Judge to Issue Deflategate Ruling ‘Tomorrow or Day After’

The NFL and NFL Players Association failed to reach a settlement in the Tom Brady Deflategate case on Monday, forcing Judge Richard Berman to take the matter out of their hands. The federal judge announced his decision to issue a ruling on the case later this week.

Should Judge Berman reverse Roger Goodell’s four-game suspension of Tom Brady, flaws in evidence or process figure to factor into the decision. The Wells Report rejected testimony from the game’s referee that he used a gauge with a Wilson logo and long needle, which Wells’ scientists calibrated as clearing the Patriots of wrongdoing in eight of eleven balls. Roger Goodell presiding over the appeal of his own decision, Ted Wells invoking attorney-client privilege in refusing to answer questions at the appeal in Goodell’s office after touting his independence from the league, and an author of the “independent” Wells Report strangely cross-examining Brady at the appeal hearing might demonstrate a rigged process to Judge Berman.

On the flipside, federal judges rarely overturn punishments meted out through collective-bargaining agreements in deference to the private nature of the ventures in question. Berman may find Goodell judging the fairness of his own decisions and Wells playing “independent” investigator before admitting his interest in the case by using attorney-client privilege to shield his dealings with the defendant all terribly unfair but not in violation of the collective-bargaining agreement between the players and the owners. Should Berman decide for the NFL, he faces a separate decision on whether to allow Brady to play as the appeals process plays out.

The defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots kickoff the NFL season against the Pittsburgh Steelers in primetime on Thursday, September 10. Whether Roger Goodell or Tom Brady shows up in Foxboro remains to be seen.


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