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League, union struck a compromise on personal conduct policy during lockout

Bud Light And Marcus Allen Launch NFL Fan Camp Getty Images

As part of a lengthy and detailed item from Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports assessing various lingering issues regarding the power of Commissioner Roger Goodell, Silver reports that the issue of whether players will be punished for personal conduct policy violations occurring during the lockout was resolved via a compromise.

Per Silver, roughly two dozen players who got in trouble during the lockout won’t be punished.  Eight players regarded by Commissioner Roger Goodell as repeat offenders will be punished.

If those eight players (including Titans receiver Kenny Britt and Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib, both of whom met with Goodell this week) are indeed fined and/or suspended, I’ve got some free legal advice for them:  Sue everyone.

It’s the height of hypocrisy for the league to inflict significant damage on the shield via a lockout, and then to discipline players who potentially tarnish the shield during the lockout.  And it’s simply wrong to expect players to behave themselves while away from work when they’re constantly away from work because they’re being prevented from working.

The union should be joined to any lawsuit as well.  Regardless of the legal theories asserted, the notion that the union would throw these guys under the bus for things that happened when the union wasn’t even a union is unfair, and courts that are confronted with such inherent unfairness will try to find a remedy.

So why was the union willing to give up those eight players?  Our guess is that Goodell persuaded NFLPA executive director De Smith not to worry about the small handful of bad apples, given that their behavior threatens the golden goose.  With the players now treated as true partners, having at least 47 cents of every dollar generated flow into their pockets, anything that harms the league’s image potentially impacts revenue, which in turn reduces the players’ collective take.  And so, to the extent that Goodell ultimately is protecting the brand, Smith has decided that he won’t let the interests of the few undermine the interests of the many.

That’s fine.  As long as guys aren’t getting screwed.  Britt, Talib, and the other six repeat offenders are getting screwed.  And that does more damage to the brand than anything those guys have done individually.

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53 Responses to “League, union struck a compromise on personal conduct policy during lockout”
  1. dgreenfi says: Aug 25, 2011 6:09 PM

    “Sue Everyone”…sounds like advice from an ex-lawyer.

  2. thephantomstranger says: Aug 25, 2011 6:11 PM

    And it’s simply wrong to expect players to behave themselves while away from work when they’re constantly away from work because they’re being prevented from working.
    _________

    I guess my expectations for grown adults are a little bit higher.

  3. britishraven says: Aug 25, 2011 6:13 PM

    Insanity.

    Either people are punished or they aren’t and I believe that in a lockout situation, the owners cannot have any say over conduct of their employees (players), therefore in my eyes, no-one should be punished.

    By all means have meetings and re-affirm the rules etc, but this scenario is ridiculous

  4. tfbuckfutter says: Aug 25, 2011 6:13 PM

    I voted “No Opinion”….but I did so by not voting. Why is that even an option? What kind of maniac reads a question and then feels compelled to express that they have no opinion to express?

    A better option would be “I have no opinion because none of those players play for a team I like/dislike so I am personally unaffected”.

  5. dude317 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:14 PM

    “sue everyone” will lead to fees for the lawyers , but that’s all. You’re away from work (for whatever reason) and you do something illegal, you bet that it can affect your future employment. Welcome to the way the real world works. These guys will get off with maybe a missed game or two or some money. Big f-ing deal.

  6. raider316 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:14 PM

    “As long as guys aren’t getting screwed. Britt, Talib, and the other six repeat offenders are getting screwed.”
    That’s got to be one of the dumbest things you have ever written on this site. (that’s sayin’ something)
    They screwed themselves by being repeat offenders. I suggest to them, that instead of using a scumbag lawyer to “sue everyone” ,that they instead clean up their act!

  7. seneca1ss says: Aug 25, 2011 6:15 PM

    100% correct! I’ve never sued anyone but on this I would

  8. schemefactory says: Aug 25, 2011 6:18 PM

    i’m sure it won’t deter anything…

  9. FinFan68 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:20 PM

    Sue everybody? That’s absurd. The lockout was a labor dispute. The lockout is akin to a mandatory furlough (yet it is one they could have collectively avoided through negotiations). The players never were “unemployed”, fired, laid off, replaced, etc. The guys under contract before the lockout are still under contract. They were always members of the NFL, otherwise the league could have replaced them with a bunch of kids willing to take less money. If they did something stupid, that is on them. Do you honestly think that a person that violates a law or even a company policy while on a furlough should not face the consequences? I see why you are blogging and not practicing law. Your legal insight is usually fairly sound but I just don’t see it that way on this one.

  10. mostepicgnar says: Aug 25, 2011 6:22 PM

    Typical scumbag lawyer speaking there.

  11. jamaltimore says: Aug 25, 2011 6:23 PM

    It’s a joke. If they were arrested and the charges and still awaiting trial then they should be disciplined once the trial is completed. innocent until proven guilty! Anything other than that should be off limits.

  12. benh999 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:23 PM

    Just to be clear — that because the league-instituted a lockout to protect itself from an antitrust lawsuit that would have seriously impacted the competitive balance of the league — players with lengthy legal and/or serious legal problems should be let off the hook, and that if they are not, they should “sue everyone”?

    Even though I know I shouldn’t be, I am actually surprised you think the league’s ditching of certain offseason team activities obviates the responsibility, per the terms of both the past and present CBAs, to punish players for personal conduct violations in accordance with their past history of such violations.

  13. unbiased8383 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:26 PM

    I can’t stand Fidel as Commsioner. He changes the rules, yields these ridiculous fines, suspends employees for what happened in college. What good does he do? Suspends players who act like jackasses? Please. I wish I had my old NFL back where you could do kickoffs, knock the hell out of a wideout and toucj the quarterback w/out getting robbed for it.

  14. gopats23 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:26 PM

    It’s the height of hypocrisy for the league to inflict significant damage on the shield via a lockout, and then to discipline players who potentially tarnish the shield during the lockout.

    ___________________________________

    Ridiculous comparison. Strikes and Lockouts are accepted tools used by both sides to provide leverage in negotiating multi – billion dollar deals. To say these practices are equally reprehensible to criminal activity is just wrong.

    I wish people would get off their pedestals and stop acting like negotiating deals this size should be simple and everyone should just be happy they are getting something. Leverage needs to be created to get to the desired result. The players and owners got this done without missing a single game and that should be praised.

    You are an attorney for crying out loud, if anyone should know this, it’s you!

  15. depotnator says: Aug 25, 2011 6:28 PM

    Haynesworth’s recent CC fiasco ( to which he basically pleaded guitly) occurred before the lockout, and yet he won’t be punished by Goodell? Where is the consistency in THAT?

  16. lionsfanatic84 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:29 PM

    Goodell is a commie

  17. dldove77 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:30 PM

    Maybe instead of suggesting they “Sue Everyone” you should implore upon them to take their medicine and start acting like responsible adults.

  18. whatchutalkinabouthillis says: Aug 25, 2011 6:31 PM

    They can’t not pay the players and then want to discipline them afterwards. The league can’t have it both ways.

  19. kissbillsrings says: Aug 25, 2011 6:31 PM

    Players knew the lockout was political posturing…they knew they were still representing the NFL & its badge….I really have no sympathy for them for doing stupid things that will only come back to haunt them….they need to be held accountable for their actions by someone, looks like it will have to be the commish…these guys are LUCY to have the ability to play in the NFL & make all kinds of crazy money, to take that for granted & bring risk to the others flying the straight & narrow they deserve what they get…

  20. cobibones13 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:32 PM

    If the players had a huge problem with this then they shouldn’t have agreed to the new CBA unless they were going to be completely protected from punishment during the lockout.

    Doesn’t seem like they cared enough about it then, and it does look like the PA cares that they’re selling out a few of their players.

  21. wetpaperbag2 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:37 PM

    They need to come to an agreement to abolish that asinine kickoff rule change. The competition committee needs to get a life; sucking the fun out of football since 2004.

  22. screechingllama says: Aug 25, 2011 6:38 PM

    This will be a starcaps-like situation that drags out until next offseason. Locked out of work and no union. The old rules don’t apply during these circumstances. These guys will screw up again. It’s in their blood. Suspend another day Roger.

  23. hartjk says: Aug 25, 2011 6:39 PM

    When I read “Sue everyone”, it reminded me of Boondock Saints when Rocco comes to the realization that “We could kill everyone…”

  24. mommydrank says: Aug 25, 2011 6:39 PM

    1. The union is legally obligated to represent all its nembers, not all but eight.
    2. The NFL only gains authority to puniah a player’s personal conduct pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement and the league’s actual employment of the players. Neither condition was in effect durung the lockout.

    The analysis is correct: sue both sides, get reinstated and get paid.

  25. pettergriffen says: Aug 25, 2011 6:41 PM

    you dont sound like a very good lawyer..
    guess thats why your not a lawyer anymore…

    case would be tied up for years… do you think crackheads can wait that long for crack?

  26. rjl1680 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:47 PM

    How exactly does one break the rules of a league they are not employed by?

  27. delintzman says: Aug 25, 2011 6:49 PM

    With this logic, the NFL could punish those not yet signed to contracts also. None of the players are under the rules of the Company if they are not Employed by the company. Crap, Manning couldn’t even rehab an injury with team doctors because he was not allowed contact! The DAD has lost his mind!

  28. keeponhating says: Aug 25, 2011 6:49 PM

    while i don’t condone what these players have done. It sets another bad precedent just like the suspension of Terrell Pryor.

  29. keeponhating says: Aug 25, 2011 6:51 PM

    Roger Goodell keeps talking about how he wants to improve the “product” i got an idea Rog step down! Let somebody who cares about the fans run the NFL.

  30. geeeeemen says: Aug 25, 2011 6:52 PM

    Lol why is there a vote option “no opinion?” Those with no opinion don’t have to vote!

  31. mike83ri says: Aug 25, 2011 6:52 PM

    God forbid if a player under contract on a forced leave of absense is subject to discipline for being a turd.

    A work stoppage/strike/lockout doesn’t mean they were unemployed. You need to step down from your soap box on this one.

  32. FinFan68 says: Aug 25, 2011 6:59 PM

    whatchutalkinabouthillis says:
    Aug 25, 2011 6:31 PM
    They can’t not pay the players and then want to discipline them afterwards. The league can’t have it both ways.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Players get paid game checks. They didn’t miss any of those. I thought I read that the CBA was retroactive so players would get any workout/signing bonuses. If true, the players can’t have it both ways.

  33. FinFan68 says: Aug 25, 2011 7:00 PM

    ^workout/roster bonuses

  34. pitch87mph says: Aug 25, 2011 7:01 PM

    I’m sorry, but you could not possibly be more WRONG in your analysis or your “thinking”. To suggest that not being able to work due to a lockout, absolves someone from punishment from an employer after the lockout, ESPECIALLY if it is KNOWN or KNOWEABLE that a punishment COULD be enacted upon the end of said lockout, is just patently absurd! I’m sure the attorney’s will argue for the strictest interpretation (like you have) and try to argue your point. But I find it completely ridiculous that requires an absurdly narrow interpretation of the relevant facts and circumstances. I would be much more amenable to the suggestion that the punishment should be less than “normal” (under the guise that the right to punish after the lockout for deeds performed during the lockout was likely probalistic, not absolute), than to suggest that no punishment should be permitted at all. I find that position to be completely unreasonable!!!

    There’s NO WAY a reasonable person would NOT conclude that they faced some probability of punishment for misdeeds during the lockout. And if a reasonable person knew they faced some risk, they can’t then later claim that it’s unfair to be punished at all–because they should have known that was a real possibility–lockout or not!

    This is simply not the same as a company firing someone with no intention of rehiring, and then changing their mind later and rehiring (and then punishing them for something they did when they were fired). EVERYONE knew that the lockout would end eventually. There is room for opinion on WHEN it would end (while it was going on). But everyone knew it would end. So it’s simply not the same thing as a fired and then rehired employee. The facts and circumstances are DIFFERENT!

  35. melikefootball says: Aug 25, 2011 7:07 PM

    These players aren’t smart enough or mature enough to not get in trouble when not working. Who is wanking whom here??

  36. cruz1014 says: Aug 25, 2011 7:22 PM

    Wow this has to be one of the more idiot articles ever written. “And it’s simply wrong to expect players to behave themselves while away from work when they’re constantly away from work because they’re being prevented from working.” Really??? Pro athletes shouldn’t behave cause they’re not working?! And as someone else pointed out already yes they were employed and yes the union did still exist or there wouldn’t have been ongoing negotiations. This person sounds like they know nothing about unions and how they work. If I was NBC I’d remove this BLOG ASAP cause it brings down the credibility of the site/app.

  37. CKL says: Aug 25, 2011 7:27 PM

    Well I can’t post my thoughts which were in no way obscene or insulting. This happens constantly to a bunch of us. It would be nice if we ever had any idea what sets off the censors so we can avoid those words.

    All I wanted to say is that I feel that since the NFL is not doing this unilaterally but are doing it with the union’s agreement then the players’ beefs should lie with their union reps, not the NFL.

  38. tremele says: Aug 25, 2011 7:35 PM

    Fans are freaking retarded.

    There was a lockout sure. However, we all knew and the players knew it would be over someday. For a player who has the PRIVILEGE of playing in the NFL to make such a stupid move wasn’t smart enough to avoid it in the offseason.

    I read this site for news, and then we have some dumbass lawyer posting crap like this.

    The players screwed up plain and simple. By letting anything slide is just telling people/kids that you can deal with loopholes and keep screwing up.

    Anyone who disagrees is just sad. By the way these fines/suspensions towards players who do wrong give scholarships to young teenagers that will do right.

  39. tommyf15 says: Aug 25, 2011 8:05 PM

    mommydrank says:
    1. The union is legally obligated to represent all its nembers, not all but eight.
    2. The NFL only gains authority to punish a player’s personal conduct pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement and the league’s actual employment of the players. Neither condition was in effect durung the lockout.

    The analysis is correct: sue both sides, get reinstated and get paid.

    You saved me a lot of typing with your spot-on post.

    I like how everyone has to obey the rules and the laws EXCEPT for that slimy punk Roger Goodell. BY LAW disciplinary actions from the league are subject to collective bargaining. During the lockout there was no agreement in place, thus BY LAW there cannot be any disciplinary action.

    Please, please, please, I want to see Goodell and the NFL (and perhaps even the NFLPA) not only sued for lost wages but for punitive damages but for damages as well

  40. tfbuckfutter says: Aug 25, 2011 8:20 PM

    CKL says: Aug 25, 2011 7:27 PM

    Well I can’t post my thoughts which were in no way obscene or insulting. This happens constantly to a bunch of us. It would be nice if we ever had any idea what sets off the censors so we can avoid those words.

    —————————

    I think certain members get flagged. I’ve posted things that had absolutely nothing close to anything that could trip an automatic filter, but the comments never got posted perhaps for being too mocking or not relevant enough.

  41. cheezysmegma says: Aug 25, 2011 9:01 PM

    tommyf15=amateur playa lawya. Where is the other former player malcontent, duanethomas, on this one?

  42. tommyf15 says: Aug 25, 2011 9:18 PM

    cheezysmegma = professional idiot. Go fist yourself.

  43. Deb says: Aug 25, 2011 9:34 PM

    What these players did when they weren’t players or union members aren’t any business of the league or PA.

    These debates always remind me of the inquisition scene in former Cowboy Peter Gent’s book North Dallas Forty. Nearly four decades later the only thing that’s changed are the targets. In the book, league power brokers suspended little guys because they were expendable and stars had to be protected. Now the league suspends stars so the public will oooh and ahhh at their righteousness but lets lesser-knowns slide if they’re not hot topic on The View.

    Goodell is more concerned about making a few symbolic sacrifices than actually doing the right thing … just as he’s more concerned about appearing to prioritize safety than really keeping players safe. He is the most political commissioner the league has ever seen. No wonder fans are getting screwed.

  44. Deb says: Aug 25, 2011 9:41 PM

    @tfbuckfutter & CKL …

    When you submit a comment, if it appears on your screen, then disappears later, it’s been manually removed by a moderator. I won’t try to guess why :)

    However, if you hit submit and your comment disappears into thin air, it’s been stopped by an automated filter because you used a banned word. PFT has banned some odd words. For example, unless they change it right now (because they love to play with me that way) the spelled-out names Fla. and Ala. are banned. Other banned words include th*g and c*ck. But because of that last one, I’ve had posts stopped for c*cktail, c*ckroach, and half-c*cked. The last name of our host Mike is also on the banned list. Sometimes you just have to keep playing until you figure out what naughty word is the culprit :)

    Hope that helps.

  45. vbe2 says: Aug 25, 2011 10:02 PM

    It’s the height of hypocrisy for the league to inflict significant damage on the shield via a lockout…
    ——————————————————-

    Don’t be a bigger f’n idiot than you already are. The lockout didn’t “inflict significant damage on the shield”, it was a labor dispute.

    For you to equate that with killing a man while drunk driving is moronic, more so than usual here.

  46. cruz1014 says: Aug 25, 2011 10:21 PM

    Tommy and whoever else claims they weren’t under a cba should know that with cbas, at least from what I know and I was on my unions board, is that until a new cba is reached the old cba rules apply which means the conduct policy would have been under the old one not non existent rules because the new one was being negotiated. We went 2 years before coming to a new one after the old one was up.

  47. tommyf15 says: Aug 25, 2011 10:49 PM

    @cruz1014

    Were you locked out?

    Did your union decertify?

  48. Deb says: Aug 25, 2011 11:03 PM

    @cruz1014 …

    But were you locked out of your job during that two-year period? The lockout is what makes the difference here, not the CBA issues.

  49. CKL says: Aug 26, 2011 3:39 AM

    @ Deb
    Thanks for the details. Mine didn’t have any of those words or the name of the site owner so I am still scratching my head! Some of those filtered things seem too arbitrary and it would be tough to figure out those were the problems and edit appropriately. The name of a state??? COME ON, MAN.

  50. bleed4philly says: Aug 26, 2011 8:57 AM

    “There’s nothing else to do Sal.” did Ray know the players were going to sue if they were punished??? He should’ve said that during the interview, maybe people wouldve taken his comments more seriously. This Lockout has become quite the enabler.

  51. bringbacktheflex says: Aug 26, 2011 11:00 AM

    “And it’s simply wrong to expect players to behave themselves while away from work ”

    This is the attitude that results in these issues to begin with -Tolerance of bad behavior for the sake of entertainment value. I guess Mike will now excuse his boy from behaving badly when he’s not busy playing football.

    We are ALL expected to behave ourselves while working OR not working. What makes the expectations for these people any different. The fact that you are defending appropriate discipline for illegal or improper behavior is in itself questionable.

    I suggest you review your comments and apply it to your own family/workplace. Really, will it be OK for your kid to break the law when he’s not playing football, or when he’s older and not working?

    Grow up, Mike.

  52. Deb says: Aug 26, 2011 1:55 PM

    @CKL …

    Well, I paid for it. They’ve locked me at a sentence again. Pacifiers anyone?

  53. Deb says: Aug 26, 2011 1:59 PM

    @bringbacktheflex …

    You told the people here to grow up and they actually posted it. I’m impressed. They must have been sleeping on the job.

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