With Commissioner Roger Goodell deciding to appoint himself to handle the appeal of quarterback Tom Brady’s suspension despite a conflict in his desire to be “The Enforcer” and to placate Patriots owner Robert Kraft, there’s another practical self-interest that will influence the likely inevitable decision to uphold the four-game banishment.
Any decision that lessens the work of Ted Wells will reflect poorly on the person who hired Wells to rack up millions of dollars in legal fees to investigate the situation. Once Wells was given no deadline and a blank check by Goodell, it became difficult if not impossible for anyone in the league office to disregard the work generated by Wells and his team.
While one of Goodell’s 32 constituents surely hopes that Goodell will roll up those 243 pages one at a time and toss them toward the nearest trash receptacle, the other 31 will wonder why Goodell would spend so much of their money on a man whose work product Goodell ultimately declined to trust.
And that’s probably why Goodell decided to handle the appeal himself. If anyone on the outside overturns or undermines the Wells report, Goodell’s decision to rely on Wells in the first place will seem like a very bad decision. And the last thing this Commissioner needs only eight months after the Ray Rice debacle is proof that he may have made another bad decision.