NFL officials did not respond last week to the NFL Players Association’s offer of a settlement deal in New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s ongoing appeal of his four-game suspension, according to a new report Thursday. One month after Brady formally appealed his suspension at a hearing in New York City, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had yet to determine the final punishment Brady would face amid allegations he knowingly allowed Patriots employees to deflate footballs used in the 2015 AFC Championship game in February.
Brady would consider paying a fine, but he was refusing to accept any punishment that would force him to miss regular-season games, ESPN reported. However, when the NFLPA approached the NFL with a settlement offer last week, the league office responded with “silence,” a source told ESPN. The exact terms of the settlement offer were not specified.
A source familiar with Brady’s case confirmed Wednesday that settlement talks have occurred but said the two sides have not gotten any closer to reaching an agreement, Pro Football Talk reported. Moreover, the source said a “small handful of influential owners” have pressured Goodell to uphold the full length of Brady’s suspension.
Goodell appointed himself as arbitrator for Brady’s case and personally oversaw his June 23 appeal hearing, despite criticism from the NFLPA and Brady’s lawyers, who questioned his ability to remain impartial. Aside from Brady’s four-game suspension, the NFL fined the Patriots an unprecedented $1 million and stripped the franchise of a 2016 first-round draft pick and a 2017 fourth-round draft pick.
The NFLPA was willing to take Brady’s case to federal court if Goodell opted to uphold the suspension, ABC News reported. Brady will make the final decision after Goodell’s ruling.
Speaking at a fundraiser in Pennsylvania this week, Goodell said there was “no timeline” in place for his final decision, ESPN reported. “We are obviously being very thorough and want to make sure we consider all aspects of his appeal,” Goodell said. “We will make a decision as quickly as possible.”