Deflategate was back in court Thursday.
Three judges — Robert Katzmann, Barrington Parker, Jr., and Denny Chin — grilled NFL and NFLPA lawyers in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. The oral arguments lasted roughly an hour. Lawyer Paul Clement provided the oral argument for the NFL, while lawyer Jeffrey Kessler argued for Brady and the NFLPA.
Here are some takeaways from the hearing.
1. Legal reporters and experts believe that two of the judges appeared to lean against judge Richard Berman’s ruling to overturn Brady’s suspension.
My inital take on the NFL appeal hearing: NFL's likely confident it will win 2 to 1. The judges focused on giving high deference to Goodell.— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) March 3, 2016
Hard to predict how 2nd Circ. will come out on #DeflateGate, but 2 of 3 judges appeared to be leaning against Brady— Pete Brush (@PeteBrush) March 3, 2016
TAKEAWAY: Two of the three judges (Parker and Chin) appeared to favor NFL. That's all you need to win. BUT, it's always hard to predict.— Max Stendahl (@MaxLaw360) March 3, 2016
2. Judge Paker seemed unimpressed with Brady’s explanation for destroying his cellphone.
Parker: Brady's explanation about cell phone "made no sense whatsoever." Chin says it didn't add to punishment. They're being tough on Brady— Max Stendahl (@MaxLaw360) March 3, 2016
Parker, going after Kessler: "Anyone within 100 yards of this would have realized that the cell phone issue raised the stakes in this thing"— Max Stendahl (@MaxLaw360) March 3, 2016
3. Judge Chin says the evidence of football doctoring was “compelling, if not overwhelming.’’
Woah. Judge Chin says evidence of ball tampering was "compelling, if not overwhelming."— Max Stendahl (@MaxLaw360) March 3, 2016
4. Judge Parker notes Brady’s prestige could work against him.
Parker calls Brady "one of the most celebrated athletes in the game." But he suggests that this may argue in favor of punishment.— Max Stendahl (@MaxLaw360) March 3, 2016
5. At the center of the discussion, as expected, is Roger Goodell’s power to hand out punishment.
Judge Parker says some might call suspension "draconian." "Why is the inflation level so critical in these games?"— Max Stendahl (@MaxLaw360) March 3, 2016
Parker: Goodeell is "in effect the judge, the juror and -- 'executioner' is not quite the right word -- but the enforcer."— Max Stendahl (@MaxLaw360) March 3, 2016
6. Deflategate could be far from over.
Even if the appellate court reverses Judge Berman, they might remand it too, meaning everyone's back in Judge Berman's court for the sequel.— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) March 3, 2016
Timeline of Deflategate Controversy