Disputes have broken out between the sides in the Deion Branch-Patriots grievance case even before the arguments have been heard.
Representatives of the Patriots, the NFL Players Association, and Branch (above) will take part in a conference call this evening with arbitrator John Feerick of Fordham Law School not to argue the merits of Branch’s grievance claiming the Patriots violated a verbal agreement to accept a reasonable trade offer for Branch after granting him permission to seek such a trade, but on whether Feerick has the jurisdiction to rule on that in the first place.
The Patriots and the league filed a motion contending that Feerick has no jurisdiction over Branch’s non-injury grievance because there is no issue to be decided by him under the rules established in the collective bargaining agreement. The union, arguing for Branch, insisted an arbitrator has jurisdiction over “the broken promise to trade him.”
The Patriots countered that there is no such issue, but if there were, it should go directly to the special master, Steven Burbank of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, who under the CBA has sole jurisdiction to decide non-injury cases involving an issue of whether or not a team negotiated a contract in good faith.