NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said this week that “spot checks” of PSI in footballs used during games in the 2015 season turned up no violations, but was careful to say that it was not a research study done for further examination on the effects of temperature on the air pressure of footballs.
A research study might work to shed more light on the league’s claims that the Patriots intentionally deflated footballs in last year’s AFC championship game and in turn could have some impact on the forthcoming appeal of the decision to overturn the four-game suspension that the league gave Tom Brady after the release of the Wells Report. At a press conference Thursday, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith was asked if the union would pursue the release of the data from the NFL’s random checks as part of their effort to uphold the decision vacating the suspension.
“I think the issue for the union is to continue to defend the player and prepare for the Second Circuit hearing,” Smith said. “Issues of PSI and how they collected it and what kind of job they’ve done is up to them. If the information is important at some point, we’ll demand it but the process that we’re in right now is fighting and vindicating the collective bargaining agreement.”
Earlier in the press conference, Smith pointed out that Judge Richard Berman wondered whether Goodell knew there was a CBA during the Brady case and stressed that protecting player rights under that agreement is of primary importance to the union. The two sides are scheduled to be in appeals court in March for a hearing in the case.