DeMaurice Smith: Roger Goodell failed to be fair arbitrator in Tom Brady's Deflategate appeal

June 06, 2016 - 9:24 am
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[caption id="attachment_90141" align="alignright" width="350"]NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith isn't a fan of Roger Goodell when it comes to Deflategate. (Rob Carr/Getty Images) NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith isn't a fan of Roger Goodell when it comes to Deflategate. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)[/caption] NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith said that while Roger Goodell had the the authority to sit as an arbitrator in Tom Brady's case, the commissioner failed to live up to his obligation to be fair when it came to hearing Brady's appeal. "The critical issue here is that Roger can act as a disciplinarian, but once he chose to act as the arbitrator, you have to take the disciplinarian hat off and put the judge hat on," Smith said in an interview published recently with Law360. "The core fundamental part of being a judge is that you can't make it up as you go along. "The fact is that the commissioner chose to be the arbitrator in this case. I think that is something that has been a little bit lost in the conversation," Smith added. "As such, when he chose to be the hearing officer or the arbitrator, we argue that he also cloaked himself in the obligation to be fair." Smith said that this case has gone beyond the air in footballs. Now, it's about fair labor practices involving arbitrators. "At the end of the day, I'm not sure we are talking about a four-game suspension anymore," Smith said. "I read the brief that was filed by the AFL-CIO and, as a trial litigator myself, that ruling that came out of the Second Circuit raises significant issues with respect to an arbitration process that thousands of businesses use not only here but internationally. "The Second Circuit seemed to imply that it was OK for an arbitrator to act in an arbitrary way," he added. "I think you have seen an outpouring of concern by lawyers and by others because it potentially undermines the fundamental understanding that every party expects an arbitrator to be fair." For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.