Lawyers for New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell argued the star QB’s role in last winter’s deflate gate scandal and subsequent four game suspension in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.
They did not reach an agreement, and are due back in court on Aug. 19.
The civil sentencing conference was presided by Judge Richard Berman, who was pressing for both sides to settle the suspension controversy before it reached his courtroom.
“Some like them inflated more, some less,” Berman said of Brady’s balls.
At issue is whether the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement was violated, which Goodell’s lawyers said was followed “completely,” said lawyer Daniel Nash.
Brady’s lawyers maintained that there was no direct evidence that tied Brady to the football being deflated, and maintained that the quarterback would have turned over emails and destroyed text messages had he been told he would have been punished for not doing so.
“If anyone said turn over the emails, he would have done so,” said Brady’s attorney Jeffrey Kessler.
The Goodell and Brady camps sat at separate tables, Brady behind Goodell, and both teams met privately in Judge Berman’s chambers.
Before the hearing, Brady fans and foes gathered outside the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse in lower Manhattan, waiting for him to arrive.
“Tom Brady is the greatest thing in existence,” said Mike Wanders, 26, of Queens, who wore a Brady jersey.
A handful of what seemed to be Brady adversaries wore plush, deflated football hats across the street from the courthouse. The hat wearers, however, were hawking the wares on behalf of Airheadzzz, LLC, a company that sells Deflategate hats.
“I want to know if he really did it,” said Enid Peralta, 37, of the Bronx, who was wearing one of the deflate gate hats. “I’m interested in the integrity of the game,” said the Giants fan.
Richie Campos, an ironwoker on a coffee break, said Brady had no choice but to fight the four game suspension.
“If he doesn’t fight, it’s going to seem like he did know, and like he looks guilty, so he doesn’t look like a cheater” said Campos, from Far Rockaway.
Inside the courthouse, a few fans settled in for the hearing in an overflow room. Trevor Schramm, 20, had to turn his “Free Tom brady” T-shirt inside out to get in.
“We’ve got to defend the wall, somehow, we have to support our boy,” said Schramm, who took time out of his New York City vacation to attend the suspension conference.
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