Because the NFL has insisted on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the NFL Players Association agreeing to a laundry list of terms and concessions before discussing a reduction to his four-game suspension, the question of a reduced suspension has not yet become relevant.
If/when it ever does, Brady would be open to accepting a suspension for failing to cooperate with the NFL’s investigation of the football-deflation incident.
That’s the report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, and it’s accurate. It would be, as PFT understands it, a one-game suspension, with no admission of any responsibility for knowledge of or involvement in a scheme to deflate footballs.
Some will now insist that Brady’s willingness to consider a one-game suspension means that he’s guilty of something, if not guilty of everything. The truth is that accepting a one-game suspension brings closure to a situation that, without settlement, will linger — whether that happens through an appeal of Judge Berman’s decision in the case or through a decision to send the case back for a second appeal hearing.
Parties with strong opposing views on points of law find a way to work out their differences all the time. The public nature of this dispute makes it more important for both sides to find a way to save face. For Brady, taking a one-game suspension for not cooperating but not admitting responsibility for football deflation gives him a potentially acceptable middle ground.
More importantly, it makes him seem reasonable before Judge Berman, at a time when the NFL’s “agree to all of these things and then we’ll talk about a reduced suspension” position seems a little unreasonable. In a case that can go either way when it’s time for a judge who is pushing for settlement to issue a ruling, it’s alway good to be the side perceived as being reasonable.