The NFL got a big win on Monday when their appeal of Judge Richard Berman’s decision to overturn Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension was successful.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s ruling focused on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s actions as arbitrator under the collective bargaining agreement. The court found that Goodell performed the role as laid out by the CBA, which the court called “unorthodox” while pointing out that “it is the regime bargained for and agreed upon by the parties, which we can only presume they determined was mutually satisfactory.”
As you’d expect, the ruling was met with approval from the league in a statement.
“We are pleased the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled today that the Commissioner properly exercised his authority under the collective bargaining agreement to act in cases involving the integrity of the game. That authority has been recognized by many courts and has been expressly incorporated into every collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA for the past 40 years.”
In its announcement of the decision, the court concluded that “had the parties wished to restrict the Commissioner’s authority, they could have fashioned a different agreement.” That may be an issue for the NFLPA to include in future negotiations with the league, but the interpretation of the current CBA was kind to the arguments raised by the league on appeal.