Third meeting for Brady and Goodell. This marks the third time that Brady and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have been in court for settlement talks. To this point, there has been limited, if any, momentum toward a settlement despite the urging of Judge Richard M. Berman.
Sides asked for a ruling by Sept. 4. Brady/NFL Players Association and Goodell/NFL jointly asked Berman to issue a decision by Sept. 4, so in football terms, we're in the red zone. Berman might ultimately decide he needs more time, or he could "rule from the bench" as early as today.
NFL has been put on defensive by Berman. In the first two rounds of settlement talks, Berman was more aggressive in his questioning of the NFL. Some legal experts have cautioned reading too much into it, noting that sometimes a judge will do that to the side that is viewed to have the stronger legal position in hopes of moving them toward a settlement. Others read into Berman's aggressive questioning of the NFL as a good sign for Brady. An additional thought: Perhaps Berman has been more aggressive questioning the NFL because the league brought the case to his court asking for confirmation of its decision. By doing so, perhaps it raises a judge's level of scrutiny as to why the case is being filed in the first place.
NFL's primary argument. Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement gives Goodell the authority to levy such a punishment based on his view of a violation on the integrity and public confidence of the game. The league has noted that "under the law, [Goodell's] judgment can not be disturbed." Indeed, there is a high standard required for a judge to overturn an arbitration decision.
Brady's primary argument: He had a lack of notice that he would be subject to the NFL's "Integrity of the Game" policy, which is different than applicable player-based policies. Also, the decision to suspend him was an unfair process led by an "evidently partial arbitrator", which included NFL general counsel Jeff Pash editing the Wells report and then being hid by the league as a witness at Brady's appeal hearing.
Without a settlement, process could extend with appeals. If the sides don't reach a settlement, and Berman issues a ruling, both sides have options with appeals. Should Brady lose, for example, that doesn't mean he automatically serves his suspension. He could file for an injunction that allows him to keep playing until the appeal is heard. Should the NFL lose, it could also appeal in hopes of having the decision reversed. So while this part of the process in U.S. District appears to be nearing its end, the overall process could continue for months and possibly years.