April 01, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) The executive director of the NFL Players' Association spent a day on campus, talking to Fordham college students about business, history, law, travel and Tom Brady.

DeMaurice Smith was at the school's Rose Hill campus on Friday, and when the subject of ''Deflategate'' and the Patriots quarterback came up there was a smile and a few comments. He told the class his ''gripe'' with the league is like other issues these days, ''the inability of people to engage in a proper analytical discourse.''

Brady was suspended by the NFL for four games for his role in deflating footballs in the 2014 AFC title game. The suspension was overturned before last season but now the NFL has appealed. Also, New England was fined $1 million, and has lost two draft picks, including a first-rounder later this month.

Smith told the students the union had to challenge NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's ruling because if it didn't ''the commissioner could punish any player for being generally aware of what someone else did.''

And then he put it in terms students could relate to. He told them, ''Roger Goodell based his punishment on Tom Brady by finding that he was generally aware about what someone else is doing. First of all, I don't know what that means. Are you generally aware that somebody in your class was going to cheat on a test? Should you be punished for that? How do you make a determination about whether somebody was generally aware? No. That's not our standard.

''Out standard is if you prove by a preponderance of evidence that somebody did something wrong, then you can be punished,'' Smith added. ''That's the reason why the judge overturned the case. That's the reason we fight all of these cases to the death. For two reasons: one, I just dig it, and the second is every fight we have for a player today is a fight about what we'll be doing for a player tomorrow.''


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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