After over a year of investigations and staggering legal fees, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady must serve a four-game "Deflategate" suspension imposed by the NFL.
Appearing on "CBS This Morning" on Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked if the $20 million expense of pursuing the suspension was worth it given all the other issues the league is facing.
"This wasn't about the actual violation - this was about the rights... that we had in our collective bargain argument and that we wanted to make sure that we retained,"Goodell said. "If we decide to negotiate with the union on those issues and be able to trade those, that's certainly within the rights of both the management and the players to do that. But this is something about retaining those rights that we negotiated."
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Brady's four-game suspension Monday for his alleged role in deflating the footballs used during the 2015 AFC Championship Game. The court overturned the original suspension in September, after the NFL appealed, arguing Goodell was within his bounds to suspend the star quarterback based on the 2011 collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA.
But following the court's ruling, the commissioner came under fire from critics, including New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who said the commissioner holds too much power. Brees said that Goodell was equivalent to being the "judge, jury and executioner when it comes to all the discipline."
Goodell defended the ruling on "CBS This Morning," saying that it had followed "process that has been in place for several decades." He called it the "right decision," saying that the original suspension ruling "should not have been reversed in the first place."
The commissioner called this an "end" to the scandal and said he was moving on, and said that he had spoken with team owner Robert Kraft regarding different matters.
"We have a lot to do...there are a lot of challenges, a lot of positive things, and a lot of things we want to accomplish," Goodell said.
Meanwhile the NFL is holding its annual draft Thursday night. Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, a former first-round pick, joined Goodell on "CBS This Morning" and recalled his own draft back in 2005.
"It was extremely exciting - it was very nerve-wracking though," Davis said.
Despite his 11 years in the NFL, the 2016 Super Bowl was Davis's first, and he played in spite of having an injury.
"As a player, that's why you play the game -- to try to win the Super Bowl -- and that was my first opportunity and I wasn't going to miss it for a broken arm," Davis said.
Davis also founded the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation, to educate and empower youth.
"A lot of our players are doing great work and we're so proud of that work and we want to make sure that we're supporting that and enhancing that and making sure that we could help our children for long-term future," Goodell said.
Partnering with United Way Worldwide, the NFL also announced the launch of the "Character Playbook" initiative, focusing on youth character development and healthy relationships in 250 schools.
"What we're trying to do is reach middle-schools kids and give them the tools to make... the right kind of life decisions -- understanding influences in life, understanding how to engage with others, how to address conflict, how to communicate with others, and we think these are the kinds of skills that are important for kids throughout their life," Goodell said