Tom Brady’s facing fourth-and-forever now in his fight to have his absurd Deflategate suspension overturned.
With the Second Circuit’s decision to refuse an en banc hearing of Brady’s appeal (of the NFL’s successful appeal that trumped Brady’s successful appeal, which came after his unsuccessful appeal to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell), Brady and his NFLPA legal team can now craft an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ask yourself this: If the Second Circuit wasn’t willing to rehear this case, in which an arbitrator changed the rules during an appeal hearing in a case in which he meted out his own brand of industrial justice, why would SCOTUS think it’s relevant for them to intercede? All the amicus briefs, opinions and effort expended to point out -- rightly -- that Goodell and the NFL ran a bag-job investigation and a dog-and-pony show appeal hearing had no impact. The main reason? The NFL and the NFLPA collectively bargained to give Goodell the right to be the emperor, henchman and hanging judge. Not a lot of industries do that, so why should SCOTUS spend it’s time on that?
My man Michael McCann from SI.com does point out that Brady can ask for a stay of his suspension while the appeal to SCOTUS unfolds. It will be up to them to decide whether a) Brady has a good chance of winning the appeal there (or even having it heard) or b) Brady suffering irreparable harm if the suspension is carried out and his case is ultimately heard and the decision is again vacated.
The first is very unlikely. The second? What do you think?
The only other way Brady will avoid missing all of September’s games would be to throw himself on the mercy of the NFL and ask to cut a deal. Fat f****** chance. Brady and the NFLPA haven’t carried it to this point to bend a knee and ask for benevolence. And the NFL isn’t going to feel much sympathy for the union, Brady, the Patriots or the New England fanbase after being treated like a piñata and having its ethics and competency questioned for the past 18 months.
So the NFL and Goodell will take their victory lap over the next few days while Brady and the NFLPA try to figure a way out of, or around, this.
There will be plenty of awkward high-fiving on Park Avenue or at whatever vacation location the NFL suits are staying at currently. Helluva win for them. They suspended the best quarterback of this or maybe any generation for a quarter of a season and are on the verge of having that stand up.
Brady will miss his first games since 2008 when his knee was destroyed. The NFL -- not just Goodell but Troy Vincent, Mike Kensil, Jeff Pash, Ted Wells, the Colts, Ravens, and the cabal of vindictive owners who wanted the Patriots brought to heel -- will get its pound of flesh and the scar will be visible on Brady’s legacy.