For the NFL, three big missteps under the law
The Boston Globe - 09/04/2015
Roger I. Abrams, a sports law professor at Northeastern who has served as an arbitrator for Major League Baseball contract disputes, said the “notice” argument alone won the case for Brady. The NFL tried to penalize Brady under policies that are handed out to team executives and personnel, but not players. The only penalty on record for players tampering with equipment is a fine for $5,512.
For the NFL to try to justify Brady’s four-game suspension by equating it with a four-game steroid suspension was preposterous, both to Berman and to some legal experts.
“It’s basic arbitration law that an employer cannot win before an arbitrator unless the employee has notice that what he did violated some standard,” Abrams said. “It seems that the NFL was making up the rules as they were going along. And instead, they go grabbing the steroid policy, which is not just apples and oranges, it’s fruits and vegetables.”