It seems appropriate that on the day before the suspension is ending we receive confirmation that the long national nightmare known as Deflategate is indeed over. The NFLPA released a statement on Sunday stating that after consulting with Tom Brady they are stopping all attempts to further pursue legal relief for this case. So barring an unlikely defamation case by Brady, it really is truly over.
Brady will return to the facility fired up and ready to resume his march to dominance. The Patriots look to win between 12 and 14 games and look to lock up their playoff spot by the beginning of December. The Colts will have to find other ways to give them a competitive advantage instead of actually being a better team. The NFL will have to find another way to find parity for the rest of the teams in the AFC East.
After the long shot of the en banc hearing of the appellate court, they faced the further long shot of getting a Supreme Court hearing. With several reversals this summer in the legal arena they looked to fight this to the bitter end. Amidst cries of people saying that it shouldn’t be tying up our nation’s highest court with a case about the inflation of footballs, the case had several merits in clarifying labor laws within the arbitration process. The most important of which was whether football players were entitled to a fair and just process or did that only go as far as they were able to negotiate it into their CBA. We have all seen Goodell’s idea of fair and just.
We have already seen the repercussions of a distrustful clash of NFL and the rank and file of football players. When the NFL wished to interview several active players over the circumstances that led to their being named in an Al Jazeera report on PEDs, the union tried every maneuver it could muster to prevent a situation where questionable information was used against these players. This is a direct result of the league’s legal counsel and executives saying different things and attempting to trap Tom Brady with the cell phone issue of his case. The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement is set to expire after the 2020 season and we can expect tough negotiations in both sides. Among the many issues with be the sweeping powers of Roger Goodell’s authority in punishment. Time will tell if this is the reason why we could not have a football being kicked off in fall of 2021.
When February rolls around and Brady is being fitted for his pinkie Super Bowl ring this controversy will be largely forgotten. If the NFL refuses to mend the bridges that it broke in the course of this long drawn out legal battle, it can expect the consequences to come out at the worst possible moment in the future.