The NFL Players Association announced Wednesday that it would file a lawsuit in federal court in Minnesota challenging the four-game suspension commissioner Roger Goodell gave Tom Brady.

The NFL Players Association announced Wednesday that it would file a lawsuit in federal court in Minnesota challenging the four-game suspension commissioner Roger Goodell gave Tom Brady.

The NFL, meanwhile, attempted to beat the union to the punch — and keep the case out of labor-friendly Minnesota — filing its own suit in New York Federal Court asking for the suspension to be upheld.

The NFLPA released a statement after Tuesday’s confirmation of the suspension that read in part:

The fact that the NFL would resort to basing a suspension on a smoke screen of irrelevant text messages instead of admitting that they have all of the phone records they asked for is a new low, even for them, but it does nothing to correct their errors.

The NFLPA will appeal this outrageous decision on behalf of Tom Brady.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Judy Battista

Judy Battista

NFL.com’s Judy Battista joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the potential settlement between the NFL and NFLPA along with Tom Brady‘s chances going forward. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Battista wrote in her most recent article that there had been settlement talks between the NFL and NFLPA to try to avoid going to court, but whether they got close to reaching an agreement is another story.

“I don’t know if I would call it a near settlement,” she said. “I don’t know if it got near to ever being accepted but sort of the conversation was perhaps a one-game suspension and then maybe a three or four-game fine, three or four-game check fine, but one of the requests from the union side was that the record be sealed of the appeal and that was interpreted by people who were privy to the conversations as the Brady representatives being concerned about the appearance of the cellphone, the destroyed cellphone.”

Reports came out Tuesday that Brady had destroyed his cellphone prior to talking with Ted Wells, though the quarterback defended his actions Wednesday morning on Facebook. Regardless of the reasoning, Battista said the league certainly will bring the issue up in federal court.

“The union is going to argue about the procedure and that it was flawed and that there’s no precedence for it,” she said. “Obviously the league is going to raise the issue of they don’t believe that the Patriots and Brady cooperated fully with the investigation … because he destroyed a piece of evidence that they has asked for, so there’s no question it’s going to come up. I don’t pretend to get into the mind of a federal judge and how they would look upon that, but that’s something that inevitably is going to come up.”

Battista also stressed that while there is no smoking gun right now pointing to Brady, the NFL doesn’t need one, though the cellphone doesn’t help.

“That’s not the standard of proof that they need, and that’s in the bylaws,” she said. “There’s no smoking gun. There is not going to be a smoking gun ever. It’s just things sort of point to him somehow knowing what was going on, what the two guys were doing to the football and certainly destroying the cellphone looks bad. If nothing else, it just is a bad look.”

One way Brady and the Patriots could go is filing for an injunction, but Battista said that could be relatively risky considering what goes into getting an injunction and how little control the team would have over it.

“The key to an injunction, I’m told by people who know a lot more about this than I ever do, is that you have to prove that you have a pretty good chance of winning the case in court,” she said. “The high bar that they have to reach to get the injunction, I’m not sure, if you’re a Patriots fan, that you necessarily want him to get the injunction, here’s why. You lose control of the calendar a little bit. Now his lawyers will either try to speed this up and get it settled all before the season, or they will try to slow play it and let it extend into the offseason. That’s not entirely in their control though, and so if they don’t have control of the calendar, they run the risk that this whole thing comes up in the middle of the season.

“If the rule goes against him, and any of that suspension is upheld, he would have to serve it whenever that would be and that could conceivably be in the middle of January, which is obviously much worse than serving it in September, from a Patriots perspective. So this is a tricky decision that they have. If they’re going to get the injunction that allows them to play in September, they’ve got to be really, really sure that this is not going to get into court and be settled at some point during the season.”

The NFL has already filed Brady’s case in the New York courts, but the NFLPA doesn’t necessarily want it there. Battista said that while New York is generally more favorable to the league, a place like Minnesota with judge David Doty, who often rules favor of the union, is preferable for Brady.

“It’s all legal maneuvering, which court is this going to be in, and this is just the beginning, because you still don’t know the most important question is, is he going to try to get an injunction to play those first four games,” she said. “Will he be successful getting an injunction, and frankly, if you’re a Patriots fan, do you even want him to get an injunction or do you just want him to serve the four games now so that you don’t run the risk that he has to serve them in December or January.”

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

FOXBORO — To Matthew Slater, blood runs thicker than water, and in the case of Deflategate and Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback is family.

Matthew Slater speaks to reports Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Matthew Slater speaks to reports Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — To Matthew Slater, blood runs thicker than water, and in the case of Deflategate and Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback is family.

On Wednesday, the special teams captain made it clear how much he supports the signal-caller he’s known since he was drafted out of UCLA in 2008.

“I think it’s safe to say that Tom is the heartbeat of this team,” Slater said. “He’s been here longer than any player. He set the standard. He’s earned everything he’s accomplished in this league. You respect the way he approaches his craft. With that, you have 89 other guys that try to do the same thing and really try to buy into what we’re doing here. We realize that we have to work hard in order for us to have success. Nobody is going to give us anything. Nobody cares what we did last year. It’s all about taking it year to year and I think Tom is a great example of that.

“All of us in here are part of a family. We come from a family and the guys in this locker room, we feel as those we’re family in there. Good or bad, things happen in life and you stick with your family, no matter what the outcome. I think that’s the way we’re going to approach it.”

Slater also threw his complete support behind the comments from team owner Robert Kraft and appreciated the owner speaking up hours earlier, taking some of the heat off players and coaches.

“Look, Mr. Kraft is the captain of this ship,” Slater said. “He’s the captain of this organization so he speaks for all of us when he speaks. I think he said everything that needed to be said.

“In the meantime, we’re just going to focus on playing football. We’re going to focus on improving ourselves through training camp and take it one day at a time.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price explain why Patriots owner Robert Kraft came out on the offensive Wednesday and hit back at the NFL for upholding Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension.
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Blog Author: 
WEEI

With commissioner Roger Goodell upholding Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension on Tuesday, he isn’t exactly a fan-favorite among Patriots fans throughout New England.

According to the Portland Press Herald, Scarborough, Maine police are keeping an eye on the Prout’€™s Neck property of Goodell’s. He’s believed to own a $6.5 million house on Bohemia Way.

“[The NFL] did reach out and let us know about the decision and that it might not be popular,’€ Scarborough Police Chief Robbie Moulton told the paper.

“We’€™re aware of the situation and will be patrolling the area certainly,” he added.

The police chief said there haven’t been any problems or threats since the ruling came down and were not planning anything in terms of protection. The report did not say whether or not Goodell was on the property.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light made a living protecting Tom Brady from taking hits for years.

Former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light made a living protecting Tom Brady from taking hits for years. He’s still defending his old teammate, but now he’s the one doling out the shots, not receiving them.

Light called in to Middays with MFB on Wednesday to talk about the latest twists of the Deflategate story, still firmly entrenched in the pro-Patriots camp. To listen to the interview, go the the MFB audio on demand page.

Much of Light’s criticism of the ruling was rooted in dissatisfaction with commissioner Roger Goodell’s abilities to lead the NFL.

“He’s like a 2-year-old,” Light said. “He can’t admit any wrong. He can’t make something right by admitting that he’s done something, and unfortunately we’re talking about this again and again because of poor leadership.”

Ultimately, Light views the entire Deflategate ordeal as an unjust inquiry and investigation, bent on reaching a certain verdict rather than finding truth. Consequently, Light thinks there should be another person at the helm of the country’s most powerful sports league.

“Are the NFL’s intentions really to get to the bottom of this and make this a fair trial, so to speak? No. I think we’re way past that,” Light said. “There’s no trust between the NFL and the Patriots, the NFL and Tom Brady. I think that really, at the end of the day, we need to be talking about getting somebody in that can uphold the integrity of the NFL a lot better than Roger Goodell.”

Light was adamant that the four-game suspension imposed on Brady is excessive and without prior precedent.

“I think this case is pretty simple. When you look at from the NFLPA’s standpoint, there’s no precedent for anything that’s been done before,” Light said. “Why now? And especially, why this guy? We’re not talking about a guy that’s been arrested and he’s made some terrible decisions off the field and on the field he’s been a bad example. We’re talking the poster child. We’re talking about the guy that affords a guy like Roger Goodell to make $44 million a year.”

According to Light, Brady maintains the support of most players league-wide.

“The overwhelming number of guys in the National Football League, past and present, support a guy like Tom,” he said.

With the announcement of the suspension being upheld came the revelation that Brady, the NFL claims, destroyed his cellphone. Brady’s response on Facebook said that his phone broke and he acquired a new one. Light said that using Brady’s cellphone as a cornerstone of the discipline is “absurd.”

“If the cellphone was such an integral part of this, if the cellphone is what he’s literally basing all of his discipline on, which is really what he’s done, then why haven’t we brought up a cellphone in any other case?” Light said. “What he’s doing is saying, ‘We think maybe there’s some text messages that could prove what we think happened.’ Well, wouldn’t that be the case on anything that’s ever been done?”

Blog Author: 
Josh Slavin