After eight months, leaked documents, questionable reports, and an endless public relations war, the saga known as “Deflategate” between New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the NFL is expected to end this week.
Brady and commissioner Roger Goodell failed to reach a settlement in their latest meeting before U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman on Monday. The court session lasted roughly 20 minutes.
Judge Berman first met the two sides on Aug. 12 and asked they try to reach a settlement rather than have his decision end the drawn-out controversy for underinflated balls in last season’s AFC Championship.
However, between the court sessions no settlement was reached and Berman is now expected to rule as early as Tuesday but no later than Friday.
"I have no qualms with everyone’s willingness to make it happen," Berman told the packed New York court room about the failure to find some middle ground. "In some cases, it doesn’t happen."
Berman even went so far as to ask New York Giants co-owner John Mara, as well as NFL Players association executive, friend to Brady and former kicker Jay Feely to try and bring the sides together, but to no avail.
When Berman first met each side in court, he bounced back and forth between which case was stronger and has yet to reveal his hand.
"It won't be today, but hopefully tomorrow or the day after," Berman told reporters about his pending decision.
In some respects, the case has boiled down to a form of "the blame game." The NFL reportedly wants Brady to admit some involvement in the scandal, however, the four-time Super Bowl-winner has refused and staunchly maintained his innocence.
Berman’s decision could also hurt Goodell’s power in disciplinary matters. He isn’t being asked to simply lift Brady’s four-game suspension to start the upcoming season, but rather rule on whether or not Goodell should have acted as the arbitrator when Brady appealed the league’s initial suspension in July.
Goodell said in a statement that he upheld the suspension because he believed Brady’s refusal to surrender his cell phone, and its subsequent destruction, constituted a failure to cooperate with the league’s investigation.
As per the collective bargaining agreement between the players union and the league, Goodell had the right to act as the arbiter in the case and as the New York Times explained, the league hopes to “validate” Goodell’s power to discipline players for “damaging the integrity of the game.”