Everyone remembers US District Court Judge Richard Berman, right? The man who was the first objective voice to hear Tom Brady’s appeal against the NFL’s four-game suspension over Deflategate, exposed the NFL as shameless liars by making the arbitration proceedings public, eventually came to the conclusion that the NFL was in the wrong (legally), and overturned Brady’s suspension right before the 2015 season?
He also never has to pay for Dunkin’ coffee again, which is surely the world we all want to live in.
Judge Berman sat down for a bit with The MMQB’s Kalyn Kahler on Friday and opened up about all things Deflategate, arbitration, and, of course, this year’s Super Bowl, where Tom Brady looked at the Cleveland Cavaliers being down 3-1 in the NBA Finals and said “Hold my beer”.
The MMQB asked Berman flat-out how he felt watching the game, and here’s what he had to say, almost two years after seeing Brady and the NFL in his court.
KAHLER: For Brady to win the Super Bowl after a four-game suspension is revenge in itself, but do you think that the unbelievable way in which he won makes that revenge even more powerful?
BERMAN: It was unbelievable. And if you noticed, there was some mention of Brady [during tonight’s panel], but not much. And I think the not much is because the Super Bowl settled the questions finally, right? I think Deflategate is finally put to rest by that Super Bowl.
KAHLER: Were you happy that Brady won?
BERMAN: Yes, for a lot of reasons. Settling it on the field was really the most important to me.
Judge Berman also elaborated a bit on why he approached the case with a “What...exactly, are we doing here again?” demeanor, and it’s not because, as some have speculated, he’s a Pats fan.
(these are just snippets, his actual answers are much more elaborate, as you might expect)
I’m very comfortable with the proceedings at the courthouse and with my written opinion. I immediately made public the sealed (secret) proceedings from the NFL arbitration. Each side got a full opportunity to make their case publicly, both orally and in writing. I concluded that the NFL arbitration process was fundamentally flawed—principally because of lack of notice of the alleged infraction and of a potential four-game suspension; inappropriate comparison of football deflation to use of steroids; failure to allow Brady’s counsel to question NFL general counsel [Jeff] Pash; and refusal to share with counsel the notes of witness interviews. The commissioner’s arbitration award was not entitled to “deference” by the courts also because he had a personal stake in the outcome of the appeal.
It was all based on the briefs. I know some of the questions you are talking about, and I couldn’t quite get it. I remember I once said to the NFL side, “I’m having trouble finding the ‘Gate’ here.” So I guess that was an expression of my true feelings.
And about having his decision overturned later on:
BERMAN: It’s very disappointing. It helps that there was a dissent. [Chief Judge Howard Katzmann dissented in the Second Circuit’s split, 2-1, decision]. Katzmann is someone I know quite well. I know them all, all three of them quite well. I’m in sync with what Katzmann had to say, but it is too bad. I like to win.
Fortunately, as he notes later, a Super Bowl victory cures everything that ails you.
Check out the whole piece, especially if you’re like us and Deflategate wasted more hours of your life that you’ll never get back than you care to admit, here.