This entire “Deflategate” drama isn’t going away any time soon.
Just when we thought the long national nightmare was behind us, the United States Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that the four-game suspension the NFL handed out to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was to be reinstated.
It was a ruling that sent shock waves throughout the football world.
Immediately after the ruling was announced, the National Football League Players Association released the following statement:
“The NFLPA is disappointed in the decision by the Second Circuit. We fought Roger Goodell’s suspension of Tom Brady because we know that he didn’t serve as a fair arbitrator and that players’ rights were violated under the collective bargaining agreement,” the statement read. “Our Union will carefully review the decision, consider all of our options and continue to fight for players’ rights and for the integrity of the game.”
Like clockwork, it’s now being reported that Brady himself is currently huddling with his legal team and is not prepared to give in without a fight:
Tom Brady not ready to accept court ruling today – far from it, per sources. Mulling options with legal team. But this is not yet over.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 25, 2016
The first step here would be for Brady and the union to pursue a re-hearing in the Second Circuit. Under federal law, they have 14 days to make that motion.
The longer-term option for Brady and Co. would be to take this entire thing up with the United States Supreme Court, something that was made possible by Monday’s decision.
Unfortunately, the land’s highest court has refused to get involved in high-profile labor issues in the past. Even more so when it comes to the professional sports world.
Short of some within the court acting in an activist manner, any appeal to the Supreme Court would likely go unheard.
This means that Brady’s best chance would be the for Second Circuit to take that matter up for reconsideration.
That’s a potential considering the three-judge panel was split 2-1 on its final decision Monday, meaning at least one judge did not agree with the court siding with the league.
It’s also important to note that the court didn’t necessarily side with the NFL on the specifics of the original suspension. Instead, the focus was simply on whether Goodell possessed the power, as the commissioner of the league, to oversee the arbitration between Brady and the league office.
Whether we want to admit it, the NFLPA gave Goodell full authority over player’ punishment and the overall arbitration process when it signed off on the collective bargaining agreement back in 2011. That right there was the crux of the issue for the court in determining to side with the league.
In this, executive director DeMaurice Smith has failed at every turn. That also becomes problematic as Brady ponders further legal action against the NFL.
The court interpreted Goodell’s power in a clear manner on Monday, something that’s likely going to go unchanged moving forward.