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Tom Brady and Roger Goodell/NFL Fail to Settle ‘Deflate-gate’ (Again)

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It looks like even the Judge in the Brady v. NFL is beginning to lose patience.

Tom Brady unexpectedly missed practice on Tuesday to travel to New York for court-mandated settlement discussions, but the talks went nowhere once again. But this is really no surprise if you prefer to deal in reality.

The reason no progress is being made is that Team Brady has taken the position that he will never admit he had any knowledge of the alleged tampering of the inflation levels of the footballs. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported yesterday that Brady would be open to accepting a suspension only if the punishment is the result of ‘failing to fully cooperate with the investigation’.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that Brady refused to turn over his personal cell phone during the Ted Wells investigation, then claimed it was intentionally destroyed, as a matter of course. As part of a settlement, supposedly Brady has offered to miss at least one regular season game as a result of the scandal. The specific wording in any potential settlement is of great importance to the New England Patriots quarterback.

The NFL, of course insists as part of the settlement that the 38-year-old, sure-to-be-Hall-of-Fame quarterback fully accept the findings of the Ted Wells report. Again, unless you were cave-bound, you also know that the report reflects that Brady was at least “generally aware…” of the ball tampering. In addition, there is a much greater issue at stake; the ability of the NFL to mete out penalties as it sees fit in specific circumstances, NFL Players Association notwithstanding. If this process is jeopardized, it will greatly (and very negatively) impact the Commissioner’s Office in their attempts to master the amazingly profitable circus that is the NFL.

And there is indeed the rub. At this point in time, there is no way Tom Brady can accept the findings of the Wells report, which concluded that he was “generally aware” of ball tampering. He and his legal team have maintained all along that he had no knowledge of anything and issued those denials under oath. So any version of accepting the Wells report now would also quite possibly mean admitting he committed perjury (see Martha Stewart…). And the NFL can’t give up on an issue that could ultimately quash their white-knuckled levels of control and discretion.

So the ultimate reality is that both sides are far in too deep into the proverbial pool at this point for a settlement to be reached. So at this point, the parties are scheduled to be in court in New York on September 4th.

Probably with a very cranky judge…

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