What began with a 243-page report has culminated, for now, in a four-page lawsuit.
The short and simple complaint filed Tuesday by the NFL against the NFL Players Association in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York specifically seeks pre-emptive confirmation of the arbitration award reflected in Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to uphold the four-game suspension imposed on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
It’s a move likely without precedent. In past controversies, the NFL has issued a decision and then played defense in court. In this case, the NFL has opted to go on the offensive against the union and Brady.
The effort, on the surface, projects confidence in the league’s position. At a deeper level, it suggests real concern about how the NFL would fare in a forum more naturally favorable to Brady.
The document itself contains no clues or hints about the arguments that the NFL is anticipating. Instead, it seeks confirmation of the decision “under well-established principles of federal labor law.”
Inevitably, Brady and the NFLPA will file a lawsuit in a jurisdiction of their own choosing.