Brady/NFL settlement talks begin in NY

Patriots QB, the NFLPA and NFL convened in a NY Federal courtroom Wednesday morning in front of Judge Richard Berman as settlement talks continued in the #DeflateGate case. 

Brady is appealing his four-game suspension that is currently being upheld by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for Brady's alleged role in deflating footballs in the AFC Championship Game on January 18, 2015. 

Both Brady and Goodell were present in court Wednesday morning while attorneys for both sides answered questions in open court.  That came after Judge Berman met with each side separately in chambers.  The Judge has urged both sides to continue to work towards a settlement.  A second court date has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 19th. 

Here are a few exchanges, courtesy of Stephen Brown, NY Daily News Federal Court Report (@PPVSRB on Twitter) and his story

Judge Berman: "Is there any direct evidence linking Mr. Brady to tampering?"
Judge Berman: Turns out Mr. Brady did better with higher inflated balls than underinflated balls. You might say he got no competitive advantage
Berman: I’m trying to figure out what is the direct evidence that implicates Mr. Brady in that deflation…in that bathroom…on Jan. 18

Nash: "Is there a text in which Mr. Brady instructs someone to put a needle in a football? No there is not such direct evidence."
Nash: But other evidence "clearly indicates Mr. Brady’s knowledge and encouragement of this activity." Such as texts after game
Nash: "The phone was destroyed. A factfinder, in this case Mr Goodell, it’s clearly reasonable to infer is further evidence of culpability"

Berman: I don't know what to make of that finding Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the activities of" Mcnally, Jastremski.

Berman to Kessler: It looks like they...deflated the game balls? Why would either one of them do that without Mr. Brady’s consent?"
Kessler: "It is conceivable Mr. McNally thought it would be something that would be good for his QB. That makes a certain logical sense."
Kessler: After all this money, all this investigation, he couldn’t get beyond…at least he was generally aware something may have happened."

Berman: Why did Mr. Brady not cooperate with the Wells investigation, with respect to providing texts?
Kessler says Wells didn't communicate directly with Brady, establish expectation of punishment is he didn't cooperate.
Kessler says Brady didn't communicate with Wells on advice from his agent, Don Yee, who is also a lawyer.

But Kessler concedes Brady should have conducted himself differently with Wells

Kessler says Brady didn't cooperate out of privacy concerns.

Kessler has moment of clarity: Calls this "the most overblown issue" he's ever dealt with in his career.