Lawsuits can settle at any time and at any stage. Even now, with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the NFL Players Association running out of options, the union and the league can work out an agreement to resolve the situation.
In theory, that can happen. As a practical matter, it likely won’t.
Last year, when the NFL wasn’t exactly operating from a position of strength, Judge Richard Berman had no luck persuading the league to make a significant move toward a compromise. The league’s intransigence apparently irritated Judge Berman, who issued a ruling against the league that was clear and direct and biting.
Now, the NFL holds nearly all the cards. If the league wasn’t inclined to bend last year, it won’t be doing so now — unless, of course, enough owners make it clear to the Commissioner that the time has come to push this cloud away from the sport.
For that to happen, the union and Brady would likely first have to secure a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to grant a rehearing before the full court. If that occurs, the pendulum will swing away from the league, at least a little bit. Even then, the chances of a settlement would be slim.
“This case could have been settled a long time ago if the NFL was willing to be reasonable,” attorney Jeffrey Kessler said Monday on ESPN Radio, via CSNNE.com.
While the NFL may likewise believe that the union wasn’t being reasonable, the impasse that existed a year ago won’t be any weaker now that the NFL has secured a victory that will be very difficult for Brady and the union to overcome. The NFL had plenty of reasons to budge last year. As of right now, it has none.