England Patriots fans Luke, left, and Andrew Sheridan,
of Hanover, Mass., hold signs referring to Federal
Judge Richard M. Berman in the first half an NFL
preseason football game between the Patriots and the
New York Giants Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Foxborough,
Mass. Judge Berman overturned NFL Commissioner Roger
Goodell's four-game suspension of Patriots quarterback
Tom Brady Thursday morning. The league said it will
appeal the ruling.
— Tom Brady is free and Ramon Foster can't help but laugh.
Sorry, the irony is just a little too delicious.
Pittsburgh Steelers' guard remembers joining the rest of his
teammates in declining to ratify the new collective
bargaining agreement between the owners and the NFL Players
Association in the summer of 2011 because of concerns it
gave Commissioner Roger Goodell too much authority.
was sitting in his locker Thursday night praising the New
England Patriots' quarterback for making a stand against
Goodell, a stand the Steelers felt obligated to make four
years ago while the other 31 teams — the Patriots included
— rushed to get back on the field and get paid following a
District Judge Richard M. Berman's decision to lift the
four-game ban levied against Brady by the NFL for the
four-time Super Bowl winner's perceived role in "Deflategate"
struck a serious blow to Goodell's credibility. It also shed
light on an issue the Steelers homed in on long ago:
Goodell's process of serving as judge, jury and executioner
when it comes to issuing discipline is misguided.
just Roger Goodell abusing his power again, I guess,"
Foster said. "We've known it for a while and it's been
going on for a while, too. We don't know what's going to
happen or change from that, but it shows that he's been
New England Patriots fan holds a sign referring to
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady before an NFL preseason
football game between the Patriots and the New York
Giants Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass.
Federal Judge Richard M. Berman overturned NFL
Commissioner Roger Goodell's four-game suspension of
Brady Thursday morning. The league said it will appeal
Goodell to task for developing his "own brand of
industrial justice" when it came to penalizing Brady on
what Berman concluded were shaky legal grounds. The NFL is
appealing the decision "to uphold the collectively
bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the
the players hope Brady's victory will serve as a wake-up
call to Goodell that maybe it is time to recalibrate the way
the commissioner's office polices those who wear "The
chastised Goodell for being overzealous while hitting Brady
with a lengthy suspension for what was basically an
equipment violation. That forced Brady to take the unusual
step of going to federal court in an attempt to clear his
name after running out of recourse within the NFL's limited
league is probably going to have to re-examine some of the
ways they go about doing these things," St. Louis
defensive end Chris Long said. "That's not necessarily
a bad thing if it helps players in the future with the
something the men who pay Goodell seem to be up for. Atlanta
Falcons owner Arthur Blank conceded there is a larger issue
at play. The NFL doesn't want to become the league where
every disagreement between players and management ends up in
front of a judge.
think we have to find ways to get to a better place sooner
with the NFLPA than go through the process that we've gone
through, just to placate things, which really isn't about
placating any longer," Blank said. "It's about
where we can constructively negotiate for decades in terms
of the commissioner's responsibilities."
Lyons wears a shirt referring to Patriots quarterback
Tom Brady as she walks with Josh Mailloux before an
NFL preseason football game between the Patriots and
the New York Giants Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in
Foxborough, Mass. Federal Judge Richard M. Berman
overturned NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's four-game
suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady
Thursday morning. The league said it will appeal the
that means limiting the commissioner's power or expanding
the appeals process is unclear. What seems certain is that
something needs to be done. The players point to Goodell's
increasingly spotty track record in the courts as proof.
think it has to be looked at that one guy is just making
decisions," Tennessee cornerback Jason McCourty said,
"and then the fact that those decisions aren't being
upheld shows that the system is flawed."
words echoed the concerns of former Steelers safety Ryan
Clark, who called Goodell's ability to fine players without
a series of checks and balances a "deal breaker"
before the current CBA was signed in 2011.
through anyway, though Brady's triumph likely serves as a
tipping point going forward.
whole ordeal has highlighted the need for players and owners
to work together to make all policies fair and transparent
for everyone in our game," NFLPA president Eric Winston
of the Bengals said in a statement. "I welcome an
opportunity to have open and constructive dialogue with the
league in the near future for how we can best accomplish
future may be a little too optimistic. The NFL's decision to
fight Berman's decision means the issue could drag on for
several more months.
Brady will care next Thursday when he and the Patriots raise
another Super Bowl championship banner and welcome the
Steelers, the guys who saw this coming long ago. It sounds
weird, but Foster wouldn't have it any other way.
times the union gets talked down about, that we're not doing
the right thing," Foster said. "For the most part
Tom used the union lawyers to fight this case and it worked
in our favor."