U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, who will decide whether to uphold the NFL’s four-game suspension of Tom Brady, has scheduled an Aug. 12 conference that will include both Brady and commissioner Roger Goodell, the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin tweeted. If the dispute isn’t settled then, the parties will meet again Aug. 19 for oral arguments, according to Gabe Feldman of the sports law program at Tulane University (Twitter link). Feldman tweeted that while Berman’s ruling will be subject to appeal, the process is moving extremely quickly and a decision will be made well before the season starts.
For his part, Brady filed his counterclaim Friday in the Southern District of New York, per Volin (via Twitter) – who gleaned from Brady’s lawsuit that he wanted his June 23 appeal to be done under oath (Twitter link).
Meanwhile, two owners told ESPN’s Jim Trotter that they’re unhappy with both the amount of money being spent on Brady’s case and the treatment of Brady, Trotter tweeted. The owners also told Trotter that a “molehill has been made into a mountain,” and said it never should’ve gotten to this point (Twitter link). They reiterated Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s point that lawyers are too involved in the process.
The reason the Brady case has gotten so ugly, according to Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole (video link), stems from discord between the league and the NFLPA dating back to the fight over the 2011 collective bargaining agreement – a fight the owners ultimately won. Given that outcome, NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith has to “fight tool and nail on every issue possible,” Cole said. Further, per Cole, owners are beginning to wonder if taking some power from the commissioner and switching to an independent appeal process would be better for disciplinary matters.