Somewhere right now, Tom Brady is laughing – or, at the very least, grinning.
The New England Patriots quarterback won his appeal against the NFL on Thursday, this after U.S. District Judge Richard Berman nullified a four-game suspension initially handed down by Roger Goodell.
“I’ll just tell you, just my initial reaction was very much surprised – simply because I believed in the CBA that Roger Goodell had the power to do what he did,” Super Bowl-winning quarterback Kurt Warner said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Now, whether you agree with it or not, that wasn’t the issue when it went to court. It was more about did Roger Goodell have the power to go through the process and come up with his own findings and deal out the punishment that he felt was right in the situation? I thought under the CBA he had that power, and so I thought when it went to the court it was simply going to be (that the) judge may not agree with the facts but (the) bottom line at the end of the day (was) there’s an agreement there that says he has the right to do this (and) the players signed this over to him. So I thought the judge was going to have to uphold it simply from that matter. So I was very surprised when that happened.
“But if you look at it from a legal standpoint and take that whole CBA agreement out of it, I’m not surprised,” Warner continued. “Because I’ve said from day one that I understand where you can make assumptions or create an opinion. I see the circumstantial evidence that leaves you with a number of questions, no doubt. But there’s nothing to me concrete that says Tom Brady did this, Tom Brady was involved in this, and I thought it was really really hard to watch a guy’s character get kind of drug through the mud and see a guy suspended for four games based on a bunch of circumstantial evidence where nothing truly told me he was involved. And I know people are going to have opinions based on which side of the fence they fall, but to me, that’s what I felt from day one with the facts that I had and what I understood. So I’m not surprised if you looked at it form a legal standpoint that the judge nullified the punishment.”
If you think this eight-months-and-counting saga is over, however, well, you had better think again. The NFL is going to appeal Brady’s appeal – and it pretty much has to. If not, Berman’s decision could dramatically change or nullify the current CBA, which allows Goodell to act as almighty arbiter.
“I truly believe that’s why the appeal is going to happen,” Warner said. “If they appeal and they lose, I don’t know where they go from here. I don’t know what the process becomes because the CBA, again, was that agreement that said he can do this. Now if the court comes in and says that’s not fair or we’re going to overrule it, I don’t know what leg he has to stand on moving forward. Because up to this point, it’s been Roger Goodell and he’s been that authority and that judge and jury and it is what it is. So now I’m very interested to see the next part of this process. If that wasn’t the case, I think you just drop it and you let it go and Tom goes and plays and we move forward. But I think because of that judgment and because we don’t know what that’s going to mean power-wise moving forward, I believe the appeal has to happen and I think that’s going to determine a lot.”