The Commish vs. The Quarterback: Setting the Stage for the Next Labor Dispute in the NFL
After the Patriots’ crushing defeat in Super Bowl LII, the conversation has focused on whether perennial MVP Quarterback Tom Brady’s “Hail Mary” pass in the dwindling seconds of the game will be his last.
However, Tom Brady’s contributions to professional football are not limited to his on-the-field play. Significantly, Brady’s involvement in the Deflategate Scandal will continue to impact the National Football League (NFL) long after he decides to hang up his cleats. As a result of Deflategate, Brady was handed a four-game suspension for his awareness of Patriots’ personnel tampering with game day footballs, and his part in obstructing a subsequent investigation into the infraction. Before ultimately serving his suspension in 2016, Brady and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) challenged the league’s discipline decision through the NFL grievance procedure and in federal court. Now, three years removed, the pertinent question is not whether Brady’s suspension was valid, but rather how a case that almost reached the U.S. Supreme Court altered the legal landscape of the league.
The Commish vs. The Quarterback: Setting the Stage for the Next Labor Dispute in the NFL published this month in the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal examines Brady’s discipline appeal and its lasting effects not only on the NFL, but also modern interpretation of law governing labor arbitrations. Additionally, the article contemplates how Deflategate has impacted subsequent NFL discipline cases as well as the relationship between the NFL and the NFLPA. This relationship will be of particular importance over the next several years as both sides engage in negotiations over the league’s collective bargaining agreement which expires after the 2020 season.