Falling flat: NFL looks foolish in Brady case

09/04/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak

Not guilty. Well actually, that's not really the case. What is the case though is that Tom Brady's 4 game suspension that was levied against him by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been overturned.
Now Tom Brady's involvement with Deflate Gate hasn't been confirmed or denied. But what has been confirmed is that both the Wells Report and Goodell's decision to uphold the full 4 game suspension even after Brady's appeal, were unfair. Because Brady wasn't given notice that he could be suspended for failing to cooperate with the NFL's investigation, because according to the NFL's rules, the result of first offenses will be fines. And since this was Brady's first offense, and since he wasn't notified that he could be suspended, the suspension given by the NFL and upheld by Goodell after arbitration lacked fairness.
So the punishment wasn't overruled because Tom Brady had no knowledge of Deflate Gate. It wasn't that Brady was proven innocent. It was overruled because Roger Goodell overstepped his boundaries as commissioner. Or in this case, as judge, jury, and executioner. Had Goodell stepped down from overseeing Brady's appeal, maybe the punishment would've been upheld? Or at least, forced the NFLPA to negotiate a middle ground, which would've been a 2 game suspension. Instead, Goodell tried to enforce a "rule" that allows him to punish players as he sees fit when it comes to conduct detrimental to the NFL. But the NFLPA, then Judge Richard Berman, decided that Goodell's powers are not absolute and they do indeed have limits.

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So even though Brady may have been aware that employees of the New England Patriots did indeed deflate the footballs before the AFC Championship, he is absolved of all punishment. Because Roger Goodell assuming he was the czar of the NFL was incorrect. Because the commissioner over stepped his boundaries, the NFLPA wins again over the league. Which makes Goodell's power and the power of the NFL look limited in cases when the players union challenges the league's authority.
The NFL does have the option of appealing Judge Berman's ruling. But even if they do so, Brady will still play the season. And again in a major case regarding the NFL disciplining a player (Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, and now Tom Brady), the NFLPA has trumped the league.
It's been said for the last few years that maybe the discipline power that Goodell has needs to be reviewed and the process needs to be changed. Considering that Ray Rice knocked a woman out on camera, Greg Hardy was actually convicted of domestic battery, and Tom Brady's innocence was never proven, maybe it's time that Goodell's power and the NFL's disciplinary process is indeed, changed.

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