A decision on Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension is expected to be made by Judge Richard Berman some time this week.
Berman ended the most recent hearing on Monday after just four minutes upon learning the NFL and Brady couldn’t come to an agreement on a settlement.
He is expected to make a decision to either uphold Brady’s four-game suspension or completely abolish it.
It’s widely expected that the loser will file for an appeal, which would lead to several more months of hearings.
However, the whole case could have been settled if the NFL had been willing to change its stance.
According to a report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Brady was willing to accept a one-game suspension for failure to cooperate as part of a settlement.
The talks never got that far because of the NFL’s insistence that Brady admit some wrongdoing, which Brady wouldn’t do.
Rapoport reports that the NFL was willing to move down to a two-game suspension if Brady had been willing to admit some wrongdoing. Brady reportedly insists publicly and privately that he had nothing to do with the situation.
While this is a failure of both sides to get out of their own way and put the whole matter to rest, it falls more on the NFL’s need for vindication. If Brady was willing to accept a one- or two-game suspension, the NFL should have jumped on it and accepted the idea that Brady would still be receiving a punishment one way or the other.
Conversely, there’s more at stake for Brady to admit he did something wrong.
If he truly wasn’t involved in the deflation of the footballs – something only he and the two Patriots employees could ever really know – it doesn’t make sense for him to admit some wrongdoing. If he was involved and admitted it, he would still take a greater PR hit than the NFL would by just reducing the suspension.
There’s a good chance Brady will be playing at the start of the season, however.
According to Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, if Berman rules in Brady’s favor, the NFL can file an appeal, but the appeals would take many more months, meaning Brady would play until the decision is overturned. If Berman rules in the NFL’s favor, Brady can file for an injunction. If he gets it, it would allow him to play until his hearing takes place.