Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy is still mulling whether to take legal action after arbitrator Harold Henderson reduced his suspension to four games last week and that’s not the only potential court case that the NFL could face in the future.
We’re waiting to find out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game Deflategate suspension and that ruling could also open up a door to the courthouse. ABC and ESPN legal analyst Ryan Smith reported, via NFLPA sources, that the union plans to mount a challenge to the league in federal court in the event the appeal ruling results in any suspension for Brady. Albert Breer of NFL Media adds that if there is a lawsuit, that it will likely be filed in either Minnesota (where Judge David Doty has issued labor-friendly rulings in the past) or Massachussetts.
There’s no word on whether they would pursue a preliminary injunction that would put a hold on the suspension while the court case plays out. Such an injunction would allow Brady to play in Week One, but would leave open the possibility that he’d be suspended later in the year or in 2016 in the event that the court’s ruling doesn’t go his way. Given the way things went for the league in past trips to court regarding suspensions, that might be a risk he’s willing to take.
As in the Hardy case, there would be other ways to pursue a legal challenge to a suspension that don’t include an injunction. One thing all avenues share is the ability to extend the fight over an issue that’s been hanging over the heads of the league, the Patriots and Brady for six months.