Back in January, Tom Brady took a beating at the hands of the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game. Brady was sacked four times and hit another 17 times.
Well, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit gave Brady and the NFLPA an even bigger beat-down on Monday.
The 2-1 decision, reaffirmed the powers of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and reinstated Brady’s four game suspension for his alleged involvement with a scheme to deflate footballs before last year’s AFC Championship game.
Odds that Brady serves suspension are overwhelming. 2nd Circ. rehearing and Supreme Court review both extremely rare, statistically speaking
— Max Stendahl (@MaxLaw360) April 25, 2016
Brady could appeal to the entire 21 judge panel of the 2nd Circuit and hope they hear the case. I am not a lawyer, and do not play one on TV, but everything I have read and heard since this decision was announced was that there is very little chance that court would hear the case.
Tom Brady not ready to accept court ruling today – far from it, per sources. Mulling options with legal team. But this is not yet over.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 25, 2016
So it’s time for Brady to throw in the towel and accept the suspension even though he’s now saying — as he should — that he may fight on.
Brady contract restructure reducing salary from $9M to $1M as part of deal w/$28M bonus could save him $2M on suspension. Preparing perhaps.
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) April 25, 2016
Brady and his team must have known this was coming. Why else did he reduce his salary for this season from $9 million down to $1 million? He saves himself $2 million if he is suspended for the first four games.
It doesn’t matter if you think Brady is innocent or guilty, or whether you believe the footballs were tampered with. This decision had nothing to do with those arguments. This decision had everything to do with the commissioner’s power to be the judge, jury, and executioner courtesy of the NLPA as written into the last labor agreement between the league and the union. The Court agreed that Goodell has the right to discipline the players at his discretion.
— Jason Cole (@JasonColeBR) April 25, 2016
As much as the Patriots offensive line failed Brady against the Broncos, the NFLPA did the same to Brady and other members of the union.
Major League baseball players enjoy many of the fruits that were hard-fought for by their union. They have guaranteed contracts, and far more rights than NFL players. The reason is that their union had strong leadership in Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr and the players had the backbone to go to the wall with work stoppages that brought MLB owners to their knees.
The NLPA leadership under Gene Upshaw and Demaurice Smith was never confrontational with NFL owners and when they have had brief work stoppages in 1987 and 2011, the players always caved in as many stars of the game crossed picket lines to further weaken the union.
NFL players are gladiators on the field and wimps at the bargaining table. This is why fat cat owners are rolling in dough while the players who put their bodies — and their lives — on the line every Sunday can be cut at the drop of a hat.
While Brady and his team still have some Hail Mary legal avenues still available, he should just take his medicine and move on. Robert Kraft and the organization fumbled away any leverage they might have had a year ago when Kraft meekly accepted the NFL’s penalty.
Brady could ask Goodell for mercy and see of he can get his suspension reduced. But there are 31 other owners in the league who are looking for blood from Kraft and Belichick. Goodell would have a lot of explaining to do to those owners.
So it looks like it will be Jimmy Garappolo to start the season against Arizona, Miami, Houston, and Buffalo. Once the season starts, Brady will not be able to be at Gillette Stadium at all. No workouts, no meetings, no nothing. As great as Brady is, that will not be a great situation for a 39-year-old quarterback.
Both the NFL and Brady’s team played high stakes poker during Deflategate. Both sides were waiting for the other to flinch. It’s crazy that this has gone on this long, and Brady has been given a football death sentence for what basically is the football equivalent of a parking ticket.
No one looks good here. Not the NFL, not the NFLPA, not Robert Kraft, and certainly not the Greatest Of All Time.
That’s the real shame of Deflategate.