When Tom Brady gave up his DeflateGate fight in July, he authorized the NFL Players Association to continue on without him. But on the eve of Brady's return from his four-game suspension, the NFLPA decided to not appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
"After consultation with Tom Brady and our appellate counsel, we have decided to not pursue additional appeals in this matter," the NFLPA's statement read.
It seemed all but certain the NFLPA would exhaust all of its legal options in this matter given its desire to strip disciplinary power from commissioner Roger Goodell. When a federal appeals court reinstated Brady's ban in the spring, Goodell's authority was upheld.
"We hold that the commissioner properly exercised this broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness," the majority opinion said. "Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the district court and remain with instructions to confirm the award."
Once that ruling was issued, the NFL no longer had any incentive to work out a deal that would strip power from the commissioner's office. But a Supreme Court ruling that deemed Goodell overstepped his bounds when suspending Brady for deflated footballs would've probably given the NFLPA a lot of leverage heading into the next round of collective bargaining negotiations.
Given the long odds of the Supreme Court accepting the appeal, however, the NFLPA apparently felt it was best to move on to another battle. There are a lot of other issues to address in the next CBA besides the disciplinary process, which now seems to be firmly under Goodell's control.