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Michael McCann: Reported deadline for league needing to schedule Tom Brady’s Deflategate hearing a ‘non-issue’ 05.25.15 at 9:59 pm ET
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According to the Associated Press, Tom Brady‘s appeal of his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate won’t be heard by Wednesday, which was initially believed to be the 10-day deadline for the hearing to be held.

However, late Monday night, there was some confusion about the overall timeline. In an e-mail with, legal analyst Michael McCann said that May 27 deadline for the hearing that was reported is questionable for a few reasons, but is ultimately a “non-issue” and won’t have a sizable impact on the proceedings.

“I’m not sure May 27 is the deadline, when the appeal appears to have been filed on May 14, and 10 business days from that would be Friday, May 29 — since it doesn’t include the day it was filed, or Memorial Day,” said McCann, who is also the founding Director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

“Also, usually in an event like this when a party has a right to a deadline, that deadline is considered voluntarily waived or postponed when that party takes an action that could cause delay,” McCann added. “Here, the NFLPA petitioned commissioner Roger Goodell to recuse himself. That would seem to give him grounds to take longer than normal.

“My expectation is this deadline proves to be a non-issue.”

In addition to the four-game suspension for Brady, the Patriots were also fined $1 million and stripped them of a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017 for their role in Deflategate.

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Report: Roger Goodell will hear Tom Brady appeal after NFL rejects NFLPA motion 05.22.15 at 4:30 pm ET
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According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL rejected the NFLPA motion that Roger Goodell recuse himself from Tom Brady‘s appeal.

This means Goodell will hear Brady’s appeal, which goes against what Brady and the NFLPA wanted. The date for the appeal reportedly hasn’t been set.

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NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith questions independence of Wells Report at 3:08 pm ET
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NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith came out against the Wells Report Friday. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

NFLPA chief De Maurice Smith came out against the Wells Report Friday. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Speaking for the first time since the release of the Wells Report and the subsequent punishments meted out to the Patriots, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith hammered back at the league Friday afternoon, questioning whether or not Ted Wells was truly autonomous in his work.

“You can’t really have credibility just because you slap the word independent on a piece of paper,” Smith told ESPN.

He added: “I think the Wells Report delivered exactly what the client wanted.”

Smith also noted some of the inconsistencies in the report, saying that one part of the document credits the memory of referee Walt Anderson, while another section questioned Anderson’s recollection. He also took issue with the way it was written.

“The first thing that jumps out at you about the report is how negotiated the language is,” he said.

Smith said he does not know if there is some sort of agreement in place between commissioner Roger Goodell and Patriots owner Bob Kraft that included Kraft dropping his fight against in the league in exchange for Goodell reducing or eliminating the suspension of Brady. While Brady’s appeal is pending, a report from Pro Football Talk on Friday indicated that no date had been set for that meeting.

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Read More: Bob Kraft, Deflategate, DeMaurice Smith, roger goodell
Bill Polian on MFB: Robert Kraft has ‘always been the NFL’s leading citizen’ at 12:20 pm ET
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ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian, a frequent critic of the Patriots, joined the Middays with MFB crew on Friday to discuss Deflategate and how the Patriots are perceived around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Polian, a former longtime Colts executive, had high praise for Robert Kraft, who this week announced the Patriots would not appeal their punishment for Deflategate.

“I think it’s just typical of Mr. Kraft. He’s always been the NFL’s leading citizen. He’s a leader in every way. He’s a guy who thinks about the league first, last and always,” Polian said. “Anybody else you might be a little bit surprised by the reaction, but knowing Mr. Kraft, I’m not surprised at all. He did what was best for the league rather than his own franchise.”

As for speculation that Kraft gave in to other owners, Polian said that’s unlikely due to the Patriots owner’s standing.

“No, I don’t think so. He’s one of the leading owners in the league. There’s no one going to pressure him,” Polian said. “The bottom line is he looked at the issues and recognized that while he probably would have liked things to turn out better for the Patriots in the long run, what’s important for the league is what ultimately counts. That attitude was called ‘league think,’ that phrase created, at least to my knowledge, by Pete Rozelle. And Mr. Kraft follows it to the letter.”

Polian said the issue is not about what did or did not happen, but whether the commissioner has the right to do what he did.

“It wasn’t about the argument,” Polian said. “At this point it isn’t about the Patriots or Tom Brady, even. It’s about the commissioner’s right to handle unilaterally — and in conjunction with the rights given him in the collective bargaining agreement since 1968, and tradition dating all the way back to the Black Sox in 1919, with Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first commissioner of baseball. The commissioner has the right to handle the integrity of the game. It is his responsibility. And that responsibility extends not only to the owners and players and coaches and general managers and staff people, but to the fans as well. Because if the integrity of the game is called into question in any way, it affects the overall health of the game and standing of the game in society.

“So to take that from the commissioner is an absolutely bad precedent. And of course Round 2 of that takes place in Tom Brady‘s grievance hearing. But the fact that Mr. Kraft went ahead and accepted the commissioner’s decision is in line with the longstanding tradition of the league and is what is best for the league in the long run.”

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Roger Goodell: Robert Kraft’s decision won’t impact Tom Brady’s appeal 05.20.15 at 3:09 pm ET
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Commissioner Roger Goodell discussed Deflategate and the Patriots Wednesday afternoon. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Commissioner Roger Goodell discussed Deflategate and the Patriots Wednesday afternoon. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Speaking publicly for the first time since the release of the Wells Report, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he admired the decision of Patriots owner Robert Kraft to not fight any potential punishment around Deflategate, but said the move will not have an impact when it comes to the appeal of quarterback Tom Brady.

“I look forward to hearing from Tom if there’s new information, so we can get this right,” Goodell said at the conclusion of the NFL meetings Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco.

Goodell said he had not made a decision on the NFLPA’s request to recuse himself as the hearing officer in Brady’s appeal.

“I have great admiration and respect for Tom Brady, but the rules have to be enforced on a uniform basis,” Goodell added of Brady, who is facing a four-game suspension. “Any time anyone’s suspended from a game that they love, it’s difficult.”

Goodell was not sure of a potential date for the appeal, saying that he has been focused on the business at the league meetings. He added that he looks forward to speaking with Brady, saying “the key for us” is to be able to allow for any information that Brady and the reps have when it comes to the story to be added.

Goodell also indicated that while he anticipates changes in the pregame protocol when it comes to how footballs will be handled, those changes have yet to be put in place.

He was also asked if the NFL told the Patriots to suspend two team employees, Jim McNally and John Jastremski for their role, and Goodell answered, “No.”

On Tuesday, Kraft said he would “reluctantly” accept the penalties imposed by the league after the investigation into the team’s use of underinflated footballs in last year’s AFC title game — a $1 million fine, and the loss of draft picks in 2016 (first round) and 2017 (fourth round).

The commissioner praised Kraft for his decision.

“The decision Robert made was his decision,” said the commissioner. “I admire and respect Robert, as you all know. We’ve had plenty of discussions over the last couple of weeks, and this was his initiative and something he wanted to do, and I certainly admire the step he took.”

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Mike Florio on D&C: Robert Kraft ‘not going to fold the tents simply in exchange for nothing’ at 10:16 am ET
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Mike Florio

Mike Florio’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.”

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Read More: Deflategate, Mike Florio, Robert Kraft, roger goodell
Robert Kraft: Patriots will ‘reluctantly’ accept punishment over Deflategate 05.19.15 at 1:27 pm ET
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Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft

Expressing a desire to end the “rhetoric” between the team and Commissioner Roger Goodell over Deflategate, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Tuesday afternoon that he will “reluctantly” accept the punishment that has been given to the team.

“Although I might disagree with what is decided, I do have respect for the commissioner and believe he is doing what he believes is in the best interest of the [league],” Kraft said from the owners meetings in San Francisco. “In that spirit, I don’t want to continue the rhetoric of the last four months.”

The Patriots have been fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks for their role in Deflategate.

The franchise has been very vocal about proclaiming its innocence throughout the process, but a weary-sounding Kraft said one of the things he’s learned in his two decades as an owner is, “At no time should the agenda of one team outweigh the collective good of the whole 32.”

“I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what’s he’s given us,” Kraft said. “This is the best thing for the New England Patriots, the fans and the NFL.”

Kraft did not take questions at the end of his statement, and did not address whether or not quarterback Tom Brady would fight his four-game suspension. He’s already filed an appeal through the NFLPA.

“The one thing that we all can agree upon is that the entire process is taken way too long,” Kraft said. “I don’t think anyone can believe that after four months after the AFC championship game, we are still talking about air pressure and psi in footballs.”

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Read More: Deflategate, Robert Kraft, roger goodell, Tom Brady
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