The session in Judge Berman’s courtroom today in New York – which included Tom Brady, Roger Goodell, and reps from the NFL and NFLPA – has now concluded, and union executive director DeMaurice Smith didn’t have much to say as he left for the day, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
“We won’t be making a formal statement other than to say we had a productive day in court,” Smith said. “We’ll get back to work on the issue.”
Part of today’s hearing was open to the public, and NFL Media legal analyst Gabe Feldman, who was in attendance, suggests Judge Berman’s goal was to ask questions that created some fear on both sides that they could lose the case (link via NFL.com).
“I think that it was a big part of the purpose of this morning was for the judge to poke holes in both sides,” Feldman said. “To say, I have some serious questions about both of your cases and I could rule against each of you based on the questions I have. So rather than risk losing it all, rather than risk a worst-case scenario, why not move a little bit in toward something of a settlement rather than face my decision.”
Here’s more on the hearing:
- Judge Berman grilled the NFL extensively about its reliance on Ted Wells’ report and the lack of a “smoking gun” implicating Brady in any football deflation, writes Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today. While Berman’s line of questioning to the league may have been more aggressive and pointed than his questions to the NFLPA, he made it clear that he had yet to determine which side would prevail in litigation.
- It may time for Brady to consider making a deal that would reduce – but not eliminate – his suspension, suggests Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com, observing that “Judge Berman wants a settlement and he’s going to smash these sides together to make one.”
- A settlement still seems unlikely, says ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss in his recap of the public portion of today’s meeting. Meanwhile, UNH law professor Michael McCann believes that the NFL has to be concerned about setting a troublesome precedent if it reaches a settlement with Brady and concedes too much (link via CSNNE.com).
- In the opinion of WEEI’s Mike Petraglia, Wells’ report – and the NFL’s reliance on it – will be the undoing of the league’s case against Brady.