A court of appeals ruling Monday reaffirmed the authority of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in matters of integrity, and in his eyes, justified the litigation that reinstated New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension.
"We are obviously pleased with the court's decision," Goodell said Tuesday on Bloomberg TV. "We think that was the right decision. They were very firm in their decision that that was within our authority and the judgments were based on solid facts. So we're actually pleased with that, and we hope we can move on from there."
The appeals court made up of a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 in favor of the NFL to overturn Second Circuit Judge Richard M. Berman's decision in September to overturn Brady's ban for his alleged role in deflating game-used footballs in the 2015 AFC Championship game and lack of cooperation with the investigation.
It is possible Brady will appeal the latest ruling. He had 14 days to determine whether to enter an objection, which would send the matter back to court some 20 months after it first began. Brady was reportedly seething over the latest turn in the off-field drama and met with his legal team.
Two legal analysts told the New York Times attorney fees for the two sides already are likely in the $17 million to $20 million range.
"We think it's important that the commissioner protect the integrity of the game, that you can't entrust that to someone who has no understanding of our business, and the appellate court yesterday reaffirmed that," Goodell said. "So we think this is an important element of our success. We obviously have changed our discipline process through the years and we will continue to do that if we think it's in the best interests of the NFL."