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Why would Judge Berman go over Goodell’s head?

The news last night that Giants co-owner John Mara declined to get involved in the Tom Brady settlement discussions arises from a potentially intriguing reality. With the request for Mara’s involvement coming from the court, why would Judge Richard M. Berman be going over Commissioner Roger Goodell’s head?

On one hand, the explanation could be that Judge Berman has become exasperated with the NFL’s stubbornness regarding settlement. Earlier this week, the league was still insisting on the NFL Players Association and Brady agreeing to accept the major findings of the Ted Wells report and acknowledging the powers used in this case before even commencing a discussion regarding a reduced suspension.

On the other hand, Judge Berman may sense that Goodell believes the best way to manage his 32 constituents is to hold firm, so that none of the hard liners can blame him for wavering on an important matter of management’s power over the work force. If that’s the case, it makes sense to get Goodell’s constituents involved.

The NFL Management Council Executive Committee was directly involved in the negotiations that culminated in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which makes the request to involve Mara seem reasonable. Also involved was Packers CEO Mark Murphy, who on Thursday advocated settlement.

“It is not good having it play out in court, and you got the Super Bowl MVP suing the league,” Murphy said, via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal. (Actually, the league sued first, and in avoiding Judge Doty’s Minnesota frying pan may have landed in Judge Berman’s Manhattan fire.) “But the judge, my sense is, is pushing to a settlement. That seems to be a priority. It would be good.”

It would be more likely to happen if owners were involved. Judge Berman seems to realize that. And since the specific title of the case is National Football League Management Council v. National Football League Players Association, why doesn’t Judge Berman simply require the entire Management Council Executive Committee to come to court on August 31?