Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann joined Dale & Holley with Thornton on Wednesday to discuss the latest chapter in Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
After league commissioner Roger Goodell announced the NFL would not release PSI measurements taken over the course of the season, many have been left searching for answers.
“I would imagine one possible answer is that the results don’t corroborate some of the theories the NFL offered last year about deflated footballs,” McCann said. “There’s also the possibility that the NFL doesn’t want to share information that could be used by Tom Brady, not in the appeal, but if Tom Brady were to pursue a defamation lawsuit against the NFL.”
The possibility of a Brady defamation suit as been thrown around a lot this week after many suspect the NFL is hiding something by not releasing its data. Although it undoubtedly would drag this case out much longer than he would like it, it is certainly an option for Brady.
“The evidence suggests that he has been defamed, in the sense that there have been things said about him that basic tenets of science repudiate,” McCann said. “If you’re him, you could clearly show that you’ve been harmed. His reputation has been harmed, he’s been embarrassed, the rest of the country calls him a cheater. … Do I think he’s going to do it? No. But I would be pretty furious if I were him.”
Next up for Brady is the appeals hearing in March, and many believe he has a serious advantage over the NFL.
“I would say the point spread is pretty considerable. I say that because, a) Judge Berman’s decisions are approved 92 percent of the time,” McCann said. “Secondly, I also don’t see any great flaws in Judge Berman’s decision. It isn’t as if anyone has read his opinion and said, ‘Yeah, that’s where there’s a big opening.’ I think at this point, without knowing who the appellate judges are, I would say it’s a pretty considerable point spread in Brady’s favor.”
In addition to Brady, many feel Robert Kraft should take legal action against the NFL. The Patriots were stripped of two draft picks and fined $1 million for something that has not yet been proven.
“I think realistically, he missed the window, and I don’t think the window was ever open in a way that it would have been a likelihood of winning a lawsuit,” McCann said. “I say that because at the end of the day, when you buy an NFL franchise you agree to a series of documents including the league constitution. That makes it clear that the commissioner has final authority.”