Jack Ford: ‘CBA Says It’s Commissioner’s Decision’

Less than 24 hours after learning that his four-game suspension was upheld, Tom Brady took to Facebook to slam the NFL’s decision and declare his innocence.

And now he’s preparing for a legal battle.

“They’ve said all along they’ll fight this at whatever level they have to go to, and that means now trying to get in probably federal court and have the union challenge the decision by Roger Goodell,” 60 Minutes Sports and CBS News Correspondent Jack Ford said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Here’s the problem with that – and people have to understand this. This is not like a normal lawsuit where I’m suing you over something and we go to court and one of us loses and the other says, ‘Okay, I’ve got a normal appellate process here, so I’m going to go to the next level and appeal this because I don’t believe this decision was right.’ That’s what we see all the time. And sometimes people will say, ‘Well, I’ll take it to the highest court in the land.’ That doesn’t usually happen, but you’ve got access to those courts and you make those arguments.

“Here’s the problem with this,” Ford continued. “And I don’t know how this is going to work out, but in terms of the logistics of this, the union (will want) to argue one of two things, and the first one will be, ‘We don’t agree with this. This is the wrong result here.’ Well, the problem with that is the collective bargaining agreement says this is the mechanism for resolving disputes, and the collective bargaining agreement that the union agreed to says this is the commissioner’s decision, it’s going to be a full and final resolution, this is over – basically whether you agree with it or not.

“The other argument the union might make that we’ve heard them talk about is, ‘Well, Roger Goodell was not an unbiased arbitrator here. He was not the (right) guy to make this final decision’ – and you could see why they would argue that. The problem, again, for them going forward is going to be the union agreed to that in the collective-bargaining agreement. They said we agree to the commissioner being the final decision-maker here. So the arguments that most people think they’re gong to advance are not going to get them there.”

So what now?

“Now, as a consequence, they have to come up with a different argument,” Ford said. “And this is what you’ve seen (be) successful sometimes – not a lot, but sometimes – in a court room where they say, ‘Okay, we know what the collective bargaining agreement says, but (the manner in which this was conducted and the standard applied by the person deciding the case) was so fundamentally unfair . . . and arbitrary that we didn’t get what we bargained for in the collective bargaining agreement.’ So it’s a different kind of thing. (It) has been successful sometimes, not a lot. But that’s the argument they’re going to have to make here.”

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