|Photo courtesy of AP/Ghanbari|
The NFL argues that Brady wants is for Goodell to have interpreted the CBA differently, but the court’s review is extremely deferential to the arbitrator (here, Goodell) and is one of the “narrowest known to law” (a quote from a Supreme Court case). This is an excellent use of helpful language from binding authority. And the NFL makes good public policy arguments: arbitration provisions exist to minimize in-court legal disputes, and the CBA’s appeals process “accords with Congress’s desire for parties to settle their labor disputes privately through final and binding arbitration.”
The NFL continues by touting the thoroughness of the Wells investigation and report and of
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Brady argues that he was improperly disciplined without notice under somewhat obscure policies governing player equipment and competitive integrity. But the NFL counters that Brady was actually disciplined under the extraordinarily broad provision in the CBA permitting the NFL to discipline players for “conduct detrimental” to the League. Rather than delve into details of the many NFL policies that govern player conduct, the NFL cursorily dismisses each of Brady’s notice arguments with the conclusion that the discipline occurred under the broad “conduct detrimental” rule.
This argument (or lack thereof) may come back to bite the NFL. According to the Wells report itself, the Well investigation was conducted pursuant to the competitive integrity policy. If Brady’s argument that the competitive integrity policy does not apply to players is correct, the NFL may be in trouble.
The Deflategate saga continues. Oral argument is scheduled for August 19, though the judge has strongly encouraged the parties to settle the case, and settlement talks are ongoing. Given the speed with which the judge has acted, I think it likely that a written opinion will come down quickly.