“As soon as the parties got in front of Berman, he chided the NFL, asking, “What is evidence of scheme or conspiracy that covers the January 18 game? I’m having trouble with that.” There never was any…

…That led to the very expensive, long and incomplete report from Wells, which didn’t have any evidence of Brady’s role in whatever happened, but the NFL used it to suspend Brady four games…The NFL’s entire process didn’t stand up to much scrutiny. The investigation was never independent, which became clearer as the process went along. The NFL never did anything to correct false information leaked to the media, information that Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he believes came from the NFL itself, which might have showed its mind was made up from the beginning. The lack of real evidence in the report was somewhat stunning, based on Wells’ assertions and the NFL’s punishment. And Goodell upholding an appeal that basically amounted to his own verdict really looked bad after Berman ruled against the NFL.”, Yahoo Sports, September 3, 2015

“Sounds a lot like the government’s allegations against individuals and financial institutions re. the financial crisis. I am a lifelong Raider fan, but we are all Patriots today! Thank God for The Rule of Law over the tyranny of the Rule by Men/Women.”,  Mike Perry, former Chairman and CEO, IndyMac Bank

Yahoo Sports

Judge rules for Tom Brady, overturns four-game deflate-gate suspension; Goodell to appeal

By Frank Schwab

This was the NFL’s nightmare.

After more than seven months, several millions of dollars and big talking from the league and commissioner Roger Goodell in the deflate-gate controversy, the first time someone independent looked at the case against Tom Brady it was thrown out.

Judge Richard M. Berman ruled that Brady’s four-game suspension by the NFL will be vacated, a decision Goodell plans on appealling.

Brady maintained his innocence even while the NFL tried to make its most popular player a scapegoat in a scandal the league let grow to outrageous proportions, but from the moment investigator Ted Wells’ report came out it was clear that there was no evidence against Brady. The NFL, for whatever reason, didn’t want to admit that and kept trying to turn Brady into a villain. An independent judge saw it for what it was worth.

And with that, Brady will play. The reigning Super Bowl MVP will be on the field for the season opener on Sept. 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Officially speaking, Brady is off the hook for whatever happened when the Patriots’ footballs were found to be under-inflated during the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. That’s great news for the Patriots. And — if you need one sentence to sum up how badly the league botched this entire thing — the fact that Brady will not miss any games is a horrible look for the league.

Judge Richard M. Berman enters federal court in New York in August. (AP)

Judge Richard M. Berman enters federal court in New York in August. (AP)

The NFL under Goodell has been criticized for becoming quite a mess, especially when it comes to player discipline, and deflate-gate sums that up. As soon as the parties got in front of Berman, he chided the NFL, asking, “What is evidence of scheme or conspiracy that covers the January 18 game? I’m having trouble with that.” There never was any.

In a statement, Goodell “respectfully” disagreed with Berman’s ruling, saying, “We will appeal today’s ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game. The commissioner’s responsibility to secure the competitive fairness of our game is a paramount principle, and the league and our 32 clubs will continue to pursue a path to that end. While the legal phase of this process continues, we look forward to focusing on football and the opening of the regular season.”

The NFL’s entire process didn’t stand up to much scrutiny. The investigation was never independent, which became clearer as the process went along. The NFL never did anything to correct false information leaked to the media, information that Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he believes came from the NFL itself, which might have showed its mind was made up from the beginning. The lack of real evidence in the report was somewhat stunning, based on Wells’ assertions and the NFL’s punishment. And Goodell upholding an appeal that basically amounted to his own verdict really looked bad after Berman ruled against the NFL.

Where does the NFL even go from here? Although it is said that Goodell has “universal” support among owners, some owners have to wonder how this entire debacle was allowed to happen. Its biggest star twisted in the wind all offseason, only to have a court tell everyone he was right all along. Goodell wants desperately to hold onto absolute power over the players, but in very high-profile cases involving deflate-gate, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice and the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal, he has been publicly overturned. The NFL doesn’t seem to be too adept at the punishment business. Perhaps it’s time for the league to re-think the process because nobody would say this is working too well

The whole issue began more than seven months ago, in the AFC championship game between the Patriots and Colts. The officials were tipped off by the Colts that the Patriots’ footballs seemed under-inflated. The balls were checked at halftime and they were found to be below the minimum allowed under NFL rules, which is 12.5 psi.

That led to the very expensive, long and incomplete report from Wells, which didn’t have any evidence of Brady’s role in whatever happened, but the NFL used it to suspend Brady four games. The initial punishment had NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent’s name on it, which led to Goodell ruling on Brady’s appeal. With a long report, Goodell upheld the suspension. That led to both sides filing in federal court. The NFL asked the court in New York to confirm its decision and the NFLPA wanted it vacated.

Berman wanted the sides to settle but that didn’t happen, and it doesn’t sound like it was ever close. According to the New York Daily News’ Gary Myers, the NFL never offered a settlement deal but indicated it would cut Brady’s suspension to three games if he admitted guilt, which means the NFL was never serious about settling. Maybe it should have been.

Once there was no settlement, it was widely expected that whichever side lost would appeal, dragging out the controversy even further.

Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

Posted on September 3, 2015, in Postings. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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