U.S. District Judge Richard Berman did not decide, as some expected, Tuesday on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his alleged role in a supposed scheme to intentionally deflate footballs. So the “Deflategate” saga continues -- at least for another day since Berman said he anticipates making a ruling by the end of the week.
The decision was left to Berman after months of wrangling between the NFL and Brady. Berman has three possible options: affirm the NFL’s suspension, vacate the suspension or send the case back to be heard by a neutral arbitrator. The judge was asked to rule whether the arbitration process, which had been headed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, was permissible under the collective bargaining agreement binding the NFL and the players.
Judge Berman just announced no decision today in Brady case. "The Court anticipates issuing its Decision and Order by the end of the week."
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) September 1, 2015
Berman pushed for the two sides to reach a settlement, but neither the NFL nor Brady budged enough to reach a deal. "I have no qualms with everyone’s willingness to make it happen," the judge said in a New York City courtroom Monday about the unsuccessful settlement talks. "In some cases, it doesn’t happen."
Brady reportedly had been open to accepting a lesser suspension, but apparently the NFL wanted him to admit some involvement in the alleged plot, a stipulation to which he would not agree. The court decision by the end of this week will not decide guilt or innocence, but rather whether Goodell had the authority to act as arbitrator. Brady appealed the league's suspension in July.
The Patriots won the Super Bowl last season after beating the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game. New England's Thursday night game against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10 is the opening game for the NFL's regular season.