NFL Forgets About Brady's Deflated Football Appeal: Sports Line

  • Waiting for Goodell to decide on appeal of punishment he gave
  • NFL has losing record when decisions are reviewed by outsiders

We all were riveted this spring by the NFL report into the New England Patriots’ adventures in football air pressure.

With five days remaining before Patriots veterans report to training camp, we’re still waiting for a resolution. That’s not fair.

The story so far: Tom Brady took umbrage at being called a cheater by the National Football League, hired himself some fancy lawyers and appealed Commissioner Roger Goodell’s four-game suspension over his involvement in the deflated-ball controversy. In logic that works only for people who bash their heads together for a living, Goodell was allowed to hear the appeal of his own decision.

It’s been about a month since that hearing, and there is no end in sight. Goodell this week said at a fundraiser near Pittsburgh that there’s no timetable for a decision, and the league wants to be thorough, according to the Tribune-Review.

However it winds up, if Brady isn’t happy with the result, he can take it to court.

Goodell hasn’t had much luck when other people review his decisions, especially with high-profile cases. Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Greg Hardy had his domestic abuse ban cut to four games from 10 by an arbitrator. A federal judge threw out the commissioner’s indefinite suspension of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson following his conviction in an abuse case involving his 4-year-old son. Even Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension was overturned by an arbitrator. Given that record, it’s possible that the lawyers are trying to work out a settlement.

So Brady, the Patriots and we lowly fans wait. Some conspiracy theorists wonder whether the NFL is waiting for the last minute before training camp, hoping that Brady will just want to get the matter behind him so he won’t take the league to a real court.

Waiting makes the NFL seem rudderless. A league built on the bumps, bruises and blood of 1,700 large, angry men needs a decisive leader. The fans want to know if the quarterback who won four Super Bowls is going to play at the start of the season.

This appeal is simple. The guy who decided on the penalty was essentially asked “Are you sure?” That should have been answered by now.

***

New Yorkers like the Mets more than the Yankees, at least when it comes to buying tickets on the secondary market.

A higher percentage of New Yorkers bought secondary market tickets for Mets games than Yankees games this season, 32 percent to 30 percent, according to a study by secondary ticket marketplace Vivid Seats. The Yankees, however, own New Jersey, where they lead the Philadelphia Phillies, 26 percent to 23 percent, according to data from the Chicago-based company, which has processed more than $1 billion in ticket transactions since it was founded in 2001.
Elsewhere in big-league rivalry cities, the Chicago Cubs won Illinois, but over the St. Louis Cardinals, not the White Sox, 42 to 21 percent. The Los Angeles Dodgers won California over the San Francisco Giants, 60 to 21 percent. Neither the Los Angeles Angels nor the Oakland Athletics were in the top two anywhere.

Do remember, this reflects secondary market tickets: Fans buying from people who already have them and don’t want to go to the game and are selling either to make a profit when there is high demand, or are dumping them because they would rather stay at home and wash their hair. In actual attendance, the Yankees are averaging 40,200 per home game, through Wednesday, according to Baseball-Reference.com. The Mets, 29,300. Mets fans, however, probably have great hair.

***

Remember Freddy Adu? He was LeBron James in 2003.

Back then, he was an American wunderkind -- in soccer, no less -- who was 13 years old when he got what the Washington Post said was a $1 million endorsement deal from Nike Inc. He joined Major League Soccer six months later, and made his first appearance with D.C. United in 2004 at the age of 14. At one point, the U.K. press said he was coveted by the likes of Manchester United. He also had endorsement deals with Campbell Soup Co. and PepsiCo Inc.’s Sierra Mist before he was old enough to drive.

Adu, now 26, signed with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League last week after bouncing around the sport for the past decade or so. He appeared on the U.S. men’s national team as recently as 2011 when he played for the MLS Philadelphia Union. Prior to joining the Rowdies, he was on Kuopio Futis-98 in Finland.

Adu says he decided to join the Rowdies because of coach Thomas Rongen, whom Adu played for on the U.S. under-20 World Cup team. “Every time I’ve played under him, I’ve played my best,” Adu told the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s just the kind of personality, he allows you to be you, and that’s one thing I badly need right now.”

This weekend, when Sports Line and maybe you are stuck in traffic on the way to the beach, let’s pass the time with a nice daydream: How would things be different if Adu developed into the dynamic attacker that smart soccer people thought he would be a dozen years ago. Tim Howard, the U.S. goalkeeper with the valiant and futile World Cup performance last summer, might just be a footnote.

Then again, Adu is only 26. Cristiano Ronaldo is 30. Now let’s stop dreaming and pay attention to the road before we inch past our exit.

***

Set within its own park with views over the Alps and Lake Zurich, the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich has promised discreet luxury to the world’s rich for decades.

Discreet ended the morning of May 27.

Police marched in during the wee hours, woke up a bunch of FIFA executives who were enjoying the hotel’s more than 170 years of top-flight hospitality, and led six of them away.

“What happened in May, it made a lot of regular guests, not only FIFA guests, uncomfortable because all of a sudden in the morning they woke up and they saw people were being arrested from this hotel,” said Michael Schibler, the Baur au Lac’s executive assistant manager, as a burly security guard stood nearby. A doorman in a pressed white suit and matching hat pushed a revolving door for members of FIFA’s executive committee who were arriving for a meeting this week.

Police raids are not standard operating procedure for a hotel like this. It has Michelin-starred cuisine and suites at $4,000 a night. Since opening its doors in 1844, the hotel has been a favorite for European royals including German Emperor Wilhelm II. It boasts of being a revolving door for artists and musicians, listing tenor Placido Domingo and Joan Miro on its website.

No mention that it’s FIFA’s favorite, however.

Schibler said the hotel isn’t considering telling troublesome guests to take their business elsewhere. FIFA can stay. It did upgrade security.

“It is not a matter of the Baur au Lac to say you can not come or you can come,” he said. “We just could tell after what happened at the end of May that we have to protect the rest of the guests.”

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