NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has a decision to make soon. It’s a decision that will play a large role in what happens with the defending champion New England Patriots this season. It’s also a decision that probably should have already been made.
Coming up on a month since the commissioner heard Tom Brady’s appeal of the four-game suspension that was levied against him by the NFL, there doesn’t seem to be a set timeline for Goodell to offer up a decision.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, this could put the team behind the proverbial eight-ball as training camp gets going. Who gets the first-team reps early on? Will Jimmy Garoppolo be forced to take second-team reps while facing the real possibility of having to start for the first four weeks of the regular season?
Reportedly, some of the most influential owners around the NFL do not want to see Brady’s suspension reduced on appeal—a situation that would likely set into motion a protracted legal battle between the league and the players association.
“Per the source, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is being pushed by a small handful of influential owners to hold firm on the four-game suspension, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Wednesday evening. “Working against that pressure, however, is the fear that the four-game suspension would be wiped out by a federal court.”
All things equal, Goodell would likely rather uphold the suspension that he doled out to Brady in the first place. However, the possibility of going up against a powerful legal team, Jeffrey Kessler included, can’t be seen as an attractive option for the league. Even if Brady’s suspension were reduced, the union would still likely take the NFL to federal court.
Pure conjecture here, but process of elimination affords us the ability to narrow down those owners who are reportedly against Goodell overturning the suspension. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys), John Mara (New York Giants) and the Rooney family in Pittsburgh all come to mind.
It will be interesting to see if Goodell is swayed by his chums in the ownership ranks. After all, he was buddy-buddy with Patriots head honcho Robert Kraft before laying the hammer down against the organization.
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