Falcons owner Arthur Blank was not pleased with the ruling against the NFL in the Tom Brady deflategate case in federal court on Thursday.
A federal judge vacated the league’s four-game suspension imposed on New England’s quarterback in the scandal the loomed large of the most recent Super Bowl.
“It’s not healthy for the NFL to be in the kind of litigious position that it’s been for last several years,” Blank said. “I think that the commissioner is working hard to hold up the respect and integrity of the game, the competitive balance of the game and the shield. Having said that, I think we have to find ways to get to a better place sooner with the NFLPA than the process that we’ve gone through.”
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman issued a 40-page ruling He concluded that there were “several significant
legal deficiencies in how NFL commissioner Roger Goodell investigated accusation that the Patriots used deflated football in the AFC championship game.
The NFL failed to give Brady proper notice he could be suspended, didn’t provide him the opportunity to question one of the league’s investigators and denied him equal access to investigative files, Berman wrote in his ruling.
The NFL is appealing the ruling, but won’t seek a stay of the ruling. Therefore, Brady should be allowed to play in the Patriots’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers next Thursday.
Blank believes that the commissioner’s unfettered powers to discipline players was impeded upon by the federal court.
“This deflategate thing which isn’t about deflatedgate any longer, it’s about what has been collectively negotiated for decades in terms of the commissioner’s responsibility in terms of disciplining players,” Blank said. “If we have to look at that differently in today’s light, in today’s environment, as an ownership group we should be prepared to do that. The commissioner should be prepared to do that.”
Blank didn’t seem agree with the notion of the league appealing the matter.
“I would have rather seen it end with a positive ruling for the NFL,” Blank said. “I understand why the commissioner and the league feel as strongly as it does about trying to protect the rights that for decades have been collectively bargained. I think that is important.
“I don’t think they should be re-bargained in a federal court. Having said that, I think the commissioner and the ownership around the league have to be prepared to look at things, look at change and change may be appropriate.”
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