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DeflateGate: Judge Berman Slams the NFL and their Investigation

The judge presiding over the NFLPA vs NFL DeflateGate case seems to have made up his mind, but is holding out hope that the two parties can act like adults.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Judge Richard Berman of the New York Courts has done everything but hand the victory to Tom Brady and the NFL Players Association.

While neither the NFL, nor the NFLPA, brought any new evidence to Wednesday's settlement and oral arguments hearing, it seems as if the judge is already leaning in a certain direction.

The NFL continues to argue that Roger Goodell is able to punish the New England Patriots quarterback under Article 46 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), while the judge countered by questioning the fairness of the process.

The NFLPA kept making their points, that the NFL's claim, per The Wells Report, is about adjusting the PSI of a football by "one or two tenths."

Judge Berman has made public three main opinions:

1) The Wells Report doesn't have any concrete link to Tom Brady and football pressure during the AFC Championship game. Even Ted Wells, during Brady's appeal, refused to say that Brady directed any nefarious operation.

2) How did Roger Goodell come to decide that football inflation was more similar to steroid use than from an equipment violation? The equipment violation is covered by the player policies, while Judge Berman seemed to question the legality of conflating performance enhancing drugs to an inflated football.

3) The fact the NFL prevented Jeff Pash, who co-led the investigation, from testifying during Brady's appeal shows an unfair process that could violate the CBA.

All of these are in favor of the NFLPA and Tom Brady. Looking at how Judge Berman has reacted, it doesn't really make sense for Brady and company to even try to settle anymore. The NFL has continued to make just one argument ("The CBA allows it!") but Judge Berman has so many issues with the NFL's process- from the investigation, to the punishment, to the appeals- that he's not buying the NFL's argument.

In fact, he all-but-said that he has the potential to overturn the NFL's penalty.

Judge Berman clearly doesn't believe there was fairness in the process.

The NFLPA and Tom Brady clearly have all the momentum. The judge ordered both sides to continue settlement talks immediately after the hearing. Judge Berman also ordered another settlement hearing on August 31st that requires both Tom Brady and Roger Goodell to be in attendance. Judge Berman's goal to have this resolved before September 4th.

Here are some other highlights: