After Roger Goodell announced that he would uphold Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his involvement in Deflategate, Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn’t waste any time expressing disappointment and anger with that decision. He criticized Goodell, reaffirmed his trust in Brady and apologized to Patriots fans, saying that he – Kraft – was wrong to put his faith in the league.
Kraft and Goodell have always had a great relationship, but given everything that has happened, is it safe to say that relationship is over?
“Well, they’re not going to go to each other’s Christmas parties – for now, anyway,” Sports Business Insider Rick Horrow said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “But what Roger Goodell is doing is enforcing Article 46 and the appellate process – the letter of the law. But I will tell you I’ve never seen a case where there hasn’t been a little bit of suspension reduction based on the appeal, but that’s not automatically what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to hear the facts, and the cell phone leak – who knows? Was it purposefully destroyed? Who knows? You can speculate. But the worst part about it after the whole-day media cycle is that it’s a glorious day in the NFL otherwise. Training camps open up, all 32 teams think they’re going to the Super Bowl and now we got this again for another few months.”
Yes, and where you stand on this issue is a matter of perspective – or better yet, allegiance. If you’re a Patriots fan, odds are you side completely with Brady; if you’re a Patriots hater, odds are you side completely with the NFL.
Horrow is somewhere in the middle.
“That is a lawyer’s non-answer because there’s obviously some stuff going on, and obviously the stuff should be kept under wraps,” he said. “How the press – like Stephen A. Smith – got this steady diet of information, I don’t know. I don’t think that’s particularly right, but now we’re going to find out whether the process has been upheld to the letter of the law because the preemptive suit was filed in New York instead of Judge Doty’s court in Minnesota. Again, the tragedy here – no matter who you believe – is that this is going to be strung out in the courts for awhile, and I thought we were done with the pressure of footballs and we were going to hear about linebacker blitzes, but not so.”
In the end, Horrow believes the NFL will win its upcoming legal battle against Brady.
“If they followed the procedures – and Roger Goodell followed the procedures, whether you like the results or not – then collective bargaining was given every chance to succeed and you try to uphold it as best you can,” Horrow said. “Why? Well, Bill Polian put it well today. If every (time) collective bargaining did something that somebody didn’t like and you could go to court and overturn it, you’d never have collective bargaining. You’d never have a negotiation. That’s what the courts do when they try to uphold it. So that’s my prediction. But as a lawyer, you know I’m wrong more than I’m right.”