Deflategate back in court after Brady-Goodell talks fail

Tom Brady
FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2015, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady arrives at federal court in New York. Tom Brady wasn't on the practice field with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, a day before the court hearing for the NFL and the players' union. Both sides are due in federal court for the hearing Wednesday in New York with Judge Richard M. Berman over the quarterback's four-game suspension by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returns to practice and lawyers for the NFL and its players union face a federal judge Wednesday after settlement talks failed to reach a deal in football’s deflation scandal.

Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with their lawyers faced off for about four hours in New York City on Tuesday in an 11th-hour effort to strike a deal, two sources familiar with the legal case told The Associated Press.

The failure to reach agreement in the scandal that’s become known as “Deflategate” means it is more likely that U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman will be left to decide whether the NFL acted properly when it suspended Brady for four games to start this season. A ruling was unlikely Wednesday.

The people, who spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case, said the talks occurred away from the Manhattan court handling the case. The location was not disclosed.

Lawyers already have submitted written arguments supporting their positions.

The NFL said in court papers that Goodell followed its collective bargaining agreement with players when he launched his investigation of improperly inflated footballs at New England’s 45-7 January victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game. The Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl and won.

The league said there was “ample support” in evidence for the commissioner to conclude Brady was involved in efforts by the Patriots equipment personnel to deflate footballs.

The union said in its court filing that Brady was unfairly suspended because the NFL displayed “a clearly biased agenda — not an effort at fairness and consistency.” It criticized Goodell’s ruling upholding the suspension as a “smear campaign,” a “propaganda piece written for public consumption.”

Berman ordered Brady and Goodell to appear at a hearing last week, but he has said they are not required to attend Wednesday’s arguments.

Brady planned Wednesday to be at Patriots practice in West Virginia, where New England is preparing with New Orleans Saints players for a exhibition game Saturday night.

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