NEW YORK (CBS/AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady arrived early to court Monday for a final face-to-face meeting before a judge rules on the “Deflategate” case.
However, the NFL and NFLPA were not able to reach any settlement, thereby forcing U.S. District Judge Richard Berman to issue a ruling on the case.
That ruling is expected to come Tuesday or Wednesday, as Brady’s side requested a decision in time for game preparation for the Patriots’ season opening game next Thursday.
The judge had ordered both to show up for the conference before he rules whether Brady must serve a four-game suspension imposed by the league for his role in a conspiracy to use underinflated footballs during a playoff game last season.
The NFL wants confirmation it handled the case appropriately while the NFL Players Association wants the suspension nullified.
Goodell and Brady arrived separately about an hour and a half before they were scheduled to appear before the judge.
Former NFL kicker — and Brady’s teammate at Michigan — Jay Feely accompanied the quarterback to court on Monday, while Giants owner John Mara appeared as well, at the request of Judge Berman.
Outside court, Feely said the sides tried their best for a settlement.
“For us it reinforces the desire and the need for an independent arbitrator in these matters of personal conduct,” Feely said. “But we understand Tom’s position and I think the process will work itself out.”
Berman said he’s putting the final touches on his decision.
“It won’t be today, but hopefully tomorrow or the day after,” he said of a written ruling. Berman said a week ago that he hoped to rule by Friday, giving the Patriots enough time to prepare for their Sept. 10 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
When Berman rules, it will either uphold or eliminate Brady’s suspension.
Goodell upheld the suspension in July, finding that Brady conspired with two team ball handlers to deflate footballs before the Patriots easily beat the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, in the AFC championship game in January. New England then won the Super Bowl.
Berman has continued to push for a settlement in the dispute, saying it would be “rational and logical,” but he also cited weaknesses in the way the NFL handled the controversy.
The judge has also suggested that the league’s finding that Brady was generally aware that game balls were being deflated was too vague.
At a court hearing this month, Berman told the NFL there was precedent for judges to toss out penalties issued by arbitrators.
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