NFLPA's lawsuit over Tom Brady suspension gets unfavorable ruling
Tom Brady's lawsuit against the NFL in which he wants his four-game suspension overturned will be heard in New York instead of Minnesota.
Brady and the players union filed their suit Wednesday in Minnesota. But the NFL already had filed papers Tuesday in New York, moments after announcing that Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the suspension for Brady's involvement in the use of underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kyle, based in Minnesota, ordered the transfer.
The judge wrote that he "sees little reason for this action to have been commenced in Minnesota at all." He noted that Brady plays in Massachusetts, the union is headquartered in Washington and the NFL in New York, Kyle added that "the arbitration proceedings took place in New York and the award was issued in New York."
Jeffrey Kessler, the lead attorney for Brady and the union, wasn't concerned about this game of musical witness chairs.
"The court decided the case should be heard in New York because the NFL filed first there," he told The Associated Press in an email Thursday. "We are happy in any federal court, which unlike the arbitration before Goodell provides a neutral forum, and will now seek our injunction in the New York court."
In a footnote, Kyle said the court "strongly suspects the union filed in Minnesota because it has obtained favorable rulings from this court in the past on behalf of its members."
Kessler had said the lawsuit should be heard in Minnesota because it was related to a case involving Adrian Peterson's suspension last season. Kyle countered that the union made "only a fleeting attempt" to link the Brady case to Peterson's.
Kyle reasoned that the union's argument would mean, for example, any court that had heard a racial discrimination case against a large corporation would then hear every other racial discrimination case against that company.
"Venue simply cannot be predicated on such a thin reed," he said.
The union asked the court to throw out the suspension before Sept. 4. That would keep Brady from missing any practices before the Patriots' Sept. 10 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brady is allowed to participate in all training camp and preseason activities.
The lawsuit argues that the NFL made up its rules as it went along and misapplied the ones that were already on the books. Kessler called it "offensive" that the league accused Brady of destroying his cellphone to obstruct the inquiry by investigator Ted Wells, a claim Goodell made in upholding the suspension Tuesday.