Throughout the Deflategate legal saga, Tom Brady’s attorneys, led by Jeffrey Kessler, have seized upon every opportunity to aggressively attack the NFL and Roger Goodell’s role as Commissioner. Monday’s appeal filing (read it here) did not disappoint. Here are the ten best quotes(in order that they appeared in the brief):
- Noting the NFL’s five lawsuit losing streak in court:
“Since 2012, Goodell’s disciplinary actions against players have been overturned by (i) a former Commissioner (Bounty); (ii) a retired Southern District of New York judge (Rice); (iii) a federal district court (Peterson); (iv) Goodell’s former Executive Vice President for Labor Relations (Hardy); and (v) the court below [in Deflategate]. Each decision found that Goodell’s “conduct detrimental” authority was con- strained by the CBA notice requirement.
- Goodell’s improper attempt to appease the masses after the second Ray Rice video came out:
“Months later, a second video became public showing Rice striking his fiancée inside the elevator. Hoping to quiet the outcry over the initial two-game suspension, Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely.” [emphasis added]
- Fanciful = led by fancy rather than by reason and experience; whimsical.
“The argument that Goodell made a “choice” between two CBA provisions— choosing the “more general” over the “more specific”—is fanciful.” [citation omitted]
- The Goodell way:
“This case involves a textbook example of  arbitrator [Goodell] “eschew[ing] the remedies provided” in bargaining in favor of “his [own] guiding principle of equity.””
- How many times does it need to say it?
“[T]he Policy states— twice—“First offenses will result in fines.” Further, the provision cross references the “On Field Policy,” which states three more times that “First offenses will result in fines.” Yet Goodell never even discussed this unambiguous, collectively bargained remedy.” [citations omitted]
- So if we buy the NFL’s argument…:
“To appreciate the extraordinary overbreadth of the NFL’s position, one need only consider its logical bounds. The NFL’s position would authorize Goodell to use his “general authority” to discipline players for “conduct detrimental” to suspend a receiver for using “stickum” if he believed the collectively bargained and announced fine for this conduct was too lenient. Similarly, it would authorize the Commissioner to impose an eight-game suspension for a first-time steroids violation if he believed the bargained-for and announced four-game suspension was too light. The NFL’s position is the antithesis of “deference” to bargained-for labor-management relations: It is a sweeping grab for power that is contrary to collectively bargained penalties. No arbitrator may affirm discipline that so blatantly defies collectively bargained penalties and the required notice.” [citations omitted] [emphasis added]
- Over and Over and Over and Over and Over and Over:
“Without record citation, the NFL asserts that Goodell “rejected the … argument that only a fine could be imposed under the equipment policy.” But one searches the award “over and over (and over and over)” in vain for a single word about this Policy, the Game-Related Player Conduct Rules, the equipment violations provision, or the collectively bargained “schedule of fines.” Goodell’s “choice” was to ignore both the applicable fine and the Policy’s repeated notice that, for equipment violations: “First offenses will result in fines.”” [citations omitted]
- Referencing Goodell’s odd and maligned comparison to the NFL’s Steroid Policy:
“Goodell’s CBA defiance is only underscored by his reliance on the Steroid Policy. Viewing this Policy as “his [own] guiding principle of equity”, Goodell used it to support the award.” [citations omitted]
- On Goodell’s how decided that Brady participated in a “scheme”:
“It is no answer for the NFL to assert Goodell’s award transformed Brady’s alleged state of mind into “participat[ion]” in a conspiratorial “scheme” in which he “induce[d]” ball tampering. Although Goodell used the word “scheme” fourteen times, it appears nowhere in the 139 page Wells Report. Goodell’s “quantum leap” in using these words “[wa]s wholly inconsonant with his fact-finding, [suggesting] that he was not fulfilling his obligation to interpret and apply the parties’ agreement.” Hoping to compensate for the Wells Report’s limited findings concerning Brady’s state of mind, Goodell pulled his “participat[ion]” and “inducement” language from thin air.” [citations omitted]
- Calling out the NFL for misstating the evidence… twice:
“The NFL asserts that it “had already produced … all documents that the Paul, Weiss team considered when preparing the report.” That is false. Goodell stated only that “the Management Council produced all of the NFL documents considered by the investigators in preparing their report.” The NFLPA received not one file generated by the Pash/Wells investigation. [citations omitted]
“The NFL falsely states that “Brady’s counsel was present for many of the interviews.” Of the more than 66 Paul, Weiss interviews, Brady’s counsel (his agents) were present for one—Brady’s—and the NFLPA was present for another (Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski’s).” [citations omitted]