Now that Tom Brady’s four-game suspension has been upheld, the ensuing legal battle will become front and center, starting with a potential injunction.
What does Brady’s camp have to prove to get an injunction and postpone the suspension?
“Well, first and foremost, the NFL did a really interesting job of filing for declaratory judgement of the upholding of the suspension,” sports attorney Exavier Pope said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “That was the big part. The NFL decided to pre-empt Tom Brady in even seeking an injunction by going to New York court instead of having to have Tom Brady go all the way to Minnesota, which is pro-labor. The NFL did not want to play on that particular field, so that was a big deal for the NFL.
“But here’s the question I’m interested in,” Pope continued. “Why didn’t Tom Brady and his camp (respond differently)? They threatened to basically file an injunction before this ruling took place to remove Roger Goodell as the arbitrator, saying that he was not neutral. And so, they could have preempted the preemption, so to speak.”
They did not. The NFL, in turn, filed a lawsuit in a New York federal court to confirm the arbitration decision. By filing in New York, the NFL will have home-field advantage, so to speak.
“That’s why the NFL decides to go ahead and go first and file the declaratory judgment,” Pope said. “Say Tom Brady and his camp file for an injunction. That particular court can say ‘Hey, listen, this is where the controversy is taking place – in this court over here – so I’m going to make sure that I move this case over to where it’s initially being heard.’ That’s the purpose of a declaratory judgement. You are anticipating for someone to sue you, and you want to make sure . . . it’s heard right where you want it to be. So that’s what we’re looking at right now.”
When the decision comes on the injunction is anyone’s guess, but there may have been some gamesmanship by the NFL in taking so long to consider Brady’s appeal. The Patriots open the season at home against the Steelers on Sept. 10.
That’s six weeks from Thursday.
“This could take awhile,” Pope said. “You have to have the witnesses, you have to have all the different evidence that’s presented before the particular judge – this could take awhile to get resolved. Obviously the NFL wants this answer sooner rather than later to make sure that Tom Brady is not playing, and Tom Brady is now in a situation where he has to fight quicker now. He wanted to have the injunction so he could play and play and play, maybe push the ball down the road a little bit so he could have the season go in the Patriots’ favor. But this may take a little while – (and) I think this is in the hands of the NFL now that the suspension has been upheld.”