NEW YORK-- If it's Wednesday, it must be time for Judge Richard Berman to use Daniel Nash as his personal pinata.
At today's oral arguments in Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension by commissioner Roger Goodell, Berman battered the NFL Management Council attorney with questions related to the league's decision to suspend Brady for four games. Primary in Berman's cross-hairs was the suspension itself, and Goodell equating it to steroid use.
"I have a little trouble with [Goodell deciding on four games]," said Berman.
In explaining Brady's four-game ban, Goodell compared the ball deflation and failure to cooperate to PED use and the use of a masking agent.
"How are deflating footballs and not cooperating with the commissioner legally comparable to STEROID USE and a masking agent?" asked Berman.
Three different times, Berman derisively asked how ball deflation equates to STEROID USE.
"It's clearly a fair question to pose," said Berman. "[Goodell's] explanation of steroid use only raises more questions than it answers."
Berman also interrogated Nash on which portion of the suspension was for ball deflation and which was for failure to cooperate.
"It isn't broken down that way," said Nash, adding: "There are people in the NFL who believe it should be four games for ball deflation and four for not cooperating."
Berman then asked, "So the next time someone tampers with a ball but cooperates, what would he get?"
Nash, after a roundabout explanation, finally settled on: "The amount of discipline would be based on the sound judgment of the commissioner."