As the football world awaits a decision from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Tom Brady‘s suspension, the NFLPA is reportedly hard at work putting together a plan of attack in the event that the New England Patriots quarterback’s four-game suspension is not overturned entirely.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that the NFLPA believes it has a a strong enough argument to challenge the NFL in court if that happens. The argument is based primarily on five points, which an NFLPA source laid out for Kilgore:
• The NFL policy for handling equipment in the NFL is in the club manual and pertains to club personnel, not players. The NFLPA would argue that the NFL suspended Brady four games under a policy that doesn’t apply to him.
• The Wells Report, the investigation on which the NFL based its suspension, alleged Brady was “at least generally aware” that footballs had been tampered. The NFLPA would argue that the “general awareness” standard has no legal merit – either Wells found direct evidence, or he didn’t.
• The NFLPA would argue Brady – given the rules in the club manual did apply to him – received a punishment without precedence. Under the collective bargaining agreement, players have a right to know specific punishment for specific violations.
• The NFLPA plans to cite a specific example in oral arguments in an effort to prove Brady’s suspension was arbitrary. Last year, the league caught the Minnesota Vikings tampering with footballs by placing them in a dryer, a violation of the club manual. The team, the NFLPA source said, received a letter from the league and no further reprimand.
• The NFLPA would mount an argument against the procedure the Wells Report used to measure the inflation and deflation of footballs, saying there was no previous standard.