Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Goodell's Last Stand

Way back in November, the Colts made a complaint to the league about New England's footballs.  In January, after losing the divisional playoff to the Patriots, the Ravens tipped off Indianapolis about the same thing.  But then a week later, at halftime in the AFC Championship Game, the Colts were down 17-7.  And when the referees switched to their balls in the second half, the Colts went up--in flames--28-0.

Before the fire was out, the rout was forgotten, and the Patriots were in trouble and severely punished for arson without air.  Now the league of extraordinary gentlemen has turned a Saturday Night Live skit into a Federal case.  They are obsessed with the law.  But he who laughs last laughs best.  And that may not be the NFL.

In the commentaries on the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton consistently refers to "the courts of justice" whose power extends "to all cases in law and equity, arising under the Constitution and the laws of the United States."  (The Federalist Papers, No. 78 regarding Article III, Section 2, Clause 1; emphasis his)

"What equitable causes can grow out of the Constitution and laws of the United States?  There is hardly a subject of litigation between individuals, which may not involve those ingredients of fraud, accident, trust, or hardship, which would render the matter an object of equitable rather than of legal jurisdiction....  It is the peculiar province, for instance, of a court of equity to relieve against what are called hard bargains: these are contracts in which, though there may have been no direct fraud or deceit, sufficient to invalidate them in a court of law, yet there may have been some undue and unconscionable advantage taken of the necessities or misfortunes of one of the parties, which a court of equity would not tolerate."  (The Federalist Papers, No. 80; emphasis his)

Thus, the American judiciary exists to "establish justice," which depends upon truth.  And if Judge Berman falls asleep reading The Federalist Papers, the Commissioner should be alarmed.  For even if one accepts the Wells Report as gospel, the NFL allowed a violation of the rules to occur.  The Patriots then paid a $1 million fine, lost a first and a fourth round draft pick, and their quarterback faces a four game suspension.  But Brady was not in the bathroom wearing a Mission Impossible mask.  So, indeed, there may have been some undue and unconscionable advantage taken of one of the parties; and at best, given the benefit of the doubt, the NFL is technically right but totally wrong.

(c) 2015 Marvin D. Jones.  All rights reserved.