Elsa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Seven months after the first word of “Deflategate,” the outcome still remains in doubt.
In court on Wednesday without Tom Brady present, Judge Richard Berman opened with a joke about sketches after Brady’s depiction by court artist Jane Rosenberg was made fun of online.
The judge proceeded, saying his current plan is to rule by Sept. 4, but again urged a settlement, noting “there are enough strengths and weaknesses on both sides.”
Berman hit the NFL repeatedly with questions of fairness. He wondered whether investigators were specific enough in their conclusions. He asked why the union was denied access to certain documents and witnesses, and why tampering with footballs was compared to steroid use. “How is that equal to steroid use?”
The judge must decide whether all of that was so egregious that he should intervene in the affairs of a private enterprise. NFL attorney Dan Nash said “The commissioner’s judgments are final and binding” and he dismissed the union’s arguments as the gripes of a “disappointed grievant.”
National Football League Players Association lawyer Jeff Kessler, gestured with his hands and almost danced behind the podium to make his points, as he argued Brady’s suspension “fails the test” of fairness because Goodell exceeded his authority as arbitrator and the league failed to notify Brady that he could be disciplined for being “generally aware” AFC championship game balls would be tampered with.
The union also argued ball tampering “has never been a serious issue for this league.”
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