U.S. judge orders NFL, union talk settlement in Brady case

Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:29pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond and Steve Ginsburg

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has ordered the National Football League and its players union to hold settlement talks later on Tuesday in a court battle over star quarterback Tom Brady's "Deflategate" suspension.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan in a court order on Tuesday requested that both sides "engage in further good faith settlement efforts" before a court hearing on Wednesday.

The New England Patriots quarterback was suspended for four games over his alleged role in a scheme to deflate footballs in the Patriots' 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in a January playoff game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed Brady's suspension on July 28.

The judge, who has been pushing for a settlement, said he would meet privately with the parties on Wednesday for an update on their talks before a previously scheduled hearing.

It's unclear if a deal can be reached. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy on Tuesday said in an email to Reuters the league "has been, and will continue to comply with the judge's order."

George Atallah, a National Football Players Association spokesman, declined to discuss the settlement talks.

Ted Wells, an attorney hired by the NFL to investigate how the footballs were inflated below league standards, placed the blame on two Patriots employees but said that Brady was "at least generally aware" of the plan.

An under-inflated football is easier to grip for a quarterback, especially in raw outdoor conditions like January's American Football Conference title game outside of Boston.   Continued...

Aug 6, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) scrambles during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports