|Mike Florio on M&F: Judge Richard Berman will ‘be very aggressive to get these two sides to work out a deal’||08.11.15 at 12:44 pm ET|
Mike Florio of NBC Sports and Pro Football Talk joined Merloni and Fauria on Tuesday to discuss his expectations for Tom Brady and Roger Goodell’s upcoming battle in court. To hear the full interview, visit the Merloni and Fauria audio on demand page.
“[The two sides] have [met] back on Monday of last week,” Florio said. “They accepted quickly the invitation to use the magistrate judge, who was mentioned in the first order that Judge [Richard] Berman issued. … I’ve practiced law for 18 years, I’ve never seen an order like that. That made it that clear that the judge was determined to settle the case. The judge can’t force two parties to settle a case, but he can force them to do it if he really wants them to do it. … One of the common tactics now in any litigation is you hire a mediator, an outside party who has no authority to do anything other than to get the two sides to settle the case. … The judge wants this to be as close to the bottom line position as possible, if not at the bottom line position.
“He’ll know what each side is offering before the hearing starts and then they go into court for the hearing and through his questions, through his comments, if the lawyers are smart and if the lawyers get it, the two sides will know who needs to be more worried about the eventual ruling, and presumably they’ll work out a deal after that, and if not, then I think he’ll be more explicit with them next Wednesday when they reconvene in this courtroom for two settlement conferences. I’ve never had a judge schedule two settlement conferences at the outset of a case. It is clear to me he’s going to be very aggressive to get these two sides to work out a deal.”
When asked if the two parties will meet together or separately in a room with the judge, Florio speculated that the judge will have the two meet together to explain their stances before the hearing.
“At a minimum he’ll have both sides come in,” Florio said. “Maybe what he’ll do in has everybody in there and say, ‘I’d like an update on the settlement talks. NFL, what’s your position? NFLPA, what’s your position? Ok, thank you very much, let’s go have our hearing.’ Through that hearing, that’s where somebody ends up being nervous. That’s usually how it goes, one side gets asked all the questions, and the side that gets asked all the questions is the side that’s in the most trouble. … There’s a certain etiquette to it and every judge handles it differently. Some judges will be explicit about what they’re trying to do. I’ve had judges say, ‘The lawyers are going in that room and they’re not coming out until the case is settled.’ And it happens, and you settle the case. … I don’t think that’s going to happen tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be trying to see if he can get the two sides to do it on their own. Next Wednesday will be when he does it for them.”
|Mike Florio on D&C: ‘Genius PR effort by the NFL from start to finish’ to discredit Tom Brady, Patriots||08.03.15 at 11:44 am ET|
Mike Florio of NBC Sports and ProFootballTalk.com joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss Deflategate and the NFL’s campaign against Tom Brady and the Patriots. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
When asked if Deflategate would have taken on its persona if Chris Mortensen had not reported the false information leaked by an NFL source, Florio determined it difficult to hedge either way.
“Well, it all depends on when that would have come out,” he said. “If the real PSI numbers would have come out before the ripcord was pulled on the Ted Wells lawnmower, then I think the Patriots would have been able to shout down the PSI numbers fairly quickly. … First of all, we’ve got two pressure gauges being used before the AFC championship game that vary by 0.45 PSI. Hard to make any reliable conclusions about anything. But on one of the gauges, it shows that the PSI numbers at halftime were fully in line with what the ideal gas law would have predicted, and I think Ted Wells never arrives on the scene. This falls into the category of inconclusive.”
Florio lauded the NFL’s public relations team for influencing the public perception of Brady’s guilt by implying that he destroyed his cellphone, the latest effort by the league to discredit Brady publicly.
“It was a genius PR effort by the NFL start to finish, beginning with 11 of 12 footballs two pounds under the minimum and ending with the, ‘Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone,’ masterfully handed to Stephen A. Smith last Tuesday morning,” Florio said. “And I know he gets sensitive about the perception that he was used by the NFL. Well, Stephen A., you were used by the NFL. They picked the right guy to hand this to. He blazed a path, he got the idea out there. … Four hours later, ‘Oh my gosh, Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone.’ That was locked in and I went through that. … They dropped this ‘Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone’ and I’m like, ‘Hey, I can stop worrying about PSIs and I can quit worrying about whether Ted Wells should have been able to extract a confession from Beavis or Butthead with those text messages he had and I can feel like it’s finally over and they got it right: Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone.’
“And you had to read through every page, every word, every footnote, 20 pages, single-spaced, the Roger Goodell ruling to see that there were flaws in this conclusion that Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone. But from a PR standpoint, people … shut it down. They turn it off because they believe the NFL and the NFL has sold them on these buzzwords that make them believe that there’s no reason to take a closer look at this.”
|Mike Florio on MFB: NFL owners telling Roger Goodell to uphold Tom Brady suspension ‘reality of being the commissioner’||07.23.15 at 1:26 pm ET|
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio joined Middays with MFB Thursday morning to talk about the settlement talks in Tom Brady‘s case and how things might proceed from here. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
Florio reported Wednesday that settlement talks have taken place between the NFLPA and the NFL, but said he doesn’t expect them to go anywhere. With that being said, it shows there’s been communication, he said. The settlement opens the door for negotiation if both sides decide to respond.
“You never lead with your bottom line, so if the first move is, ‘We’ll take no suspension, but consider a fine,’ then the NFL could respond by saying, ‘Well, how about three games?’ and the NFLPA says, ‘How about one game?’ and the end result’s two games,” he said. “I’ve been saying for the past few days, if as many seem to believe the NFL is willing to cut this from four to two that this was either the plan all along or this was part of the wink-nod between Roger Goodell and Robert Kraft when the Patriots dropped their appeal rights, why not go to Brady and say, ‘We’ll reduce this to two games and you agree not to take us to court,’ because if they reduce it to two games, he can still take them to court.”
Florio had also reported that there was a small group of owners in Roger Goodell’s ear telling him to uphold the full suspension.
“That’s just part of the reality of being the commissioner of the NFL,” he said. “You have to deal with the owners, and some of them call you up more than others, some communicate more than others, but there’s a line of communication there. I’d be shocked if Roger Goodell says, ‘I can’t talk to you about any of this.’ He may not say anything, but he’s probably going to listen to what they have to say.
“You’re more politician than anything when you’re in that commissioner job because you are dealing with 32 successful and powerful people, and if you alienate enough of them, you’re out of a job,” Florio continued. “I think any big issue, and a lot of small issues that land on the commissioner’s desk end up in one or more owners making a phone call or otherwise making their thoughts known to Roger Goodell. That doesn’t surprise me at all.”
|Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio on MFB: ‘Preliminary injunction … the pathway to Tom Brady not missing a game in 2015′||06.22.15 at 1:42 pm ET|
With talk of Brady serving his suspension in 2016 instead of 2015, Florio weighed in, citing a previous case with the Vikings.
“Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner who’s going to handle the appeal, if he would suspend Brady for any number of games, my sense is that Brady and the NFL Players Association in a legal attack coordinated by Jeffrey Kessler would go to court and try to get Brady’s suspension completely wiped out,” Florio said. “At this point, I think it’s a fair assumption that Brady wants to be exonerated, and the way you get exonerated is to have the suspension go from four, not to two or one, but to zero. So, you go to court, and let’s say the court process takes a little bit of time, let’s say before that Roger Goodell takes a little bit of time reaching his decision. The hearing ends June 25, it’s due to start the 23rd and end the 25th. Assume it ends then. How long until he issues a decision? It’s already been 24-25 days since Greg Hardy had his 10-game suspension heard on appeal — no decision yet.
“Let’s say it takes a month, we’re getting into late July. Goodell suspends Brady for at least a game, then you go to court. How long does that take? And if you can’t get a final decision from court before September 10, what do you do? Can you serve the suspension and get the exoneration on the back end and get your money back? Or do you do exactly what was done six, seven, eight years ago by Kevin [Williams] and Pat Williams, then of the Vikings, when they were suspended for ingesting a substance known as StarCaps? They were able to delay, for a period of multiple years, their suspensions while that process snaked its way through the court system in Minnesota.
“I guess in theory it could take multiple years here, too. But I focused on the possibility that we won’t have a final decision in Tom Brady‘s case until after the 2015 season in the court system. And that the court system would say, ‘Until we reach a point where we can make a final decision, Tom Brady does not have to serve his suspension.’ And even if he loses, obviously you can’t go back and take those games away, he would then serve his suspension later. But it’s called preliminary injunction, it happened in the StarCaps case and it’s the pathway to Tom Brady possibly not missing a game in 2015.”
|Mike Florio on D&C: Robert Kraft ‘not going to fold the tents simply in exchange for nothing’||05.20.15 at 10:16 am ET|
ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday morning to discuss why Robert Kraft ended the Patriots’ fight against the NFL over Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Kraft held a press conference Tuesday from the owners meetings in San Francisco and stunned Patriots fans by announcing he would accept the league’s penalties in an attempt to move past the controversy. Florio said he agrees with the widespread speculation that Kraft struck a deal with Goodell, although he’s not sure what it might entail.
“Whether it’s just for future considerations, whether it’s for a Super Bowl in Foxboro at some point in the next decade, whether it’s a wink/nod, ‘Don’t breathe a word of it to anybody but maybe Roger Goodell’s going to reduce Tom Brady‘s suspension’ type of a promise, there’s got to be something. Because you don’t pivot that quickly.
“Robert Kraft said yesterday you measure nine times and you cut once, and that same mindset applied when they issued the 20,000-word manifesto just six days ago, the 50-minute angry interview with Peter King. These are things that even though emotional on the surface were not the product of anything but careful and deliberate thought. Strategy went into both of those two things, and strategy went into what we saw yesterday. He’s not going to fold the tents simply in exchange for nothing.”
Added Florio: “Logic, common sense, you start piecing it together — OK, there was the report of the talks [between Kraft and Goodell], they had been talking, they’re working something out, and the Patriots’ aspect of it is we’re going to take our medicine and go home. Now the return on that bargain comes down the road. We just don’t know what it is. And they’re never going to tell us what it is. For all the leaks that we’ve seen in this case, I don’t think anybody’s going to come out and say what it was, especially because there may be only two people on the earth who know — Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell.”
|Mike Florio on D&C: Suspension for Tom Brady ‘unavoidable,’ will come early this week||05.11.15 at 11:16 am ET|
The Wells Report has been out for almost a week, and while the public consensus is that Brady almost certainly will be handed a suspension, nothing has been passed along yet. Because waiting so long makes the NFL look as if it is “gauging public opinion,” Florio said to expect something early this week.
And for those hopeful that Brady avoids suspension altogether, Florio said that’s incredibly unlikely considering what actions other players get suspended for, regardless of whether those actions have anything to do with the integrity of the game of football.
“If the NFL concludes that Brady was involved and generally aware etc., etc., more probable than not, that’s the standard for finding a violation,” he said. “If they conclude he did something he shouldn’t have done that relates to the integrity of the game of football, and you throw on top of it the deliberate refusal to cooperate fully with the investigation, you put those two things together and a suspension’s unavoidable. The question becomes how many games are we talking about.”
Various people have offered four games as their prediction for what Brady is to receive, and Florio mentioned that that number makes sense to him as well because a first-time offense for a PED violation also is four games. He added that you could make the argument for more than four games because Brady didn’t hand over his phone, which equates to deliberate refusal to cooperate with the investigation.
“I look at it this way,” Florio said. “This investigation is dead without the text messages exchanged by Larry and Curly [John Jastremski and Jim McNally], they’re dead. They don’t have enough evidence to do anything based on the science. The science is junk on this, the text messages are what allowed them to come to the conclusion that something happened that shouldn’t have happened.
“So what’s Tom hiding on his phone?” he continued. “He’s deliberately choosing conduct detrimental to the league, that’s what it is to fail to cooperate with this investigation, per se, conduct detrimental to the league. He’s choosing that. So if he’s choosing that, what would have happened if he’d gone the other path and surrendered the text messages and emails, what’s hiding on his phone?”
|Mike Florio on MFB: ‘Was this about the integrity of the game, or was this about catching the Patriots?’||05.07.15 at 12:02 pm ET|
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com joined Middays with MFB Thursday to talk about the Wells Report, which was released on Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Florio notes the league was aware of the Colts raising concerns of the pressure of the footballs prior to the game, which raises the question, was it actually about catching the Patriots?
“Here’s the thing that bothers me the most on this and I can’t get beyond this,” said Florio. “The Colts let the NFL know of their concerns of the possible deflation of footballs and the days before the AFC championship game. Multiple league executives knew about it — setting aside for now someone should have told the commissioner who then could have called Bill Belichick and said, ‘If this is going on knock it off.’ Which would have avoided the entire probably for everyone assuming Belichick had complied.
“Let’s set that aside for now, fast forward to the game. Referee Walt Anderson is aware of the concern and then for the first time in Walt Anderson’s 19 years as an NFL official he looses the balls before the game. He can’t find the footballs. When he finds the footballs, knowing there is a concern about possible tampering with the air pressure in the footballs, he order that the balls be taken back to the officials locker room and tested then. Not, necessary for evidence against the Patriots, but to ensure they are at least 12.5 PSI because we need to respect the integrity of the AFC championship. We can’t knowingly allow balls deflated below 12.5 PSI to be used. They don’t do that. Thats what he should have done. It’s amazing to be that wasn’t done.
“So was this about the integrity of the game, or was this about catching the Patriots? That evidence there tells me it was about catching the Patriots.”
As for what might happen to Tom Brady, Florio’s best guess is the quarterback will be suspended four games.
“I haven’t heard anything specific yet and Tom Brady is going to have a chance to go in and convince Troy Vincent, the executive VP of football operations, that it shouldn’t be whatever otherwise it will be,” Florio said. “He still has a chance to come clean and provide that information and allow that information to be complete. If he doesn’t, they are going to presume whatever he is keeping from them would make it worse not better. I keep coming back to four games. Because isn’t that the standard punishment we hear? Marijuana, multiple violations — four-game suspension. First offense for steroids — four-game suspension. Could be more, but four games sounds right to me.”
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