Even after burning through about $20 million of the owners’ money, taking a flamethrower to the reputation of the best quarterback of his generation, needlessly imperiling his disciplinary power, allowing himself to become a punchline and seeing Deflategate hijack NFL news for the past 16 months, the commissioner’s still got the gall to take a victory lap.
This morning on Bloomberg TV, Roger Goodell spoke about the 2-to-1 decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Goodell’s work as an arbitrator and suspend Tom Brady.
“We’re obviously pleased with the court’s decision,” Goodell said. “We think that was the right decision. They were very firm in their decision that that was within our authority and the judgments were based on solid facts. So we’re actually pleased with that, and we hope we can move on from there.”
Actually, the phrasing of the majority opinion crafted by Judge Barrington Parker did not indicate that Goodell’s “judgments were based on solid facts.” It indicated that the judges weren’t terribly interested in Goodell’s gathering of facts or his ruling on them. Only that he ran his kangaroo court in a fashion the CBA allowed him to.
“Our role is not to determine for ourselves whether Brady participated in a scheme to deflate footballs or whether the suspension imposed by the Commissioner should have been for three games or five games or none at all,” wrote Parker. "Nor is it our role to second-guess the arbitrator’s procedural rulings.”
Additionally, the fact that four Second Circuit judges have considered this case and two (Judges Richard Berman and Robert Katzmann) believed Goodell screwed it up while two (Parker and Judge Denny Chin) believe he got it right does not constitute a “firm” decision, at least when viewed as a whole.
Goodell also spoke to Bloomberg about continuing to have the right to serve as arbitrator for disciplinary issues.
“We think it’s important that the commissioner protect the integrity of the game, that you can’t entrust that to someone who has no understanding of our business, and the appellate court yesterday reaffirmed that,” Goodell said. “So we think this is an important element of our success. We obviously have changed our discipline process through the years and we will continue to do that if we think it’s in the best interests of the NFL.”
As we stated in the first paragraph, if what Deflategate wrought is in the “best interests of the NFL” Goodell is -- on top of every other adjective we’ve applied -- also delusional.