful consideration of the issue and fair and just result.

This decision should prove, once and for all, that our Collective Bargaining Agreement does not grant this Commissioner the authority to be unfair, arbitrary and misleading. While the CBA grants the person who occupies the position of Commissioner the ability to judiciously and fairly exercise the designated power of that position, the union did not agree to attempts to unfairly, illegally exercise that power, contrary to what the NFL has repeatedly and wrongfully claimed.

We are happy for the victory of the rule of law for our players and our fans. This court’s decision to overturn the NFL Commissioner again should signal to every NFL owner that collective bargaining is better than legal losses. Collective bargaining is a much better process that will lead to far better results.

Update: As mentioned above, ESPN’s Andrew Brandt has reported on Sportscenter that the league is planning to appeal Judge Berman’s decision.

Judge Berman’s decision:

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below is the original posting:

NFL Won’t Reduce Tom Brady Suspension, Says He Destroyed Cell Phone to Hide Evidence

by Rick JT, editing by Adam MS

New update (7/30) ===

Tom Brady and NFL Players Association Sue the NFL in Federal Court Over Deflategate Suspension

Tom Brady wants to play. The NFL Players Association and the New England Patriots quarterback have filed a federal lawsuit to remove Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in the “Deflategate” scandal.

One day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rejected Brady’s appeal, the 37-year-old four-time Super Bowl champion posted a 507-word statement on Facebook, telling fans: “I did nothing wrong.” Additionally, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft publicly supported the three-time Super Bowl MVP after Goodell rejected Brady’s appeal, saying, “I was wrong to put my faith in the league.”

“It is completely incomprehensible to me that the league continues to take steps to disparage one of its all-time great players, and a man for whom I have the utmost respect,” Kraft said in defense of his star quarterback. “I have come to the conclusion that this was never about doing what was fair and just.”

Since Brady lost his appeal, he isn’t expected to return to the field until Oct. 18.

Just before the courts closed in Minnesota Wednesday, the NFL Players Association asked U.S. District Judge David Doty to either overturn Brady’s four-game suspension or put it on hold until the case can be heard. The union asked Doty to revoke the suspension before Sept. 4, which would allow Brady to attend practice before the team’s Sept. 10 season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tom BradyIn the 54-page filing, the NFLPA claimed the NFL has improperly imposed penalties for equipment violations, which would usually result in a nominal fine. “Thumbing its nose at the Peterson order, Commissioner Goodell’s Award upholds Brady’s four-game suspension in its entirety despite the undisputed arbitration record of several egregious notice defects: Brady had no notice of the disciplinary standards that would be applied to him; no notice of the disciplinary policies that would be applied; and no notice of the potential penalties. In fact, the NFL collectively bargained over the punishments (fines, not suspensions) for alleged equipment tampering by players-including those designed to gain a competitive advantage-and was not free to disregard that CBA bargain and subject Brady to other standards, policies, and penalties without any notice at all,” it claimed.

The suit, obtained by E! News, questioned Goodell’s impartiality: “Although the NFLPA agreed that the commissioner or his designee could serve as the arbitrator for ordinary Article 46 disciplinary appeals, the NFLPA did not agree that the commissioner could do so under circumstances where, as here, the commissioners own conduct is at issue. Accordingly, in two recent prior arbitrations in which the commissioner’s own conduct and statements were at issue—Bounty and Ray Rice—even commissioner Goodell concluded that he had to recuse himself.”

Additionally, the suit claimed the sports star should have received advance notice of disciplinary action. “Brady had no notice of the disciplinary standards that would be applied and no notice of the potential penalties,” it claimed.

In Wednesday’s Facebook post, Brady maintained that he, “nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused.”

“I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me. I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either,” he wrote. “Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past 6 months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was ‘probable’ that I was ‘generally aware’ of misconduct.”

image:Getty

below is the original article ===

On May 11, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell—citing dubious evidence—announced that New England Patriots star Tom Brady would be suspended four games for participating in a scheme to deflate footballs below the pressure boundary required by league rules. Brady appealed his suspension, an appeal which was heard by none other than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Perhaps not surprisingly, Goodell has now declared that he will not reduce Brady’s penalty, adding insult to injury by alleging that the quarterback destroyed a cell phone in an effort to hide incriminating evidence. From the NFL’s statement:

On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed.  … The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs.

(Brady told the NFL that he regularly destroys his old phones and that he had begun using a new phone “on or about” the day that he spoke to Wells. Needless to say, the NFL doesn’t know whether there actually was incriminating evidence on Brady’s phone, because they never saw it.)

Brady and the NFL Players Association are reportedly likely to file a lawsuit in federal court contesting Goodell’s ruling. Third-party arbitrators have ruled against Goodell in a number of high-profile cases in recent years: Disputes involving Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and the New Orleans Saints players implicated in the “Bountygate” scandal all ended with Goodell-levied penalties being overturned.

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