Judge Richard Berman Gronk-spiked his decision upon the NFL shield on Thursday.
“The Court notes that the Paul, Weiss role in this case seems to have ‘changed’ from ‘independent’ investigators to NFL ‘s retained counsel at the arbitral hearing,” Judge Richard Berman observed. “Among other things, this change in roles may have afforded Goodell (and Pash) greater access to valuable impressions, insights, and other investigative information which was not available to Brady.”
Judge Berman ruled that the NFL made up the rules as it went along and engaged in extreme secrecy—ironically the very charge leveled at the Patriots quarterback by Commissioner Roger Goodell—in the process surrounding the Deflategate suspension of Tom Brady. But the judge’s ridicule of the supposed independence of the Wells investigation represents Berman’s endzone dance after calling the NFL a loser on every point.
Judge Richard Berman renamed the Wells Report the Wells-Pash report, adding the name of the NFL’s general counsel to the investigation’s name. The federal judge mocked the league’s notion of an “independent” investigation by using quotation marks and “supposedly” whenever the i-word appeared. He marvels at the “independent” investigator Ted Wells invoking attorney-client privilege when asked about his communication with the NFL at Brady’s appeal in the league office. Berman puzzled over why Wells allowed NFL general counsel Jeff Pash to edit his report.
“Denied the opportunity to examine Pash at the arbitral hearing,” Berman observes, “Brady was prejudiced. He was foreclosed from exploring, among other things, whether the Pash-Wells Investigation was truly ‘independent,’ and how and why the NFL’s General Counsel came to edit a supposedly independent investigation report.”
From the league never correcting its erroneous initial leaks saying all Patriot balls fell two pounds or more below the limit (none did) to Ted Wells bizarrely rejecting the AFC Championship Game’s referee’s testimony that he used a particular Wilson logo gauge (that Wells’ scientific consultants agreed would have cleared eight of the eleven balls), the NFL repeatedly showed itself as aggressively partisan in this process.
“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts,” Francis Bacon wrote. “But if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”
The NFL began the investigation certain of its conclusion. That’s why Richard Berman isn’t the only guy today doubting the NFL.