Judge Orders Tom Brady, Roger Goodell to Court on Aug. 31

Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Lindley
The Associated Press

In a Wednesday hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman ordered NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to return to his courtroom on August 31.

Goodell and Brady, who participated in a joint practice with the New Orleans Saints in West Virginia, did not attend Wednesday’s hearing.

The two-hour-and-fifteen-minute hearing reportedly did not go well for the NFL. The judge wondered why the NFL refused to allow Brady’s lawyers to question NFL counsel Jeff Pash at the appeal hearing in the commissioner’s office in June and said he found “that the ‘general awareness’ doesn’t relate to the Jan. 18 game” in regard to the NFL’s stated rules clashing with a punishment for mere knowledge of malfeasance.

By forcing the parties back into court, and in calling a settlement “a logical and rational option,” Berman clearly seeks to induce a settlement. But despite Brady showing willingness to accept a lesser suspension over noncooperation but not deflating footballs, the NFL appears unwilling to budge.

The New England Patriots open the NFL season at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 10. Whether Brady plays, or Judge Berman upholds his four-game Deflategate suspension, may remain uncertain until the week prior to the game.