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In suspending Pryor, league relied on general provisions regarding “detrimental conduct”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listens to remarks outside the NFL Players Association Headquarters in Washington Reuters

The NFL has allowed former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor into the draft.  In so doing, the league suspended Pryor five games for making “decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL Draft.”

So where does the authority to suspend Pryor come from?  According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, it comes from Article 8.6 of the NFL Constitution and By-Laws:  “The Commissioner is authorized . . . to take appropriate steps as he deems necessary and proper in the best interests of the league . . . whenever any party or organization not a member of, employed by, or connected with the league or any member thereof is guilty of any conduct detrimental either to the league, its member clubs or employees, or to professional football.”

That’s a blank check to basically do whatever Goodell wants to do in any given situation, with no procedure for appeal or review.

The NFLPA could have resisted.  The new Collective Bargaining Agreement, as far as I can tell based on a scan of the Table of Contents and portions of the 301-page document, contains no rules regarding the ability of the league to impose suspensions upon players based on the manner in which they attempt to secure eligibility for the supplemental draft.  Apart from a perfunctory “Management Rights” clause, which purports to let the league do whatever it wants absent language to the contrary in the CBA, there’s no authority that would allow the league to do what it did.

Though Pryor isn’t complaining, it sets a dangerous precedent.  Then again, when the Commissioner has the ability to do whatever he wants to do in any given situation, precedent no longer matters.

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47 Responses to “In suspending Pryor, league relied on general provisions regarding “detrimental conduct””
  1. redskinspike says: Aug 18, 2011 11:06 AM

    The NFL needs to make some sort of committee that oversees rules violations and penalties/suspensions. It’s ridiculous that Goodell has this type of power.

  2. Topher says: Aug 18, 2011 11:10 AM

    Either you are eligible for the Supplemental Draft or you are not.

    You can’t make “decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL Draft” if what you did was allowed.

  3. doowix says: Aug 18, 2011 11:10 AM

    There shouldn’t even be a supplemental draft. Not like Pryor is going to do anything but hold a clipboard this year anyways. He could get a job as a waterboy and do the same thing.

  4. annoyingknowitall says: Aug 18, 2011 11:12 AM

    Sheesh, even I admit that is a bit disingenuous… This unilateral control may be getting out if hand… But I guess it won’t matter for another 10 years , right?

  5. Topher says: Aug 18, 2011 11:16 AM

    The more I think on this the more confused/angry I get.

    Pryor didn’t make any decisions. He asked the NFL “Can I be in the draft?”

    The NFL made the decision to allow him in. Either he is eligible or not but the NFL is saying “you are not eligible but we will allow you in with a penalty” or the NFL is saying “you are eligible but we are going to penalize you so we can say we support our free farm system” Either way the NFL looks stupid.

    If the NFL is punishing Pryor for taking cash and stuff in college it should have the “integrity” to say that.

    If I were Commissioner of Fans I would suspend Goodell 5 games for “decisions that undermine the integrity of the NFL.”

  6. sterilizecromartie says: Aug 18, 2011 11:17 AM

    If I never see one more article on Pryor or the Supplemental Draft, I will die a happy man.

    Let it go, Mike. Nobody cares.

  7. NFLJunkie says: Aug 18, 2011 11:26 AM

    It sets a dangerous precedent if Pryor was allowed to manipulate the system (all by the book) to avoid NCAA or university-imposed discipline by just jumping to the NFL once the hammer came down, which is more like a reward for breaking NCAA rules.

    As long as college football is the farm team system for the NFL, this stuff is going to be tricky.

    Maybe they ought to look at making the reasons you can enter the supplemental draft more restrictive. Like, flunking out or getting suspended/kicked off the team doesn’t qualify.

  8. opie333 says: Aug 18, 2011 11:32 AM

    Hey college kids you better not go to any frat parties if you have any intentions of going to the NFL! You could enter the draft and be Suspended before you get there! The next Headlines Goodell suspends entire POP Warner team for throw rotten eggs at Halloween!

  9. Topher says: Aug 18, 2011 11:32 AM

    I think the NFL should make having a Bachelor’s Degree part for the requirement for entering the Supplemental draft?

    Having said that, Pryor was either eligible or he wasn’t. He is hardly the first person to manipulate the rules to get into the league. Bernie Kosar manipulated the rules to go to a better team.

  10. rootintootinnootin says: Aug 18, 2011 11:33 AM

    IF he gets taken in the supplemental draft (he most likely will), he has about zero chance to play in the first five games anyways.

    So, it’s more of a slap on the wrist.

  11. savocabol1 says: Aug 18, 2011 11:34 AM

    So any rookie that has “character issues” should be suspended coming into the league from now on. Great precedent….

  12. izzylangfan says: Aug 18, 2011 11:35 AM

    But you need to take it one step further and say how that reflects on the personal integrity of Roger Godell. We need to get him out.

  13. savocabol1 says: Aug 18, 2011 11:36 AM

    One more thing I dont really get here, isn’t almost everyone that is in the supplemental draft there because of some sort of rules violations? Why wouldn’t you suspend everyone then?

  14. whodeyben says: Aug 18, 2011 11:37 AM

    In the best interest of the league and pro football, please get rid of the Mike Brown family.

    Sincerely,

    Cincinnati

  15. jamaltimore says: Aug 18, 2011 11:37 AM

    Set’s dangerous precedent for those names of NFL players coming out in the U scandal. This almost appears as though roger could suspend them for something they did in college that would hurt the integrity of the draft and NFL.

  16. rcali says: Aug 18, 2011 11:39 AM

    Goodell has set the precedent. “If you’re a turd, we don’t want you in our company.

  17. Topher says: Aug 18, 2011 11:45 AM

    rcali says:
    Aug 18, 2011 11:39 AM
    Goodell has set the precedent. “If you’re a turd, we don’t want you in our company.

    ACTUALLY… my take is that Goodell has set the precedent, “if you are a turd we want to look as if we don’t want you in our company, but here is a job application and you’ll want to talk to that team over there.”

  18. mdippong26 says: Aug 18, 2011 11:46 AM

    Meh…pryor’s lucky to be in the supplemental draft. Anyway, he’s gonna be a flop so who cares.

  19. bigbenrapedhinesward says: Aug 18, 2011 11:58 AM

    So the other day (while not in the NFL) I told a friend I was tired of the bs going on with Roger and the NFL. For being detrimental to the league am I likely to receive a lengthy suspension for games I’m never gonna play too?

  20. nemesisf96 says: Aug 18, 2011 12:02 PM

    GODdell will b able 2 suspend fans from buying tickets 2 games if they received a bad evaluation at work next!

    This guy is UNBELIEVABLE!!!

  21. qdog112 says: Aug 18, 2011 12:03 PM

    savocabol1 says: Aug 18, 2011 11:36 AM

    One more thing I dont really get here, isn’t almost everyone that is in the supplemental draft there because of some sort of rules violations? Why wouldn’t you suspend everyone then?
    ——————————————————
    I agree with you, but is it about an obscure rule or is it about reminding everyone, who’s in charge here!

  22. nemesisf96 says: Aug 18, 2011 12:03 PM

    I guess GODdell will b suspending Hester & Wilfork next 4 things they did 5-10 yrs ago while at Miami……

  23. brswan says: Aug 18, 2011 12:04 PM

    It’s Star Wars in real life. Emperor Goodell is going to take over the republic of the NFL.

    OH Noes!!!!

  24. doe22us says: Aug 18, 2011 12:14 PM

    I like Rodger Goodell this is a fair punishment. I am sure people would have been outraged if he if he had ruled him completely ineligible. Appeasing the NCAA and also those that want Pryor to have entered its a good middle ground.

  25. godofwine330 says: Aug 18, 2011 12:26 PM

    I say about Roger Goodell in my best Paulie Walnuts voice: “I never liked that guy.”

  26. dapell says: Aug 18, 2011 12:41 PM

    Pete Carroll should have been suspended 5 games too. I’m fine with the NFL protecting the NCAA in some ways, but coaches running to the NFL (or NBA) after getting their program in trouble is much more embarassing. Tressel better not show up on an NFL staff without a suspension.

  27. philsimmsisadouche says: Aug 18, 2011 12:42 PM

    So, Goodell can punish someone for conduct that took place when that person wasn’t even an NFL player? He’s essentially punishing him for not cooperating with an NCAA investigation. Is he going to go back and punish Reggie Bush? What about all the guys from the University of Miami? What about AJ Hawk after his admission that autographing opportunities while at Ohio State made him “great money”?
    This is completely ridiculous. Goodell interprets and applies the rules as HE sees fit based upon his own sanctimonious moral standard. This is like the Wild West.
    And to make matters worse, the NFLPA doesn’t fight him over it. Complete B.S. and yet another example of why the players should not have folded over the issue of an appeals authority that could reverse Goodell’s application of the rules he makes up as he goes along.

  28. 1thunderfist says: Aug 18, 2011 12:59 PM

    This is a good rule. I would like to see it used on all these cases. I hate seeing athletes running away from the bad choices they made then getting paid to keep playing while the institutions are paying the penalties. Everyone needs to be held accountable for their choice… and no this is not a religious reference

  29. nyfootballgiants says: Aug 18, 2011 1:04 PM

    1. Remember the NFL uses College Football as its farm system. So when possible, its important for the league to support the NCAA.

    2. Pryor is the latest turd who turns his college program upside down based on his actions – and leaves without being accountable for it.

    3. Remember – the union is not contesting this, so clearly they do not have an issue with this.

    4. Pryor could have applied for the regular draft, but he choose to manipulate the system so he could have more time to prepare, and go in a supplemental draft – where he has more of an ability to “choose” his team. How did he manipulate the system? There is nothing new with his status that has changed which prevented him from applying for the April draft (i.e. he didn’t graduate early, he didn’t get kicked off of his team – after the april draft, and in fact, he had signed with an agent before the april draft.).

    5. Umm…. Goodell wasn’t officially the commissioner when Bush was drafted. (He became commissioner in September 2006 – 5 months after Bush was drafted.)

    6. Hawk was drafted in same draft as Bush. Goodell is applying these standards when the players are entering the league.

    The NFL doesn’t want to become the NBA. Its about time someone took a tough stand against these turds.

    Now, I wouldn’t have a problem if Pete Caroll had been punished beforehand

  30. cbass59 says: Aug 18, 2011 1:06 PM

    He’s just making things up as he goes along.

    Worst commish.

  31. hobartbaker says: Aug 18, 2011 1:14 PM

    If they are going to retroactively punish college athletes at the NFL level, how about starting with THE FIRST PICK OF THE DRAFT. That hideous fraud, Newton. NCAA has changed the rule to eliminate the loophole that THE NEWT LIED HIS WAY THROUGH. Even using the laughably flimsy excuse of HORSE TEETH NOT BEING AWARE OF HIS SIRE’S ACTIONS would not get him off the hook now.

  32. depotnator says: Aug 18, 2011 1:16 PM

    It’s pretty clear that Godell is entrusted with protecting the NFL brand. I think the NFLPA has accepted that mission for Goodell. Due to the heightened public awareness of Pryor’s unsavory image, he potentially damages the ‘ Shield’ simply by joining the fraternity of players. It makes sense that the league takes some action that communicates to the public and the NCAA that the NFL does not condone such behavior, but legally cannot bar him joining the league. It seems that the NFL ( and its attorneys) have invested a fair amount of cloakroom time with the NCAA, NFLPA, Pryor, his attorneys, and his agent to work out an acceptable solution for all sides.

  33. cowboyfan45 says: Aug 18, 2011 1:32 PM

    Thank God for Roger Goodell, atleast someone is protecting the NFL shield and intregrity of this league…unlike the other major sports league

  34. theallegedone says: Aug 18, 2011 1:35 PM

    the league suspended Pryor five games for making “decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL Draft.”
    ————————————————–

    That’s the biggest b.s. excuse i’ve ever heard to suspend somebody. Goodell is just out to get whoever he can to prove a point. All of these “transgressions” took place while Pryor was at Ohio State.

    You wanna prove a point Goodell, you wanna show you run this show, then I wanna see you suspend Devin Hester, Vince Wilfork, Santana Moss, & whatever other players get in trouble for the mess that’s going on at Miami. I BET YOU DON’T SAY ONE WORD ABOUT THOSE PLAYERS. It’s the same thing. They accepted things while in college.

  35. bobnelsonjr says: Aug 18, 2011 1:45 PM

    The NFL does not have to bend to the will of this rulebreaker. He is not a well liked person.

    But you have a litigation weary NFL and the NFL doesn’t want some greasy turd getting some snooty judge telling the NFL they have to accept every foul smelling turd that floats down the river.

    This is a clear case of litigation aversion.

    Nobody likes the lawyer crusading for a turd.

  36. lifelong says: Aug 18, 2011 1:45 PM

    This is ridiculous. By the NFL’s logic, they should also suspend every Miami player implicated in the booster scandal who is now in the NFL.

  37. kingmj4891 says: Aug 18, 2011 1:55 PM

    Mike your just as bad on this Pryor issue as MDS is on the Suh issue let it go you guys are taking it way far out of context.

    Pryor is gonna be a bust so who cares.

    Suh plays with aggression because that what it take to be successful in this game.

    Everything else you guys say on these subjects is pointless.

  38. ahostiletakeover says: Aug 18, 2011 2:03 PM

    I don’t understand rewarding someone with supplemental draft eligibility when that someone “undermined the draft eligibility process.” Pryor should have to wait til April, bottom line, and live with the mistakes HE made. Its all of these decisions being made that conflict with what is being said (player safety rule changes come to mind too) that is making fans turn against you Roger. And since you’re going to continue them as you are ably demonstrating, you’ll never get the fans “on your side.” Tough luck pal.

  39. whatswiththehate says: Aug 18, 2011 2:34 PM

    nyfootballgiants says:Aug 18, 2011 1:04 PM

    1. Remember the NFL uses College Football as its farm system. So when possible, its important for the league to support the NCAA.

    2. Pryor is the latest turd who turns his college program upside down based on his actions – and leaves without being accountable for it.

    3. Remember – the union is not contesting this, so clearly they do not have an issue with this.

    4. Pryor could have applied for the regular draft, but he choose to manipulate the system so he could have more time to prepare, and go in a supplemental draft – where he has more of an ability to “choose” his team. How did he manipulate the system? There is nothing new with his status that has changed which prevented him from applying for the April draft (i.e. he didn’t graduate early, he didn’t get kicked off of his team – after the april draft, and in fact, he had signed with an agent before the april draft.).

    5. Umm…. Goodell wasn’t officially the commissioner when Bush was drafted. (He became commissioner in September 2006 – 5 months after Bush was drafted.)

    6. Hawk was drafted in same draft as Bush. Goodell is applying these standards when the players are entering the league.

    The NFL doesn’t want to become the NBA. Its about time someone took a tough stand against these turds.

    Now, I wouldn’t have a problem if Pete Caroll had been punished beforehand
    ———————
    Your point makes a lot of sense. It says a lot about those who frequest this site giving so many thumbs down. Which souldn’t come as a surprised, many seem very easily swayed by the opinions on this site.

  40. minnesconsin says: Aug 18, 2011 2:38 PM

    dont’ get me wrong, i’m thankful we have football right now… but it sure seems like the players screwed the pooch in the CBA negotiations. Goodell is a power-hungry overlord with no legitimate system of checks & balances. I’ve never understood how people like that convince themselves they’re somehow standing up for the greater good. it’s just a lie he’s selling himself to justify his next powerplay. pathetic, really.

  41. Mr. Wright 212 says: Aug 18, 2011 3:30 PM

    And the reason they’re doing this is for a broader, overarching reason. They’re trying to make an example out of young Terrelle while also sending a message to anyone who blatantly commits infractions while in college. There’s always an agenda and precedent being considered. Don’t agree with it, but I understand it.

  42. johnnyoclock says: Aug 18, 2011 4:16 PM

    So in other words…..

    You’re mad that Pryor wasn’t allowed to pull a cheap stunt to get out of accountability for his actions.

    He did wrong things. He got caught. He got in trouble for that.

    Instead of being a man and owning up to it, he tried a cheap way to get out of getting in trouble. He got caught doing that now too.

    He’s going to pay for his actions instead of worming his way out of it. That’s what this is about. But it takes a brain larger than a marble to understand this.

    I know it’s easy for small minds to hate “the MAN”, because that’s what worms always do, but if you have an open mind Goddell is correct here. And it’s correct to have him be the sole authority on discipline, otherwise everyone would get out of everything. There’s a strong accountability culture with him. That’s the right way to be in life. He is right, you are wrong.

  43. briang123 says: Aug 18, 2011 4:34 PM

    This could be real funny if Pryor isn’t on a roster when the season comes. (I am scared the Eagles will draft him). I view him as a 7th round flyer or undrafted free agent, but then again I am no Mel Kiper or Mike Mayock.

  44. 52crabcakes says: Aug 18, 2011 5:51 PM

    Goodell sucks!

  45. greggoestoschool says: Aug 18, 2011 7:10 PM

    This would make sense if Goodell was consistent but the fact is he isn’t and continues to make decisions on the fly. He should suspend Reggie “I gave my trophy back because I wanted to but didn’t do anything wrong” Bush.

  46. nomoreseasontix says: Aug 18, 2011 8:16 PM

    The kid isn’t being suspended for what he did at OSU, he’s being suspended for trying to circumvent the draft process. The ONLY reason he’s been allowed in is to avoid a frivolous lawsuit.
    Period.

    That being said, I don’t think it’s a lock that he even gets drafted.

  47. steelersmichele says: Aug 18, 2011 10:43 PM

    I seem to remember the Steelers getting blasted by some of you for voting against the amended CBA for this very reason–Goodell having complete control over discipline.

    Now Goodell has the freedom to do whatever he wants–and all of your players voted for it.

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