BOSTON (CBS) -- We've read the transcripts. We've (strangely) read Tom Brady's private emails. And now that we have our wits about us and have had ample to think about it, we can say this: Tom Brady is going to win in court.
There was some doubt before. Very rarely does a judge rule to overturn the decision of an arbitrator, we were told. But has Judge Richard Berman done one thing to hint he's leaning toward favoring the NFL? And has so convoluted and embarrassing a case ever come before him?
No, and no. If anything, the judge has acted in ways that have helped the union thus far, with no decision being bigger than the one to make public the transcripts of Brady's appeal hearing.
We now know the full arsenal of each side.
Brady has dozens upon dozens of on-the-record, under-oath denials of any awareness of or participation in any activity that violates any rule.
The NFL has only its same flawed case, one that can be ripped to shreds by even armchair attorneys whose entire legal experience amounts to owning a keyboard and watching Law & Order once (hello).
The NFL has no big play, no ace in the hole. In fact, the league came away from the public release of the transcripts looking worse. We know that Tom Brady was punished based on a document which does not apply to players and is never distributed to players. We know the league has to perform mental gymnastics in order to differentiate the Vikings/sideline heaters situation with the alleged acts in New England. We know that the NFL rooted its decision entirely on the Wells report, which rooted its basis in science performed by Exponent, and we know that Exponent's methodology was simply wrong.
All Roger Goodell has is the hope that his lawyers can interpret the CBA in such a way that convinces Judge Berman that the entire process took place on the up and up.
But anyone who reads the transcripts from that "appeal hearing" knows that it was an affront to modern human society. Page 278 of the document noted that upon seeing how the proceedings were taking place, a kangaroo hopped out of his seat and bolted from the meeting room, disgusted by the farce that was taking place in front of his little kangaroo eyes.
It was a sham of the highest order, with NFL lawyers arguing to and for the NFL, with Goodell checking in from time to time to show he lacked knowledge of basic facts. Every single point made by Jeffrey Kessler on behalf of Brady and the NFLPA was summarily dismissed by Goodell as irrelevant, false, or a lie.
Not one person who reads that transcript could come away thinking Goodell ruled fairly and impartially. Even Goodell himself would come to that conclusion -- that is, if he had the attention span to read the whole thing. That's a shaky proposition, considering his comments during the proceedings demonstrated that he struggled to keep up throughout the hearing.
So no, Brady will not agree to settle and take a one-game suspension, as some of us had suggested as being a reasonable compromise as recently as Tuesday afternoon. Nope. Brady won't be suspended at all.
The NFL spent an incredible amount of time and effort over the past six and a half months toward winning the public relations battle. On that account, they won. Huzzah.
But Kessler and the NFLPA has focused its energy on winning the case. At 5:53 on June 23, Kessler realized he had won.
It was at that exact moment that Kessler, after sitting in a room with the NFL's brain trust for eight hours, knew exactly who and what he was dealing with.
"I would like to propose on behalf of the Union that we can release this transcript of this today," Kessler told the room. "I would like the NFL to think about that. That's our proposal. Despite that, I'm not talking about any of the underlying things, but at least the transcript. I think there is a great public interest in this and in the interest of transparency, that would be something that we would like to see done. So I will submit my proposal for the NFL to consider as to whether that's possible or not."
Gregg Levy, an attorney who represented the NFL and oversaw the proceedings (because Goodell is not a lawyer and needed assistance), upheld the integrity of the NFL by flatly rejecting this proposal in an effort to keep the public at large from seeing how they operate.
After attorney Daniel Nash, also representing the NFL, told Kessler that the agreement stated the transcripts would remain confidential, Levy abruptly put an end to the conversation and initiated a break to the proceedings.
Five minutes -- you and your proposal can go take a hike.
The NFL and Goodell knew that if these transcripts went public, the world would see just how shoddy a job they do in these hearings, how despite everybody going through the motions, the outcome was determined long before anybody arrived in the room.
Tom Brady will win in court. And thanks to Judge Berman's order to unseal the transcripts of the hearing, Brady and the NFLPA also scored an additional victory in delivering another devastating blow to any credibility Goodell claimed to have.
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