Second Circuit’s Chief Judge would have scrapped Brady appeal, based in part on stickum rules

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Yes, the NFL won the Tom Brady appeal. No, it wasn’t a slam dunk.

Judge Robert A. Katzmann, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, strongly disagrees with the two judges who ruled in favor of the NFL. In a separate dissenting opinion, Judge Katzmann explains that, in his opinion, Commissioner Roger Goodell’s punishment of Brady exceeded the findings of the Ted Wells report.

“The Wells Report . . . concluded that it was ‘more probable than not that Tom Brady . . . was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of [Jim] McNally and [John] Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls’ . . . and that it was ‘unlikely’ that McNally and Jastremski deflated the balls without Brady’s ‘knowledge,’ ‘approval,’ ‘awareness,’ and ‘consent,'” Judge Katzmann writes. “The Commissioner’s final written decision, however, went further. It found that Brady ‘knew about, approved of, consented to, and provided inducements and rewards in support of a scheme by which, with Mr. Jastremski’s support, Mr. McNally tampered with game balls.”

Judge Katzmann sees those differences as material: “The misconduct found in the Wells Report is indisputably less culpable than inducing and rewarding cheating through the payment of memorabilia, as was found in the Commissioner’s final decision.”

The dissenting opinion also points to the failure of the Commissioner to compare Brady’s alleged misconduct to the use of stickum, an equipment violation for which a first offense triggers a fine of $8,268.

“Given that both the use of stickum and the deflation of footballs involve attempts at improving one’s grip and evading the referees’ enforcement of the rules, this would seem a natural starting point for assessing Brady’s penalty,” Judge Katzmann writes. “Indeed, the League’s justification for prohibiting stickum — that it ‘affects the integrity of the competitive and can give a team an unfair advantage’ . . . — is nearly identical to the Commissioner’s explanation for what he found problematic about the deflation — that it ‘reflects an improper effort to secure a competitive advantage in, and threatens the integrity of, the game.’”

Judge Katzmann then ends the dissenting opinion with a message that will provide some (but not much_ solace to Patriots fans who will be unhappy with the luck of the draw that resulted in Katzmann not having a second judge on the three-judge panel who agreed with him: “It is ironic that a process designed to ensure fairness to all players has been unfairly used against one player.”

77 responses to “Second Circuit’s Chief Judge would have scrapped Brady appeal, based in part on stickum rules

  1. But did you know that Jeff Fisher had an affair with Dean Blandino’s assistant for over a year? He even left his wife for her.

  2. I love the Patriots but Tom should just let it go. No one’s mind was changed by winning the first appeal, no one’s mind was changed today and even if he somehow wins another appeal it would change no one’s mind.

  3. NFLPA simply cannot not let Goodell have as much power under CBA as he currently has. As the person who directs investigation, “finds fact”, and hears appeals of his own rulings, there is no limit to how much b.s. he can use to punish or reward individual players. The franchises shouldn’t be happy about this, either. Goodell has turned ‘rule of law’ into schoolyard law, where pandering the the powerful clique is the only law that needs to be respected.

  4. “It is ironic that a process designed to ensure fairness to all players has been unfairly used against one player.”

    Indeed it is.

  5. “No one’s mind was changed by winning the first appeal, no one’s mind was changed today and even if he somehow wins another appeal it would change no one’s mind.”

    There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of the punishment. Missing 1/4 of the season is hardly trivial. That’s the issue at hand here.

    And if you think ‘no one’s mind’ has been changed by Brady fighting the accusation tooth and nail, I’d say you’re mistaken. Moreover, this action isn’t just about what people think today, but also tomorrow and next year and 50 years from now.

  6. “luck of the draw”? It is equally as likely that Katzmann is the only judge who would have sided with Brady.

  7. If the owners of the other teams cannot find a way to consistently beat the Patriots on the field, they will find a way to do it off the field.

    Since science and weather don’t have anything to do with ball deflation and since the Colts balls were also deflated, when is Goodell going to take away the Colts 1st round draft pick and suspend Andrew Luck?

  8. “I love the Patriots but Tom should just let it go.”

    To be honest, if he had just let it go this would all be over. Instead, the Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl, and he’s going to sit out four games.

    Oh well!

  9. By Roger’s actions and the NFPLA’s abysmal failure to negotiate properly with this CBA, it is almost 100% certain that the players will hold out for this change … and when they do not get it there will be a lockout/strike.

    Mark Cuban was completely correct. And so Roger won today, but he and the owners will lose tomorrow. All you football fans out there (and NBC and CBS and Fox and Twitter) who are now cheering because they feel the Patriots got their just rewards should remember this day when you have no football to watch in five years.

  10. I seen this coming. I actually honestly hope he is because it will propel another title with the AFC being trash and is much fun being the hated pats for motivational purposes. Peyton manning had HGH sent to his house and the NFL looked the other way but spent 20 million against Brady in legal fees for him insisting the equipment men keep the footballs from being overinflated. That’s is totally fair imo.

  11. Couldn’t agree more wm judge Katzmann’s conclusions. Very reasonable and understanding of a nuetral party.
    One question; why is this coming out the week of the draft? Goodell is a weasel, which leafs me to beloeve there is corruption here. Good job NFL.

  12. Also, if you belong to a union today, you should think about what the Second Circuit just did to your rights. It basically assured you that you have none. It all belongs to the company and the arbiter.

    (And don’t ever throw a cell phone away again.)

  13. Tainted.
    Tarnished.
    Suspect.

    This is part of his legacy, but what QB that didn’t win multiple Super Bowl, have lost draft picks, fines, and suspensions as part of their legacy.

  14. It’s more ironic that people use cheating as a crutch because their team can’t beat the Patriots on the field, But then again, that’s what losers do…make excuses.

  15. zeke2517 says:
    Apr 25, 2016 12:49 PM

    “I love the Patriots but Tom should just let it go.”

    To be honest, if he had just let it go this would all be over. Instead, the Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl, and he’s going to sit out four games.

    Oh well!
    ———————–

    The Patriots did win the Super Bowl, even with all of the BS distractions, and came pretty close to being in it last season.

  16. How long before someone posts a photo of judge Katzmann at Mr Kraft’s Hamptons party in social media? I’m guessing not very long.

  17. collectordude says:
    Apr 25, 2016 12:48 PM

    Katzmann must be a patriots fan.
    ————————

    He just sounds like a guy with common sense and integrity.

  18. The balls were not deflated.

    End of story. Brady has been accused of knowing about something that science has proven NEVER happened.

    Stupid: arguing that the balls must have been deflated: Get a ball, a refrigerator and a PSI guage. This is middle school science. The only reason ANYONE still thinks that something happened is because they are too lazy or too stupid to inflate the ball, cool the ball and measure its PSI.

  19. To all the Cheater fans whining that this ruling is bad for everyone, because it says Goodell can essentially do what he wants…you need to remember one very important point: it means Goodell can do what he wants WHEN YOU ARE CAUGHT CHEATING and/or OBSTRUCT THE INVESTIGATION!!! Like anything else in life, if you do no wrong, you have nothing to worry about…
    (I have lots of worries, LOL)

  20. Moreover, this action isn’t just about what people think today, but also tomorrow and next year and 50 years from now….

    ————————————————————-

    exactly, this is Brady’s and the Patriots crowning achievement in a 15 plus year streak of flaunting the intent of everyone else who plays or are fans of the game by taking advantage of every slightly loose rule and every opponent…

    I’m glad that it is coming so close to the end of his career so that the final word will likely be an….

    asterisk

  21. One question; why is this coming out the week of the draft?

    Because that’s when the judges issued their decision…but nice attempt to make it out like it’s Goodell’s fault.

  22. “No one’s mind was changed by winning the first appeal, no one’s mind was changed today and even if he somehow wins another appeal it would change no one’s mind.”

    There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of the punishment. Missing 1/4 of the season is hardly trivial. That’s the issue at hand here.

    And if you think ‘no one’s mind’ has been changed by Brady fighting the accusation tooth and nail, I’d say you’re mistaken. Moreover, this action isn’t just about what people think today, but also tomorrow and next year and 50 years from now.

    _________________________

    A four game suspension isn’t trivial but they will be fine. If you read the ruling it isn’t about the facts of the case, it’s about whether or not the CBA allows Goodell to make random/disproportionate/capricious punishments and apparently they think he can. Anyone who really knows football understands how great Tom is, regardless of how any of this ever shakes out in court. In terms of his guilt or innocence, people’s minds were made up a loooong time ago.

  23. Whether he did or didn’t do it is immaterial. The players gave Goodell all the power and if he thinks Brady did it, he “did it”.

    Players caved too quick on the CBA and signed a poor one so they have to pay the piper.

  24. As a fan of the Pats for 50 years this is my thinking. I want Tom to man up. If he did as charged accept it and sit. If he didn’t then it’s time to go nuclear. Sue the NFL for defamation. Put your integrity and legacy on the line. I don’t know if he did or didn’t but his reaction to this will be very telling.

  25. This is why there’s more than one judge in the 2nd court of appeals. One judge can have an opinion, but the majority rules. This will be taken up to the highest court of the land if the Putz’s continue to fight the losing battle. They’ve already lost the court of public opinion. Sponsors will soon follow.

  26. NFLPA needs to go on strike when this CBA is up.

    I’m a huge NFL fan and would fully support a full year without football if that’s what it takes to get rid of or at least dimish the role of the cancer known as Roger Goodell.

  27. This has NOTHING to do with whether or not Brady is guilty. This Is a Union issue.
    Roger Goodell just got cemented as the
    Dictator of the NFL.

    If I am Brady, I sue for defamation of character as there was no proof that anything was done to the balls (Colts balls were tested and 3 of 4 were deflated).

    You all must realize by now Roger is bad for the game and must go. Think about it. Stop thinking about the Pats that you hate and think about what this does for Roger.
    Can you say “Kim Jong-Il”

  28. mswravens says:
    Apr 25, 2016 12:57 PM
    To all the Cheater fans whining that this ruling is bad for everyone, because it says Goodell can essentially do what he wants…you need to remember one very important point: it means Goodell can do what he wants WHEN YOU ARE CAUGHT CHEATING and/or OBSTRUCT THE INVESTIGATION!!! Like anything else in life, if you do no wrong, you have nothing to worry about…

    Just last week a guy who had been in jail for 40 years was exonerated. Not let go on a technicality, exonerated.

    When you are right, never give in. I am a certified union HATER but in this case the NFLPA is right, even though they signed off on an incredibly stupid article.

    But if saying cheater makes people feel better then mazel tov.

  29. unclebluck says:
    Apr 25, 2016 12:53 PM

    Justice is always best when served cold….

    **************************

    Revenge is the word you’re looking for, not justice. There is no justice in this decision. The only thing coming will be revenge, and it’s going to be served up on a silver platter.

  30. randomguy9999 says:
    Apr 25, 2016 1:00 PM

    and the ruling is in, so the Justice’s minority opinion has zero value
    _____

    That’s like saying the Democrats won the election so therefore whatever Republicans think has no value.

    hey, maybe you have point after all…..

  31. jrossizzle says:
    Apr 25, 2016 1:13 PM

    You mean the judge doesn’t believe it was just the “weather”??
    ———————-

    Even Pash’s hired shills concluded that the footballs deflated because of the weather.

    It’s all right there in the Pash Report.

  32. mswravens says:
    Apr 25, 2016 12:57 PM
    To all the Cheater fans whining that this ruling is bad for everyone, because it says Goodell can essentially do what he wants…you need to remember one very important point: it means Goodell can do what he wants WHEN YOU ARE CAUGHT CHEATING and/or OBSTRUCT THE INVESTIGATION!!!
    *********************************
    Or in this case when he fabricated his new accusations when the original accusations were called out as being bogus.

  33. randomguy9999 says:
    Apr 25, 2016 1:00 PM
    and the ruling is in, so the Justice’s minority opinion has zero value
    *********************************
    Not true. It has no impact on THIS decision but minority opinions can and have been cited in the past in subsequent litigation that overturned precedent.

  34. Now is the time to look into the judges. Not saying their ruling is right or wrong, but we are dealing with the uber rich, the ones who control alot of this country. Would be interesting for some investigative reporter to track their lifestyle prior to the assignment and post ruling. Are they getting primo reservations, use of vacation, getting onto golf courses they might not have in the past. It’s not always money that exchanges hands, sometimes it’s just better treatment that can’t be tracked with money.

  35. Clearly the dissenting judge doesn’t play the game and never has. Stickum only impacts the one player. A deflated ball impacts everyone who handles the ball. He didn’t just change his grip, he changed the grip of everyone who touched the football. Then he covered it up and impeded the investigation. What an idiot.

  36. Katzman may have a point if the player suspected of stickum then refused to cooperate, destroyed the gloves and and then told everybody that his equipment man is nicknamed Mr Stickum because he really likes honey.

    The suspension is for being shady and trying to deceive the league investigators, not for the crime itself.

  37. 2manyconcussions says:
    Apr 25, 2016 1:37 PM

    Clearly the dissenting judge doesn’t play the game and never has. Stickum only impacts the one player. A deflated ball impacts everyone who handles the ball. He didn’t just change his grip, he changed the grip of everyone who touched the football. Then he covered it up and impeded the investigation. What an idiot.
    ———————–

    Source for any evidence, at all, that a deflated football gives a competitive advantage?

  38. This puts the Johnny football mess on the back burner.

    Well, no…now the Pats need another QB…

  39. Now is the time to look into the judges.

    You mean like when the dissenting judge was seen at one of Kraft’s parties in the Hamptons?

  40. Go read the factual summary in the court’s opinion. True that there is no smoking gun to silence the Cheater lovers who will never believe their team could cheat…despite being caught red handed once before…but seriously, if you read the course of events and dont believe Brady engaged in this scheme, more likely than not, you are seriously blinded by fandom.

  41. that’s not a very good analogy being drawn by that judge.

    stickum affects one person. deflating the ball affects all players.

    if the offense had been a team putting stickum on all its players, you can sure bet the penalty would be a lot bigger than your average stickum offense.

  42. RegisHawk says:
    Apr 25, 2016 1:49 PM
    This puts the Johnny football mess on the back burner.

    Well, no…now the Pats need another QB…
    ********************
    yep.. pats need a qb…which is not johnny football…

  43. It doesn’t matter that one judge sided with the NFLPA, or that it was the chief judge. A great many decisions are 2-1. The decision has as much legal effect as if a different judge had dissented, or if the decision had been 3-0. There’s no cumulative “points scored” kept in legal decisions.

    Give it up. You were wrong on this one. Admit you called it wrong, just like you tell others who are wrong.

  44. scrappler says:
    Apr 25, 2016 2:06 PM

    that’s not a very good analogy being drawn by that judge.

    stickum affects one person. deflating the ball affects all players.
    ————————–

    Why would you think that receivers were the only ones applying stickum?

  45. mmack66 says:
    Apr 25, 2016 2:55 PM
    scrappler says:
    Apr 25, 2016 2:06 PM

    that’s not a very good analogy being drawn by that judge.

    stickum affects one person. deflating the ball affects all players.
    ————————–

    Why would you think that receivers were the only ones applying stickum?

    ———————————————————-

    The judge is talking about the tactified gloves that just about every player wears and he’s spot on …. players are making unrealistic catches because of the gloves that are super sticky and for some reason allowed in the nfl …. but Ill be damned if that football is a half pound under inflated it’s cheating …. what a bunch of morons

  46. Too bad you weren’t the trial court judge, Katzmann. Now read Hall Street and stick to the actual law.

  47. I’m over weather he did or didn’t do it by now everyone has their own opinion but say he did do it the punishment doesn’t match the crime I mean I’m hockey tampering with a stick is a 2 min penalty in baseball pinetar is a fine and u prob gonna miss your next start the Vikings softened balls up on sideline by heating them and got a fine. Pats lost 1st and 4th $$ and their best player for 4 games. You can hate the Patriots and I get it they haven’t always come out to clean but this punishment is flat out terrible

  48. When they averaged out all the balls they averaged 0.02 under if that’s worth 20 months of bs a 1st and 4th rd pick millions of dollars and one of best players ever being suspended for 4 games you ppl just have blinders on cuz you hate Brady and the pats

  49. What everyone seems to be forgetting (Chief Justice included), is that the lack of cooperation, destroying the cell phone was a major factor in the severity of the punishment. Had he fully cooperated, it likely would have just been a fine for equipment violation.

  50. I am sure few here have read the actual ruling, but the first paragraph of the majority opinion alone contains two substantial and deeply disturbing misstatements of fact:

    1. That D’Qwell Jackson thought the ball he intercepted was underinflated (he has consistently denied this).
    2. That all 12 of the Patriots balls were underinflated.

    Judge Kaztzman appears to be the only person who bothered to pay attention to actual facts, not the “solid facts” Goodell is making up. This is only football, but imagine the impact that lack of attention to detail could have in a criminal case?

  51. Also, those celebrating in Brady’s suspension and carping on the phone, we’ll see how you feel when your boss demands to see your phone to prove, e.g., you weren’t texting during working hours. There is now precedent in the 2nd Circuit that not doing something your employer requests you to do that you are under absolutely no contractual obligation to do, is basis for suspension.

  52. Denny Chin who is a liberal judge and also the swing vote in his decision against Brady, went to law school with John Mara, co-owner of the NY Giants. Chin and Mara were classmates ’78/’79. Mara was one of the biggest proponents of going after the Patriots and Brady. I’m sure there was no bias, though liberal judges usually side with workers unions, except in this case. Interesting?

  53. restoreintegritytonfl says:
    Apr 25, 2016 12:58 PM

    Dear Judge K,

    Brady cheated and 85% of the country easily recognizes that.
    ****Four Tainted Rings
    ————————————————————-
    Dear Troll,

    You are making stuff up and 85% the real world recognizes this. Talk of “***” and “tainted” are simply make belive on Troll Fantasy Island. Quick, head back there and find the other like minded, willfully ignorant Trolls. There you can get to work on fabricating the next unpoven accusation from the Loser’s Circle…

  54. jamaltimore says:
    Apr 25, 2016 1:32 PM

    where’s mcnally and jstremski? can’t they just put this all to rest.
    ———————–

    I’d say the fact that you haven’t heard peep from either of those two by now should pretty much put it all to rest.

  55. I originally come from a strange little country called England.

    Over there they have a legal assumation known as….. “innocence before proof of guilt”.

    I have no particular time for the Patriots; but I have yet to see any proof that Tom Brady, or anyone else; has been proven to have done anything wrong in this whole sorry-ass saga.

    Now I appreciate Commissioner Goodell has ‘absolute’ power under the CBA to basically do any damn thing he wants.

    Other individuals over the history of humanity have had similar such absolute power; including Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot.

    Just because they had absolute power, doesn’t mean they were right all the time.

  56. “Pats lost 1st and 4th $$ and their best player for 4 games. You can hate the Patriots and I get it they haven’t always come out to clean but this punishment is flat out terrible”

    Remember how long the saint coaches were put out for lying?

  57. Hes being punished for lying about it and dragging his feet with the investigators.

    Get over it. Hes being punished for being a liar, like the Saints coaches.

  58. Peyton has more cheat than NE has ever been accused of delivered to his home and no one blinks. Brady gets a accused of ball tampering and people lose their mind. Just like in 07 it’s more about the who than the what.

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