New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) are filing with the Minnesota federal courts to overturn the DeflateGate ruling by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Here's all of the information we know.
4 allegations of Brady suit 1. No advance notice of punishment 2. Not fair and consistent punishment 3. Unfair appeal 4. Goodell partial— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 29, 2015
The NFLPA is alleging that there was no known punishment for players with regards to football pressure, since the rule book only applied to clubs. They're also arguing that the NFL's ruling is inconsistent with past results of issues with footballs. The remainder of the appeal will highlight that Goodell was not impartial and that the appeal was heard by the person who issued the penalty in the first place.
According to what's on the docket: The Minnesota case has been assigned to Judge Richard H. Kyle, NOT Judge David Doty. #DeflateGate— Bob McGovern (@BobMcGovernJr) July 29, 2015
Part of the goal of filing in Minnesota is that Judge David Doty has historically heard NFLPA cases and have typically ruled in the PA's favor. While Kyle is assigned, he will likely recuse himself from the assignment. Kyle was originally assigned to the Brady vs NFL case back in 2011 during the lockout and recused himself due to the fact that his former firm represented the NFLPA back in 1992. So expect the judge to change.
Review of the Filings
NFLPA is filing for an injunction on the grounds that Brady missing a game would cause irreparable harm.
NFLPA alleges that the NFL did not provide full documentation of the Wells investigation to the NFLPA and Brady's lawyers, in violation of the Discovery process per the CBA. They also allege that the NFLPA was not allowed to question the NFL's witnesses, while a colleague of Ted Wells that signed the actual Wells Report cover page led the NFL's examination of witnesses.
NFLPA argues that penalizing a player for "general awareness" is unprecedented and that, per the Minnesota's court ruling on the Adrian Peterson case, players need to be made known of penalties and what they'd be subjected to in order for the penalty to hold. Since "general awareness" was not a violation made known to players, any penalty on these grounds violates the CBA.
The NFLPA uses BountyGate and BullyGate, and the fact that members of the team who were aware that violations were occurring were not penalized for "being aware."
NFLPA evokes BountyGate and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue by stating that no player has ever been suspended for their lack of cooperation in an investigation.
NFLPA highlights Exponent's own admittance that there was not enough data and that the information provided was mostly based on estimates (temperatures, timing, starting pressures, gauges), and that there was not enough information to even prove that deflation happened in the first place.
NFLPA notes that the fact that the league is just now implementing procedures to measure pressures as evidence that there was no prior basis for Brady's penalty, on the same grounds as the Peterson case.
NFLPA points out that Paul Weiss, the law firm of Ted Wells, held Attorney-Client privilege with the NFL, which is in total violation of their alleged independence.
NFLPA notes that Jeff Pash, NFL's legal counsel, reviewed and "commented on a draft of the Wells Report before it was issued."
NFLPA notes that Brady's call logs and contract with the Patriots equipment managers align with what was provided by the equipment managers- so he wasn't hiding any additional communication. Brady had also never messaged McNally.
NFLPA states that when Roger Goodell "praised [The Wells Report's] findings and work," he was unable to act as a neutral arbitrator because he supported the Report.
NFLPA notes that the rulings about football pressure comes from the Game Ops manual, which isn't provided to players and is for the benefit of the teams. In other words, Brady is being penalized for rules that aren't provided to the players, but are for the teams.
This seems important. pic.twitter.com/3hYlstS1s4— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) July 30, 2015
NFLPA says that no player has been suspended for equipment violations before, using Goodell's language, because the Player Policies have guidelines for fines for equipment violations. The NFLPA states, "108. Vincent apparently chose not to apply the Player Policies to Brady because a fine would not have quenched other NFL owners' thirst for a more draconian penalty."
NFLPA argues that the league way forced to show their investigations to the NFLPA in the Ray Rice case and in the BountyGate case, and that this standard became law of the shop. By withholding the investigation details under attorney-client privilege, the NFL was denying Brady the right to a fair trial.
NFLPA links their defense to the Peterson ruling, which was decided in Minnesota, with the hopes that will forgo any New York courts since the expertise is with Judge Doty in Minnesota.