There's a article up at BJOL. It dissects BradyGate at a level which is several plateaus above anything else you'll read on it. James methodically demonstrates that Roger Goodell made 11 separate questionable lapses in judgment/process before he got to the point where he decided to suspend Brady. If you haven't yet broken down and spent the measly $3 per month to get his stuff, now's a good time to do so.
Of course, Bill also did this very thing with respect to Bart Giamatti and Pete Rose. It turned out later that Rose was VERY guilty, and that Giamatti knew this, and that the only problem lay in Giamatti's (public) documentation of Rose's guilt.
And before getting into it, lemme ask Mojician a real-world legal question. To what extent are you confident that the NY judge was himself fair in his legal review? Ruth Bader Ginsburg is very, very predictable in her political/legal decisions. If gay marriage comes before her, there is zero question, BEFORE the evidence is presented, how she will rule. Should I look at a New York judge this way? Or can I be 80%, 90% confident that he gives a fair effort to sorting the argument as he best can? I'd love to have your take Counselor on your attitude if you go into that court to argue one side or the other.
Anyway ... it's a tremendous article, but let me re-print the questions I just asked on his site:
Hey Bill. Good stuff. Particularly enjoy your thoughts when it pertains to this general territory. In my mind, you'd be an interesting nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court, at least a couple of hundred years ago when the legal resumes were more negotiable. You've got a unique blend of logic, fairness, and perspective. This article is great.
That said, I'm *wondering* whether the article is "true but not accurate" as they say at Boeing. I loved your defense of Pete Rose, because it was the only even-handed, presume-innocence voice at the time. But as it turns out, Rose was kind of a bad guy, and Giamatti knew it. Giamatti's written arguments against Rose of course had (these kind of) holes in them, but sitting at Ground Zero is it not possible that Giamatti had a feel for the situation that we lacked?
With all respect, I'm wondering whether NFL owners may have gotten tired of the Patriots' cheating (?) shenanigans, and whether they all agreed that it was time to bring down the Invisible Hammer. I'd be interested in your (famously even-handed) take as to this POSSIBILITY.
I didn't, and don't, care about Brady's ability to grip the football in the rain. But the Patriots' fumble rates have been extraordinary the last several years, and *that* is huge.
I also care that Brady looks the camera in the eye and says that he didn't know squat. The ballboys are there to say Yes Sir Mr. Brady Sir or they get replaced. Aaron Rodgers and others have spoken to the idea that the ballboys are extensions of Brady's will. I suspect that this is common knowledge around the NFL, and that among NFL insiders, Brady's denials are preposterous, like an ML player claiming he didn't know his bat was corked.
Again, appreciate the sterling analysis. Mostly just seeking your take on a (hypothetical) situation in which a guilty verdict is hard to document by the P's and Q's, but in which the people at Ground Zero know good and well what is going on.
Addendum to the previous, re: 'Fairness and Due Process.'
1. I agree that Bill has documented, here, that there were serious holes in Goodell's adherence to the process.
2. In the 30,000-foot view ... fairness is fairness. Agree with that too. But would add that there comes a point to which "fairness" means a different thing for a defendant in a murder trial, than it does to a boss who is evaluating whether to keep me on as an employee in his company. In the latter case, the boss's judgment is a factor; in a murder trial it's not.
The process included the idea that Goodell was/is an arbitrator, and apparently that's in keeping with the CBA. I don't know whether it's appropriate for us to call for the total elimination of Goodell's judgment as a factor here.
But then again, I don't know anything about unions or CBA's. Just from a bleacher-bum point of view, I personally would like to see SOMEBODY (in any pro sport) have discretion as to whether Joe Shlabotnik is a bad guy and deserves to be rebuked for it. Without having to hit the standards used in a criminal trial.
3. I agree that the NFL is itself highly suspect as it pertains to fairness. It's easy to visualize them just getting ticked off at somebody and deciding to ruin them. Am not naive about that.
But as a general rule, if you DO have a team that is continually "breaking code" about cheating and integrity, I do think that the league should retain an Invisible Hammer it can bring down.
Suppose some team or player really were spitting in the water hole? Do you ever want the commish to be able to slap them down for it?