According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, a league source confirmed that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady discussed a settlement to avert Brady’s attorneys from challenging his Deflategate suspension in federal court.
Pro Football Talk reports that no prospective deal has been made despite advice given to Goodell by Gregg Levy, Goodell’s legal consultant in the Brady case, that a federal court would overturn the suspension. The league source said some of the league’s most powerful owners have urged Goodell not to rescind Brady’ suspension for his actions in the Deflategate controversy.
Levy was the runner-up to Goodell in the voting for NFL Commissioner in 2006.
The NFL suspended the New England quarterback for four games as a result of Ted Wells judging it likely that Brady knew of a scheme, which he dubbed “more probable than not,” to deflate footballs prior to the AFC Championship Game victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The NFL also cited Brady’s refusal to turn over his cell phones to them to justify the suspension.
ESPN reported that last week that the NFL responded to the NFL Players Association’s offer for a settlement in the Brady case with “silence.” The Wells Report, the basis of the suspension, has come under criticism for, among other issues, reporting a one-size-fits-all pregame pressure level for all balls despite the referee reporting some variance and for inexplicably choosing to believe that the referee used one gauge to measure the balls when he testified he used the other gauge—which, if used as the baseline, clears the Patriots from wrongdoing on a majority of balls.
Florio, who considers a deal between Brady and Goodell possible, but unlikely, offers his own opinion of which path Goodell should take, writing, “So while there’s still no good way out of this mess for Goodell, the safest course for him personally would be to hold firm and to force a court to reduce the suspension — since Goodell suffers little or no P.R. consequence when one of his disciplinary decisions is reduced or wiped out by someone else.”