Judge Orders NFL and Tom Brady Into ‘Good Faith Settlement Efforts’

Tom Brady and Roger Goodell AP

The judge overseeing the lawsuit brought against the NFL by its players’ union on behalf of Tom Brady today again ordered the two parties to settle their differences.

“In anticipation of tomorrow’s conference,” Judge Richard Berman wrote the litigants, “counsel and the parties are requested to engage in further good faith settlement efforts today. I will meet briefly with counsel and parties tomorrow morning at 10:30 (in the robing room) for an update on your discussions.”

The judge, in effect, tells the NFL and its players’ union not to make a federal case out of it. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady four games for his role in a ball-deflation scheme investigator Ted Wells dubbed “more probable than not” in his controversial report.

The process, more so than the facts revealed by it, figures to factor into any judicial decision. While Wells admits to not knowing the specific pre-game measurements for the balls and chose to disbelieve the AFC Championship Game referee’s testimony of the gauge—one that would have cleared the Patriots of wrongdoing—with which he measured balls, such facts may ultimately yield in importance to procedural matters, such as Roger Goodell hearing an appeal of his own decision or Ted Wells citing attorney-client privilege to block information from reaching Brady’s lawyers.