The NFL has hired one of the most successful appellate attorney in the United States to fight the decision that reversed Tom Brady's four-game suspension.
Paul Clement, who has argued more U.S. Supreme Court cases than any other lawyer, filed papers on behalf of the NFL on Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. Clement, who also defended the NFL in the class-action concussion lawsuit, has argued in the nation's highest court against Obamacare and in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, among other cases.
In early September, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell used "his own brand of industrial justice" to discipline Brady for an alleged conspiracy to deflate footballs.
The league argues in its brief that Goodell acted within his discretion under the CBA to suspend Brady.
Brady and the NFLPA are due to respond in December, with Clement and the league offering a final response after that. A decision is expected in the spring.
Goodell, in an appearance Tuesday on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike, reiterated that the NFL's decision to appeal is all about the league's rights in the CBA.
"I'm not spending any time on this issue, but it is important for us to know what we bargained for, what we agreed to in our collective bargaining agreement and make sure those processes that are agreed to in our collective bargaining agreement are followed," he said. "And so, we're not going to allow that kind of a decision to stand when we think it's in conflict with our collective bargaining agreement. That is the issue. It has nothing to do with any individual player or anyone else. It has something to do with Judge Berman's decision, and that's what we're appealing."