A quiet morning on this Wednesday, but here’s a quick rundown of this morning’s top stories.
Brady Gets Some Help – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady got a little help last week from a group of independent scientists as well as Robert Kraft, with both filing “friend of the court” briefs in an effort to bolster Brady’s shot at getting a rehearing in front of the U.S. Second Court of Appeals. However, Tuesday a report came out that saw a key player step forward and file a brief that could hopefully tip the scale and get Brady’s case back in front of the judges.
According to reports, the AFL-CIO joined the case, with the Federation of Labor Organizations filing a brief that certainly hits home with what’s transpired over the last year-plus.
The brief leads off with a key point as it pertains to collective bargaining agreements with discipline, and feels Roger Goodell didn’t fairly handle the arbitration process.
“The AFL-CIO is a federation of 57 national and international labor organizations representing approximately 12.2 million working men and women,” the brief, prepared by attorney James Coppess, stated. “Most collective bargaining agreements negotiated by AFL-CIO-affiliated unions contain arbitration provisions to resolve disputes over the meaning of the contract, including with regard to discipline. As a result, the AFL-CIO has extensive experience with the operation of arbitration procedures in the disciplinary setting and a significant interest in the application of the proper standard for judicial review of decisions rendered pursuant to arbitration procedures.”
From there, the brief gets right to the point and immediately points out what most of us already know, which was this whole procedure was never fair and Brady never had a shot at a proper arbitration hearing, which – like most of us obviously feel about the entire investigation – was never neutral.
“Because the Commissioner – who issued the discipline to Brady in the first instance – failed to follow basic procedural fairness and acted arbitrarily as an employer seeking to justify his own disciplinary decision rather than as a neutral arbitrator considering an appeal – his decision should be vacated,” the brief stated.
“While the NFL and NFLPA bargained to allow the Commissioner to hear appeals of disciplinary decisions, they did not agree to let the Commissioner, sitting as an appellate arbitrator, to act in a manner that is arbitrary and capricious. Regardless of who hears appeals, labor arbitration always must be fundamentally fair.”
“Fundamentally fair” is hardly how anyone would describe what’s gone on. In fact, the brief goes on to point out one key fact that “rather than limiting his review to his initial
rationale for the discipline,” the Commissioner “instead “changed the factual basis for the
disciplinary action after the appeal hearing concluded.” From there Goodell, “rather than engage with this issue to test ‘the correctness of [the discipline]’ based ‘upon the reason given at the time,’ the Commissioner “attempted to strengthen the employer’s defense.”
Obviously when a key labor organization can see the obvious, that should hopefully be enough to give Brady another shot at beating this thing. It backs attorney Ted Olson’s argument about the fact this ruling goes well beyond football, and now places even more importance on the outcome of the case given the precedent it will obviously set.
This whole thing hasn’t been fair since it started, and seeing anyone lose in a situation where they never had a fair chance is always frustrating. A decision on whether or not the Second Circuit will rehear the case will reportedly be made the end of June. Most experts, including SI.com and UNH Professor Michael McCann, thought it would be a long-shot that Brady would get that chance.
After Tuesday, things are certainly a little more encouraging.
Another player threw their hat into the ring in support of Brady this week.
Butler To Show Up at Patriots OTAs – Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported on Tuesday that Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler will be at OTAs this week, despite Mike Reiss’ report about the fact he’s unhappy about his contract.
According to Howe, Butler’s absence last week had nothing to do with his current contract situation.
“The Herald was given a strong indication Butler’s absence last week was not related to his contract,” Howe wrote on Tuesday. “Furthermore, Butler doesn’t want to draw any added, unnecessary attention to himself this offseason, particularly as it relates to his contract, after last offseason when he missed a flight and reported late for OTAs.”
Malcolm Butler will be at the OTAs this week and Jeff Howe from the Boston Herald is reporting that his absence last week had nothing to do with his contract situation. (USA TODAY Images)
Having Butler back at work is obviously a big key as now is the time to start building some continuity among some of the new players who will be in the locker room this season. After the Patriots finish these final practices, they’ll break one last time before training camp starts next month.
With Butler back in the fold, that will certainly help shift the focus back to where it should be, with Butler seeing if he can’t help get his team back to playing at a championship level one more time.
Jets See Decker and Marshall Return – If you’ve been following the disaster going on down in New York, their situation finally settled down a bit this week.
After skipping workouts in support of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall were back at voluntary practice despite the fact no deal has been reached to keep their QB in the fold.
According to reports, the offer on the table for Fitzpatrick is 3-years, $24 million which includes $15 in guaranteed money. Part of that guarantee includes $12 million in the first year, but from there it starts to come to light as to why Fitzpatrick remains at odds.
According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Fitzpatrick’s compensation over the final two seasons drops to $6 million per season. Fitzpatrick isn’t a dumb guy, having come from Harvard and he likely knows how important his role is to keeping the Jets on the upward trajectory they finished on last season. They have a good nucleus in place and bringing Fitzpatrick back once again makes them a dangerous team heading into 2016 that could surprise people.
But that won’t happen unless they lock up Fitzpatrick, and give him credit for playing hardball. Their current stance reportedly has the veteran frustrated, to the point they’re even worried about him taking less money out of spite. The New York Post suggests making the deal a one-year contract at $12 million and letting Fitzpatrick gamble and see if he can cash in during free agency in 2017.
At 33-years old, he’s still got some good years left. But at this point it’s been a contentious offseason and not having him around certainly isn’t helping their preparation. That’s certainly fine for everyone following this story here in New England. It’s always fun watching the Jet squirm, and it looks like this current mess is definitely far from over.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: 2016 Patriots Roster Bill Belichick Boston Herald Brandon Marshall Eric Decker Jeff Howe Malcolm Butler New England Patriots New York Jets Patriots news Ryan Fitzpatrick Tom Brady