Tom Brady finally gets his hearing with Roger Goodell today on the quarterback’s four-game Deflategate suspension, but I’m still not convinced this thing is going to be settled by the regular-season opener with Pittsburgh on Sept. 10.
The Dallas Cowboys are still waiting on Greg Hardy’s appeal of his 10-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. That appeal hearing before NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson took place May 28, nearly a month ago. It had to do with the player’s involvement in a domestic-violence charge that was dropped in February because the accuser did not make herself available for a jury trial.
If that doesn’t sound nasty enough, here is some of what Goodell wrote to Hardy in explaining what league investigators determined and how that informed him on setting such a long suspension.
“The use of physical force under the circumstances present here, against a woman substantially smaller than you, and in the presence of powerful, military-style assault weapons, constitutes a significant act of violence in violation of the personal-conduct policy,” Goodell wrote.
Military assault weapons as evidence in a domestic-violence case? That ought to blow a bazooka hole through any appeal, and yet there is no final ruling. Also, when one does come, the NFLPA has promised to take the league to court on Hardy’s behalf.
Compare that case, with its 10-game suspension, to the case of a superstar quarterback who got four games for knowing something about footballs being intentionally deflated below the league minimum. Wait, make that “more likely than not” knowing about it, according to a league-run investigation $5 million in the making. And that’s with newer independent studies reporting that there may be no way to prove that the Colts’ footballs from the AFC Championship game were measured as fairly as the Patriots’ footballs.
If Brady wanted this over quickly, it already would be. As it is, he doesn’t even need an ironclad defense to make participation in the season opener a possibility. All he needs is to use all his available timeouts in a system that’s mired in mud.