A federal judge took a peacemaker’s role Tuesday, urging New England quarterback Tom Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to find common ground to settle differences before he lowers the gavel on a controversy over deflated footballs, the Associated Press reports.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman asked Brady and Goodell to “engage in further good faith settlement efforts” a day before they meet in Manhattan federal court for the first time.
Brady was not at Patriots training camp on Tuesday.
Two weeks ago, the NFL sued its players union, asking Berman to declare that Goodell followed the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association when he suspended Brady for four games after concluding the quarterback had to know balls were purposefully deflated.
The union countersued to block the suspension, saying a June arbitration hearing Goodell presided over was a sham and Brady was punished severely for something he was never warned about and for which there was no precedent.
Berman directed lawyers, including Brady and Goodell, to update him in private Wednesday about settlement negotiations a half hour before they appear in court.