Michael McCann is doubling down.
McCann, a legal expert for Sports Illustrated and a law professor at the University of New Hampshire, said over the weekend that Tom Brady is facing a “favorable picture” in the NFL’s appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman’s decision to vacate the New England Patriots quarterback’s four-game suspension related to Deflategate last September.
On Wednesday, McCann expressed more confidence in Brady’s chances of winning the case, which will be heard Thursday in a New York courtroom.
“I think the odds favor him,” McCann said on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria.” “I can’t get into the mind of the three judges — really, two of them is all that it takes to either affirm or vacate. So my instinct is that Brady probably will win. But nobody can say with certainty what’s going to happen.”
Daniel Mahoney, a longtime labor lawyer, expressed a different opinion Wednesday for the Boston Herald, saying the Second Circuit Court of Appeals will side with the NFL in the league’s appeal. His thought is that Berman focused on a statute called the Federal Arbitration Act when, really, the Labor Management Relations Act — an entirely different statute — should govern.
McCann said he understands where Mahoney is coming from. But McCann also said the Federal Arbitration Act, which was cited by the NFL Players Association, has been used in other player disputes, and that sports cases are not always tried and litigated in a way that’s consistent with other labor disputes.
“It’s like any appeal. The issues are debatable. It’s not clear-cut,” McCann said. “It really depends on how you want to interpret the law. I think, personally, Judge Berman’s decision will likely stand review. But I can understand why other minds might disagree. And his points have some weight. But I would counter that some of his points are rebuked by Tom Brady’s attorneys during the brief that will be reviewed (Thursday).
“My instinct is that Brady’s in good shape going into (Thursday’s hearing), but with a Federal Appeals Court, you never know what’s going to happen.”
Either way, it could be a while — perhaps months — before a decision comes down. And even then, the Deflategate drama still might not be over.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images
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