Deflate-gate information has apparently been hard to come by in the six-plus months since the controversy started, because Goodell needs at least 28 days to sift through the appeal information with no end to the ordeal in sight. Goodell said so himself on Tuesday, to Pittsburgh's TribLive.com, saying there's no timetable for a decision on Brady's four-game suspension.
“We are focused on it,” Goodell said, according to TribLive.com. “We are obviously being very thorough and want to make sure we consider all aspects of his appeal. We will make a decision as quickly as possible.”
The Patriots' veterans report for training camp on July 29. It seemed impossible that the Patriots would go to camp without knowing if their starting quarterback will be available for the first four weeks of the season, but we're a little more than a week away from that happening.
Nobody knows what could take Goodell this long to make a decision on an issue that has been dissected in every way conceivable for more than six months, so let's guess.
A popular theory is that the NFL loves the attention in a slow time. And they can seamlessly drag this one out until right before the training camp news cycle starts. But leaving the league's Super Bowl champion and one of the greatest players in league history out to dry to do so seems strange. But the league unnecessarily turned this whole ordeal into a circus, so maybe that's it.
It could also be in relation to the NFLPA's threats to go to federal court if the suspension isn't completely overturned. Perhaps the NFL thinks it has some leverage by dragging out the decision on the appeal as long as possible, when it comes to the possible legal action by the NFLPA. Or it's dragging it out to spite the NFLPA and Brady for the threat. At very least the Patriots are going to be punished with uncertainty during the season if this situation does go to court. It makes little sense, but Goodell taking almost a month to decide on the issue with no end in sight doesn't make sense either.
Perhaps the two sides are trying to come to a deal. The NFL put itself in a really tough spot by excessively punishing Brady and making a spectacle of deflate-gate. Brady has a four-game suspension, the same as Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy for his domestic-violence case, so the NFL would get criticized mercilessly if Brady and Hardy end up with the same suspension. Brady's suspension probably won't be zero either, because that would mean Goodell completely undermined NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent, whose name was on the punishment, and Ted Wells, the investigator whose report showed very little evidence but still led to the Brady suspension. So maybe there's something in the works where both sides can save face and avoid court. It's hard to say.
The whole deflate-gate fiasco has had its strange moments, and we can add another: Four weeks and counting with no appeal decision from Goodell and no idea when it's coming.
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