ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest Deflategate rumors and other NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
A report from ESPN’s Ryan Smith on Wednesday indicated that unless Tom Brady‘s suspension is lifted completely, the QB will take his case to federal court. Schefter said nothing about this really surprises anyone, noting that everybody all along felt that Brady “would not be satisfied short of having the four-game suspension lifted” and that he wants to have “whatever he can of his reputation restored.”
If Brady were to go to federal court, Schefter said it puts the league in an interesting and dangerous position because the court weighs the precedence, procedure and protocol of the the suspension, not the act itself.
“The precedence has never been that anybody’s gotten a punishment that he has, and the procedure is such that there’s never been a standard operating procedure, and the protocols are not firmly established by the league, so the process by which he was suspended is at the very least going to be called into question,” he said. “Now we’re running into an area where lawyers are probably better qualified to answer than me, but I’ve said all along, my guess, and it’s purely a guess, is it will not surprise me if Tom Brady does not miss a single game. If he’s playing in the opener somehow, some way, whether that’s through a decision the NFL makes, whether that’s through a compromise the two sides reach, whether that’s through an injunction that a judge grants, whatever it may be, I don’t know. I’m not smart enough legally to know the direction and route that this story is going to take.
“We’ve seen it go out in areas that nobody would have imagined, but I do believe, my guess, at this point there’s a chance that Tom Brady won’t miss a game, but we’ll see how that plays out.”
That being said, no one really knows when the ruling will come down. According to Schefter, the only people who probably know anything are Roger Goodell and maybe a trusted adviser or two. The Patriots don’t, the NFLPA doesn’t and most in the league offices don’t, either. He added that while there have been rumblings of a decision being announced in the next few days, his sense, though it’s just a guess, is nothing will come until late July. If it does, it could have something to do with other cases the league is involved in right now.
“You’ve got the unsettled case of Greg Hardy, who still may file suit against the NFL because a lot of people believe, as egregious as his act was, that in court, the process again, the language would be such that he would be able to have that suspension reduced even further from four to two games,” Schefter said. “And you also have the contempt of court case involving Adrian Peterson and Roger Goodell that’s scheduled to be in August, so you have an Adrian Peterson case, a potential Greg Hardy case, a potential Tom Brady case. You would think that it would be in the best interest of the NFL and the NFLPA to sit down and see if somehow they could almost horse trade and work these things out together so that they don’t have to go to court at all.”
Schefter said if there haven’t been any backroom deals discussed or calls made, they probably are on the horizon. However, he said at the very least that calls have been attempted, though whether sides have spoken is a different story. It’s possible they’ve spoken, but it’s also possible they haven’t, he said.
“I don’t know if they’re going to discuss it,” he said. “People have reached out to people to talk, but I don’t know that any of those calls have been connected or thoroughly discussed, or whatever the situation may be. It’s not like people want to advertise this stuff. … If they hadn’t attempted calls, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs, and like I said, at some point they’re going to have to discuss these things as a package deal to see if it makes any sense for both sides to see if they can come up with some sort of resolution that would prevent a lot of legal work and discussion that has gone on too long already.”