The word on the street – and by “street,” we mean “social media” – is that Tom Brady gained favor from U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman on Wednesday, to the point where Brady’s four-game suspension could eventually be nullified.
“It seems as if last week we heard a lot of really strong language from Judge Richard Berman really hitting hard at the NFL in relation to the notice requirement for Tom Brady knowing whether he would be suspended for his involvement and also the specific evidence that linked Tom Brady to Deflategate,” legal analyst Exavier Pope said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “This time around, we saw more of a procedural act of where Judge Berman is going to go, particularly on him saying he’s non-committal on whether he was going to return with a ruling on Sept. 4, which both side mutually agreed upon getting from Judge Berman. I really believe that both sides are going to be digging in their heels. I think that the NFLPA – it sounded good for Tom Brady, but I’m starting to change my mind about this a little bit.”
Berman ordered Brady and commissioner Roger Goodell to appear in court Aug. 31 if no settlement is reached regarding Brady’s Deflategate suspension. If Berman does not reach a decision by Sept. 4, Brady would almost assuredly have to begin his suspension, pending further legal action, as NFL teams must reduce their rosters to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Sept. 5.
“What I’m really focused in on is what is Judge Berman going to do if the parties don’t come back with a settlement next week?” Pope asked. “Judge Berman has been threatening all along and saying, hey, typically in my court room, matters are settled. They don’t go to trial. They take a long time to get wrapped up. So this benefits the National Football League. If Judge Berman wants to call the bluff of the National Football League and he wants to call the bluff of Tom Brady and really doesn’t believe that any settlement is serious or materializing, Tom Brady’s suspensions starts Sept. 5. You’re not going to be playing. You’re going to be sitting.”
But what about an injunction? What is the likelihood of Brady being granted an injunction if a ruling is not delivered in a timely fashion for Week 1?
According to Pope, that scenario wouldn’t be a Hail Mary, but it wouldn’t be an extra point, either.
“I think that’s a possibility, but that’s up in the air,” he said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty that surrounds that. We’ve seen a lot of evidence in this case. Judge Berman himself said that there were strengths and weaknesses (for both sides). We’re thinking we’re seeing (that) Tom Brady looks a little better on the substantive side, but I do believe on the procedural side he’s still behind the 8-ball and there’s still a lot of uncertainty as to where this case is going to go.”