The NFL didn’t want him to do it. And he didn’t want to do it. But Giants co-owner John Mara has arrived at the federal courthouse in Manhattan for Monday’s latest hearing in the litigation arising from Tom Brady’s four-game suspension.
Via Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Judge Richard M. Berman requested Mara to be present, and so Mara is present.
“Requested” is probably putting it mildly. The case filed by the league in Judge Berman’s court listed only one party as the plaintiff: The National Football League Management Council. Mara, not Commissioner Roger Goodell, is the chairman of the NFL Management Council. So Judge Berman has every right to not request but to demand that Mara attend.
The real question is whether other owners will be involved, in person or by phone. The entire NFL Management Council Executive Committee routinely accompanied Goodell for labor negotiations in 2011; why not do the same now?
And spare me the “this is about the Commissioner’s powers” nonsense. Currently, the case is about whether the specific exercise of power by the Commissioner on behalf of the NFL will be upheld or overturned in court. It’s not longer a Commissioner issue. It’s an NFL issue.
Specifically, it’s an NFL Management Council issue. Which is why Mara has been “requested” to attend.
The only question remaining is whether Mara’s presence will soften the league’s position. If, as some believe, Mara is one of the owners pushing Goodell to stand firm, and if Judge Berman can successfully persuade Mara directly — not through messengers or emissaries — on the potential consequences of not settling, Mara may soften and, in turn, the NFL may soften.