Home' South Florida Times : SFT 052115 Contents 8A | MAY 21 --- 27, 2015 | SOUTH FLORIDA TIMES | SFLTIMES.COM
By JIMMY GOLEN
AP Sports Writer
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. --- This
is no longer about deflated foot-
Tom Brady signaled in his
appeal of his "Deflategate" sus-
pension that he will put NFL
Commissioner Roger Goodell's
credibility on trial, further inflat-
ing the stakes in what started as
a silly little scandal about the air
pressure in footballs.
The expected federal court
case _ and, to borrow a phrase,
it's more probable than not that's
just where it's headed _ could
define or limit the powers of the
commissioner long after the Su-
per Bowl MVP returns to the field.
"I think this is much bigger
than a four-game suspension for
Tom Brady," said Gabe Feldman,
a Tulane Law School professor
and the director of the Sports
Law Program there. "This is part
of that continuing battle for the
role of the commissioner in dis-
"This is a decades-old princi-
pal, that the office of the commis-
sioner was created in part to pro-
tect the game and to determine
what's in the best interest of the
league. This is why (the league)
bargained for this back in 2011
- that the commissioner is in the
best position to determine that."
A four-time Super Bowl cham-
pion and the face of the most
successful NFL franchise of this
century, Brady was suspended
four games after a league inves-
tigation found he was "at least
generally aware" of a scheme to
illegally deflate footballs used in
the AFC title game. NFL executive
vice president Troy Vincent also
fined the New England Patriots
$1 million and took away two draft
picks. The Patriots accepted both
team penalties on Tuesday.
Brady has denied any
impropriety, and the NFL
Players Association appealed
the suspension this week in a
three-page letter that demanded
Goodell recuse himself as the
hearing officer. Loading the
letter with references to NFL
decisions that were overturned
or otherwise botched, union
lawyers laid the groundwork for
a court case that would take the
decision out of his hands.
"They clearly are teeing
up some of the issues that they
would be following up on ap-
peal," Paul Kelly, the former ex-
ecutive director of the NHL play-
ers union, said in an interview
with The Associated Press.
Here are some of the issues
that will have to be settled before
Deflategate goes away:
The collective bargaining
agreement gives Goodell the
right to hear the appeal, and it
also says only the commissioner
can punish players for
conduct detrimental to
The union is try-
ing to use these two
provisions to litigate
Goodell into a corner:
If he delegates his au-
thority to punish play-
ers, it's invalid; if he
does it himself, he is
no longer impartial
enough to handle the
held little sway with
Goodell, who decided
to hear the appeal
himself anyway. It
might work with a
federal judge, but
there's one prob-
the players gave
that away," Kelly said. "If they
don't like the results from the
upcoming Goodell appeal
hearing, they're pretty well
stuck with it."
The union seemed to de-
light in reminding Goodell
and Vincent of their recent
losses in federal court, in-
cluding overturned punish-
ments for the New Orleans
Saints in the bounty investiga-
tion and in domestic abuse cases
against Adrian Peterson and Ray
But Feldman said Goodell
seems to have avoided some of
those mistakes in Deflategate. By
delegating the investigation to
Wells and the punishment to Vin-
cent, Goodell may have preserved
his independence sufficiently to
preside over the appeal.
"The NFL has clearly learned
from all of the cases that have
come before that ... to protect
the decision if it comes to federal
court," Feldman said. "I think the
NFL made a clear effort here to
remove that conflict."
Kelly wasn't convinced.
Even though different people
made the decisions, he said,
it's not clear they were truly
"Goodell hires Ted Wells and
his firm, pays them an exorbitant
sum, supports publicly Troy
Vincent's finding and sanction
and now is going be the final
arbiter of the matter, unless the
court gets involved," he said.
"That's what annoys the players.
There isn't a truly objective fact-
In many ways, though, the
hearing in front of Goodell is
Brady's best shot.
The commissioner can take a
fresh look at the evidence and, if
he wants, reject the conclusions
in the Wells Report. He can ask
for new information and consid-
er it as well.
"The commissioner is cer-
tainly not bound by those find-
ings,'' Feldman said. "But the
NFL has to provide the players
with the rights that they bar-
If Brady winds up in court,
the judge wouldn't second-
guess the league on its policies
and procedures but only make
sure they are followed.
"The decision of the arbitra-
tor is entitled to substantial def-
erence and is to be overturned
only if it is found to be arbitrary
and capricious, unsupported
by evidence, or tainted in some
way," Kelly said.
Those are all claims that the
union is making.
standard,"Kelly said. "It's difficult
'Deflategate' appeal could test
powers of NFL commissioner
PHOTO COURTESY OF ONLYAGAME.UBUR.ORG
Marlins' Dee Gordon
By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer
MIAMI --- Major league batting
leader Dee Gordon goes about his
business so quietly his .426 average
was news to Atlanta Braves manager
Gonzalez was startled to discover
the eye-popping statistic while prepar-
ing for the start of his team's weekend
series against Gordon and the Miami
Marlins. The teams are NL East rivals,
but Gonzalez said he was unaware of
Gordon's hitting tear because the Mar-
lins spent the past week on the West
Spread the news: The speedy Gor-
don began the weekend with a lead of
59 points over the second-best hitter in
the majors, the Dodgers' Adrian Gon-
zalez at .367.
Gordon also led the majors with 58
hits. It has been 56 years since a play-
er had more hits through his first 32
games, according to STATS.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ZIMBIO.COM
MIAMI --- Right-hander Mat Latos left the
Miami Marlins' game against Atlanta in the
fourth inning Saturday with a bruised left
shin after being hit by a line drive.
X-rays were negative, but Latos said
there was swelling and a knot on his shin. He
walked out of the clubhouse using a crutch
and was noncommittal about whether he'll
be able to make his next scheduled start.
He crumpled face down on the turf af-
ter being hit by Cameron Maybin's liner.
After being examined by a trainer, he rose,
limped off the field and hopped down the
"From where it hit me all the way down,
it was numb," he said. "When I got the feel-
ing back is when it really started hurting."
Latos was replaced by right-hander
Tom Koehler, making his first relief appear-
ance since 2013. Koehler was sent before
the game to the bullpen to make room in the
rotation for right-hander Henderson Alvarez,
who will be activated from the disabled list
to start Sunday.
PHOTO COURTESY OF FISHSTRIPES.COM
PHOTO COURTESY OF BLEACHERREPORT.COM
MIAMI --- Miami Marlins opening day starter
Henderson Alvarez will rejoin the rotation Sun-
day when he starts against the Atlanta Braves.
The right-hander has been sidelined since
April 12 with right shoulder and elbow inflam-
mation. Right-hander Tom Koehler, who had
been scheduled to start Sunday, will move to
the bullpen and be used in important situations,
manager Mike Redmond said.
Alvarez is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts
Right-hander Jarred Cosart, who left his
most recent start with a cramp in his right thigh,
said he felt fine throwing a bullpen session
and running sprints Saturday. He's expected to
make his next scheduled start Tuesday against
Koehler, who is 2-3 with a 4.29 ERA, pitched
three scoreless innings Saturday against the
Braves in his first relief appearance since 2013.
He conceded he was a little disappointed to be
dropped from the rotation.
"It hits your pride a little bit," he said. "But I
understand it's what the team needs right now. I
want to help this team win any way I can."
Redmond is eager to improve a relief corps
that ranks 24th in the majors with an ERA of 4.59.
Alvarez to rejoin Marlins'
rotation Sunday against Braves
PHOTO COURTESY OF STANDINGOSPORTS.COM
Links Archive SFT 051415 SFT 052815 Navigation Previous Page Next Page