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NFL Management Council v. NFL Players Association

On April 25, 2016, Bancroft secured reversal of a district court decision vacating the NFL Commissioner’s 4-game suspension of Tom Brady for his involvement in a scheme to deflate game balls before the 2015 AFC Championship Game.  The Commissioner issued the suspension under a provision in the NFL collective bargaining agreement that grants him authority to discipline players for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of, or public confidence in, the game of professional football,” and to serve as the arbitrator in “conduct detrimental” cases.  In NFL Management Council v. NFL Players Association, 820 F.3d 527 (2nd Cir. 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the Labor Management Relations Act required the district court to confirm the Commissioner’s arbitration decision upholding Brady’s suspension because the Commissioner “properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and … his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness.”  Paul D. Clement argued the appeal in the Second Circuit, and Erin E. Murphy and Michael H. McGinley assisted with the briefing.

Opinion