Deflategate saga running out of air


The Appalachian Online

Jason Huber

Two hundred and twelve days. That’s how long it’s been since I wrote my last column on the New England Patriots, more specifically on Tom Brady, and even more specifically on Deflategate.

Thirty-seven days. That’s is how long it’s been since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Patriots QB Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, ensuring the case would go to court to be decided by an arbitrator.

With so much time going by, Goodell and Brady have yet to reach a settlement.

Federal Judge Richard Berman met with the two sides Monday for the last time and failed to reach a settlement.

“Tomorrow or the day after,” Berman said to the two about when he would make a decision. A decision will definitely be made before Sept. 4 as the two sides wait eagerly.
This case began on July 29 after Tom Brady and the NFLPA began an appeal to reduce Brady’s suspension, which has become so damaging for Roger Goodell’s credibility. The NFLPA gave Roger Goodell the right to hand out suspensions and punishments to players when the two sides went through collective bargaining, but this case has Goodell looking like a bad guy. He is throwing down a punishment on one of the leagues most idolized figures in Brady.
The indecisive process has many wondering whether this case is even necessary.

I feel this case is utterly ridiculous for both sides. It is undermining the power that Goodell holds, while simultaneously making Brady look worse than he already does, with the impending possibility of proving he damaged evidence and actually knew about the deflated balls looming.
He could have just accepted the four-games and moved on.

If Berman does not have a decision in place by Sept. 5, Brady’s suspension will officially be in place. Sadly, another appeal case can begin, which will drag out this long-tiring case even longer.
Michael McCann, a legal analyst for Sports Illustrated feels that this case will eventually work out in Brady’s favor in the coming weeks.

“I think chances are Brady will play in the season opener. It is more probable than not Brady plays the first game,” McCann said in an interview with NESN on Tuesday.

This leaves us questioning why he would think this and what decision Berman will ultimately come down with.
Berman has already been versed on the NFL and NFLPA’s core arguments. Goodell and the NFL are arguing that he has the right from the league collective bargaining agreement to uphold the punishment with no appeal. Brady and the NFLPA are arguing that the NFL has been unfair using false evidence for the case.

To draw a comparison, this case ranks alongside Garvey vs. the MLB players association, when former San Diego Padres player Steve Garvey was arguing against the MLB about whether he was a victim of MLB collusion. The only difference in this case is that Goodell is not neutral in his court case.

Goodell has already been under fire continuously during his tenure, including the Ray Rice domestic violence case and its fallout, among other decisions. He is just damaging his look further by not handing down punishments which remain upheld and unaltered after appeals.

The case is not sitting well with current players either.

“I would equate what [Tom Brady] did to driving 66 [mph] in a 65 speed zone, and getting the death penalty,” Browns tackle Joe Thomas told in a recent interview.
And Thomas is only the most recent dissenter.
If we are trying to find positives in this whole situation, it would be the publicity and relevance that the NFL has gained from this whole case.
This leaves the question that may be unlikely but could have some truth: Does Roger Goodell enjoy the case because the NFL is getting so much attention? Goodell may not even care what his image is like as long as he is bringing money to the NFL.
Time is the only thing winning in this court case, as the clock continues to tick and the days drag on.

“I have no qualms about everybody’s dedication,” Berman said during a conference in Manhattan on Monday.
There is certainly dedication by both sides, but sometimes things come to a point where you just have to make a decision and move on.

All we can do right now is continue to do what we have been doing the last 37 days, or the last 212 days, or whenever this whole debacle originally reached the news: Play the waiting game. With no settlement announced, all we can do is wait for the decision.

Story by: Jason Huber, Sports Reporter