Plenty of big names won’t attend April 6 hearing

Last week, Saints quarterback Drew Brees — a named plaintiff in the Tom Brady antitrust lawsuit and a member of the NFLPA* Executive Committee — said that he doesn’t plan to attend tomorrow’s hearing on the players’ motion to lift the lockout pending the conclusion of the litigation.  Albert Breer of NFL Network now reports that several other big names, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, and Brady himself won’t be attending the hearing.

It’s unfortunate, to say the least.

As discussed with Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal during Tuesday’s ProFootballTalk Live, players and owners alike need to be present in court to hear the things Judge Susan Nelson (pictured) says, to study her body language, and to generally pick up on the vibes emanating from the bench.  When practicing law, I encouraged my clients to attend every key hearing — and tomorrow’s hearing is a key one.

It’s possible that both sides realize the real fight will come before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, making Wednesday’s hearing a formality of sorts.  Still, it’s their first exposure to the judge who ultimately will be issuing key rulings that could shape in many ways the future of the league.  And it would be nice for the parties to show respect and deference for the court by, you know, showing up.

Indeed, how can Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and Drew Brees expect Judge Nelson to conclude that they’re being harmed in a way that could never be remedied by the payment of money (a key ingredient in obtaining an injunction before a case is resolved) if they don’t feel sufficiently strongly about the situation to show up in court for the hearing?

Here’s hoping that Judge Nelson makes it clear from the get-go that she’s going to take charge of the case — and here’s hoping that she orders the two sides to spend two weeks or more in non-stop mediation, and that she explains a ruling will be announced if the case isn’t settled during the two weeks of non-stop mediation.  Along these same lines, she should ask enough tough questions of the parties to plant real seeds of doubt regarding their respective chances of winning.

It’ll be hard for any tough questions to make much of an impact, if key figures aren’t present for the hearing.  Regardless, ordering them back to mediation — possibly with Judge Nelson herself serving as the mediator — could be the best way to get a truly fair deal done.

Maybe they can get a head start on mediation tonight.  NFLPA* spokesman George Atallah points out on Twitter that the NFL and the players’ contingent are staying at the same hotel.

If nothing else, perhaps they can employ one of the strategies used by Lawrence Taylor to rob an adversary of a good night’s sleep.

22 responses to “Plenty of big names won’t attend April 6 hearing

  1. Just let the lawyers F it up. Come on Judge throw it out as frivolous since they (named players) won’t be there to support their suit. Cluck, cluck, cluck or they are just plain ashamed of their actions.

  2. But hey, Von Miller will be there!! Why not ask a guy whos never played one second in the NFL the “tough questions”? Im sure he has all the right answers to swing favor the players way

  3. Understand, that in no way do you want any form of intervention from any branch of the federal government involved.

  4. Throw this case out. Tom Brady is the name on the lawsuit and he doesn’t care enough to show up. Is the court not worth his time? The league officials should be there in force after hearing this. Show America that they care enough to be there.

  5. It’s 2011, why don’t they just put it on TV?? This is a very public matter after all. Will it be on TV? Can we get some commonsense here at televise this?

  6. Going to court sucks. The superstars who put their names on the lawsuit aren’t the ones who are really being harmed, so why would they care about showing up?

  7. They don’t show and they’ll have get their misinformation from profootballtalk like the rest of us.

  8. They should take this case to Judge Judy. She would settle it in five minutes and tell both sides they’re A- holes.

  9. I can’t beleive that many key people will not be in attendance tomorrow, I think that does show a general lack of repsect for the process and seriousness of what is going on. If I were Goodell, I’d call Pash and as many owners as I could get on the phone and all but insist that they show up tomorrow, same thing if I were Brady, Brees or Manning, calling the other Plantifs.

    I would think that if one side had a strong showing of their constituents and the other not so much, it would play a little (if not a lot) in to the judge’s consideration.

  10. LOL..I think that the owners would be safe from the LT treatment, but the players, no way. Just ship a couple underage escorts up there with some viagra and some refined codeine, ask for some beer, then when the cops get there to investigate the stolen beer, voila, a drug bust and a contributing to deliquency of a minor charge to go with it. That is why the players are not going to be there, they know they cannot keep out of trouble for one night if the opportunity arrives to get in trouble.

  11. Okay, I think it would be good if the name players attend for the PR value–you know, the news shots of them walking into and out of the courtroom. But from a legal standpoint, they have no purpose at this hearing and won’t influence the outcome one way or the other. What possible benefit can be derived from Peyton Manning and Tom Brady checking out Judge Nelson’s body language? C’mon, Mike 😆

  12. My sixth sense tells me the league/owners have an idea as to how this is going to break, at least at the U.S. District Court level, and I wouldn’t otherwise expect a ruling tomorrow. I also find it unremarkable that Brady and Manning are not expected to attend. To date, their conspicuous silence about this case has been deafening, so why would tomorrow’s “opening act” be any different? Brady and Manning are not Cromartie. Grandstanding before the cameras is the last thing on their minds, given the mutual respect and affection between them and their owners, even in the face of a player lockout.

  13. come on now mike you know at this point mediation would just be a PR move neither side wants to talk or compromise at all…the one and only way this gets solved is the courts take care of it I am not saying it is a good thing but it is reality.

  14. Do Patriot fans know what real work is? They seem to live on this site spouting their anti-player rhetoric. Are they all on Robert Kraft’s payroll? They sure don’t seem to get any real work done during the day.

  15. I’m getting to the point of ‘who cares’.

    Watch college football and enjoy the kids and talent whilst some semblence of humility exists.

  16. I like the Von Miller angle. A guy who has never played a down in the NFL, isn’t employed by any team in the NFL, who supposedly wants desperately to be drafted by a NFL team, but puts his name to a lawsuit that aims to destroy the NFL.

    How f’d up is this?

  17. Hey Rhode Island Patriots Fan

    Although I understand what you’re saying but I think that if that was the case then why would they even put their names in the lawsuit in the first place? I mean if Brady and Manning have such respect and affection for their owners and don’t want the cameras, wouldn’t it be wiser to not to have their names on it at all? That way their mutual respect between them & their owners won’t be tainted and there would be no need to stand in front of cameras.

    I just think that they should be there and same goes for the NFL side. Goodell or Jeff Pash should be present.

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