Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 13th 2015 Contents A54
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, August 13, 2015
NEW YORK---A federal judge put the NFL
on the defensive over its four-game suspen-
sion of New England Patriots quarterback
Tom Brady yesterday, demanding to know
what evidence directly links Brady to deflat-
ing footballs and belittling the drama of the
"What is the direct evidence that implicates
Mr Brady?" Judge Richard M Berman repeat-
edly asked NFL lawyer Daniel L Nash at the
first hearing in the civil case in Manhattan
federal court as Brady and Commissioner
Roger Goodell looked on.
Nash responded there was "considerable
evidence Mr Brady clearly knew about this,"
including records of text messages and phone
calls between the quarterback and one of two
Patriots employees implicated in the scandal
known as "Deflategate."
But he also said there was no "smoking
gun" showing Brady had direct knowledge
that the balls were underinflated for the first
half of the Patriots 45--7 win over the Indi-
anapolis Colts in the AFC championship game
Brady and Goodell didn t speak during the
hearing, except to introduce themselves to
Berman. Brady, his head lowered, looked dour
as lawyers spoke for about one hour, 20 min-
Immediately afterward, Brady smiled slightly
as he signed sketches for two court artists.
Berman then met individually with each side
for more settlement discussions in private.
The talks continued more than four hours
until about 5 pm. Afterward, a smiling Brady
left the courthouse. Several people shouted
"cheater, cheater!" Berman could be seen
briefly speaking with Goodell inside the court-
house before the commissioner left to a waiting
sports utility vehicle about ten minutes after
Brady. Goodell smiled as dozens of photo and
video journalists did their work. Neither of
them spoke and there was no immediate word
on the status of talks.
Two weeks ago, the NFL asked Berman to
declare that its punishment of Brady was prop-
erly carried out. The players union counter-
sued, asking him to nullify the suspension.
The judge has signalled from the start that
he wants the parties to reach a swift settle-
Yesterday, Berman called it "ironic or not"
that Brady s statistics were better in the second
half of the AFC championship game, after the
balls were re-inflated.
"You might say (Brady) got no better advan-
tage from the under-inflation," the judge said.
At one point, the judge also seemed to try
to defuse the controversy, saying: "This
Deflategate. I m not sure where the gate
When the union got its chance to argue,
the judge asked attorney Jeffrey L Kessler why
one of the Patriots employees would deflate
balls without Brady s knowledge. Kessler said
the union does not believe the balls were
deflated but, if they were, the employee did
it on his own because he "thought it would
be good for his quarterback."
The judge also questioned why Brady
destroyed his cellphone in the midst of the
inquiry---a move that the league argues was
further proof of his deception. Kessler claimed
that the quarterback got rid of the phone on
the advice of his agent to protect his privacy
but had otherwise co-operated with the
However, in hindsight, "You re right, it could
have been done a different way," the lawyer
said of the phone.
Both sides are scheduled to return to court
As Goodell arrived at the courthouse, he
was greeted by a smattering of boos as he
walked inside. Four minutes later, Brady arrived
flanked by four security guards. Both men
went through a security sweep like everyone
else going to court.
Dozens of fans and journalists waited for
two of the NFL s most famous faces at the
front entrance of the courthouse, including
some fans wearing deflated football hats they
were hoping to sell.
Goodell suspended Brady after concluding
he "knew about, approved of, consented to,
and provided inducements and rewards" to
support a scheme in which a Patriots employee
deflated balls on game day. Brady insists he
knew nothing about it.
In a July 28 decision upholding the suspen-
sion, Goodell heavily criticised Brady for having
an aide destroy a cellphone containing nearly
10,000 text messages from a four-month
stretch including the AFC championship game.
Judge puts NFL on hot seat as he belittles 'Deflategate'
Tom Brady leaves Daniel Patrick Moynihan US Court House in Manhattan yesterday.
Links Archive August 12th 2015 August 14th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page