So yesterday, a three judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, in a split decision, decided that NFL Commissioner Roger effing Goodell can hand out discipline as he sees fit, even if he has to make up facts and ignore evidence and science. This is due to the NFL Players Association giving him that power in their previously negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement. If nothing changes, Tom Brady will be suspended for the first 4 games of the 2016 season, and during that suspension will not be allowed to practice with the team or have access to team facilities.
So where do Tom Brady and the Patriots go from here?
1. Appeal this decision to the entire 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. The dissenting justice was in favor of Brady's suspension being vacated on grounds of basic unfairness (punishing someone without proof or facts), and Brady's lawyers should lead with that. Regardless of whether the CBA gives the Commissioner broad powers to punish, those powers should not include lying and ignoring evidence because his employers (the owners) want to punish the Patriots because they can't beat them on the field.
2. Sue the NFL, the Commissioner and the rest of his lackeys in the front office for defamation of character. A $1 billion dollar figure should be his starting point. Call them out for claiming he was first "generally aware" of a deflation scheme that was never proven, then doubling down on it by then claiming he orchestrated a scheme to deflate footballs. All the evidence he needs is in the public record.
3. Don't accept a reduction in the suspension if it carries with it a condition of accepting blame. It is much better to take the four games and hold your head high because you did nothing wrong, than to come back early with that black mark on your legacy.
4. While you may not be able to practice with "the team" feel free to practice with as many individuals on the team as you like. Do it in public and charge admission, giving the proceeds to a local charity.
5. When you win your next Super Bowl (and you will), accept the Lombardi trophy from Goodell and then for all the world to hear, say, 'Thanks Roger, now get the Hell off of my stage". Then turn your back on him.
The New England Patriots:
1. Never, ever, allow Roger effing Goodell to set foot in Gillette Stadium ever again.
2. Or if you do, make sure he doesn't get a sniff at the owners box. Find him a seat in the nosebleed section where some beers can be "accidentally" spilled on him.
3. If the suspension holds up, make sure Brady is in the owners box for every game. Gillette Stadium was built with private money; it's your house and you get to make the rules.
4. For the first game of the year in Arizona, play the first half as normal to see how competitive you're going to be with Jimmy Garoppolo as QB. If it doesn't go well, tank the entire second half by just standing around when the Cardinals have the ball, and take a knee when you have it (hat tip to ISN on Pat's Pulpit). Shove a thumb in the eye of the NFL on the opening week Sunday night extravaganza by making it the worst game of the year (and showing the NFL what you think about them).
5. When you win the Super Bowl again (and you will), make sure every large slab of Patriot beef comes up on the platform to accept the Lombardi trophy as it can safely handle, and everybody keep herding Goodell to the back out of camera range. Finally, make as little room as possible for him so he'll have to either jump off, fall off, or exit the stage.
6. Don't allow anyone but team representatives to announce draft picks until Goodell is gone. Never allow him to utter your team name in a public venue ever again.
7. Wholeheartedly support any strike efforts in 2021 when the Collective Bargaining Agreement is being renegotiated.
Hi! I'm Dave Richard, your host. I hope you enjoy your visit. We'll be talking about current events, politics, the occasional sports (I'm a HUGE New England Patriots fan, so get over it), and some "Get off my lawn!" issues.