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Interaction between CBA and Goodell’s power more complex than it seems

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It’s easy to understand how Commissioner Roger Goodell got so much power under the labor deal, but it’s far more complicated to come up with a way to change the status quo.

Chiefs tackle Eric Winston recently expressed regret that the players didn’t push harder during the most recent CBA negotiations to remove from Goodell the ability to impose a penalty and then review his own decision under multiple disciplinary policies.  Falcons receiver Roddy White was more pointed, blaming the NFLPA for “failing” the players by not stripping this power from Goodell in 2011.

But anyone who claims that last year the players “allowed” Goodell to have his current power either doesn’t get it, or is deliberately distorting the facts.  Goodell already had the power, obtaining it not from the current NFLPA leadership but from former union boss Gene Upshaw, via past labor deals.  When the time comes to renegotiate the labor contract, the parties come to the table with the rights and duties they already possessed.

And if one side wants to taketh something away, that side had better be ready to giveth something in return.

As it relates to his power over issues like player discipline,Goodell flatly refused to surrender that power during negotiations occurring after the players and the league worked out a deal on the manner in which the money gets divided.

“The answer to that is no, I’m not going to be open to that,” Goodell said at the time.  “I’m not going to hand off the brand and the reputation of the NFL to somebody who is not associated with the NFL.  I promise you that.  That is one of the number one jobs as a commissioner in my opinion.”

The fact that the lockout already had ended when terms like Goodell’s power over the disciplinary process were being debated made it harder for the players to dig in.  Still, with Goodell making it clear that he had built a bunker on that point would have made it virtually impossible to change the pre-existing approach.

In theory, the players could have reopened the monetary side of the deal and offered a penny or two on the dollar in order to buy Goodell’s disciplinary power.  But at what point should the financial interests of the many players who never get called to the principal’s office yield to the interests of the few who find themselves in water hotter than the average bathtub?  Only a small percentage of the league’s 1,900 or so players end up under scrutiny from Goodell.

Should the players have made a concession that affects all of them in order to protect a few?

More importantly, and as explained last night, the CBA doesn’t give Goodell a blank check to do whatever he wants to do.  Though he’s the judge, jury, and executioner, his power to be the judge/jury/executioner must be exercised fairly and impartially and in accordance with the rules contained in the CBA.  If he fails to do that, Goodell is subject to external oversight, through the federal court system.

In the bounty case, it’s inevitable that Goodell will uphold the suspensions, and that the players will sue.  Then, questions regarding, for example, whether the league failed to produce its evidence on a timely basis and whether the suspensions should be dismissed based on that glitch will be resolved by someone “who is not associated with the NFL.”

A far more subtle, but perhaps far more important, point arises from the disconnect between the limited evidence that Commissioner Goodell has made available to the players and the extensive evidence of which Judge/Jury/Executioner Goodell is otherwise aware.  In this relatively rare instance in which Goodell has meted out discipline based on facts that are hotly contested, the judge/jury/executioner knows much more than the persons being punished.  So how can the persons being punished, who have access only to a sliver of the file, get a fair shake when they don’t know what the judge/jury/executioner already knows?

Think of it this way.  You’ve been accused of a crime.  Before the trial, the judge and the jury (and, technically, the executioner) are fully aware of the investigation and all evidence that was collected, in large part because the judge and the jury ultimately presided over the investigation.  Then, the judge and the jury decide what the sentence should be, before the trial even starts.

Through it all, the judge and the jury never give you any evidence.  Instead, they periodically share with you (and the media) summaries and characterizations of evidence, which may or may not be factually accurate.  Then, three days before the trial, you get a small stack from the thousands of documents generated by the investigation.

When the trial starts, the prosecutor presents what amounts to an opening statement — and then she rests her case without calling a single witness.  Then the judge and the jury, fully aware of and intending to rely on all facts and documents and evidence and testimony that won’t be introduced in support of the allegations or otherwise shared with you, turns to your lawyer and says, “Got anything to add?”

How under those circumstances could your lawyer even begin to know what to say?  How could your lawyer change the minds of the judge and the jury without knowing precisely what caused them to reach their conclusion weeks before the trial began — and without having a chance to test that evidence before the judge and the jury adopted a position on what the evidence means?

That example describes a classic kangaroo court, a term that arose from the perception that justice occurs by a series of leaps, not via a deliberate and even-handed process.  And while so many are quick to point out that the players accused of participating in the bounty program aren’t having their rights determined by a court of law, the truth is that those rights are being assessed by an informal court of law crafted by the NFL — as demonstrated by the fact that Monday’s hearing was fully transcribed by (you guessed it) a court reporter.

Though the CBA gives the NFL the power to craft that informal court of law, it doesn’t give the NFL the right to create a process that lacks fairness and impartiality for the people whose interests are at stake.

The NFLPA has not given up the right to challenge the NFL’s procedures, and the NFLPA appears to be intent on doing so, aggressively.

As it should.

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68 Responses to “Interaction between CBA and Goodell’s power more complex than it seems”
  1. sj39 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:17 AM

    Think of it this way. It. Is. Not. A. Court. Of. Law.

  2. qdog112 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:20 AM

    Very well put, Mike. It’s surprising how many fans just want the Saints and the NFLPA to just take the punishment and go away. It’s as if we went to bed and woke up in Stalin’s Russia.

    Shut up and get in line !!! Was David Bowie who said, This is not America?

  3. geauxjay says: Jun 20, 2012 10:23 AM

    I freaking hate Goodell because he’s one of those tools that refers to the league as a “brand” first. It’s football, not freaking ketchup. And what “brand” does he have to protect when he’s made his league a de facto monopoly with anti trust exemption?

  4. joetoronto says: Jun 20, 2012 10:25 AM

    Thank goodness Goddell has the power he has, imagine if he didn’t.

    You think these bombo’s are out of control now?

  5. nypd1056 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:26 AM

    “In this relatively rare instance in which Goodell has meted out discipline based on facts that are hotly contested, the judge/jury/executioner knows much more than the persons being punished. So how can the persons being punished, who have access only to a sliver of the file, get a fair shake when they don’t know what the judge/jury/executioner already knows?”
    If you did something wrong, and the league calls you in and states they have evidance that at this time and date you did exactly what your are acused of doing, how can you sit there and lie and deny you did what your charged with doing.
    DENY, DENY, DENY, and then say you were misquoted

  6. qdog112 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:28 AM

    sj39 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:17 AM

    Think of it this way. It. Is. Not. A. Court. Of. Law.
    ********************************
    Uh, he kinda covered that part. But you didn’t bother to read it, did you?

    “And while so many are quick to point out that the players accused of participating in the bounty program aren’t having their rights determined by a court of law, the truth is that those rights are being assessed by an informal court of law crafted by the NFL — as demonstrated by the fact that Monday’s hearing was fully transcribed by (you guessed it) a court reporter.

    Though the CBA gives the NFL the power to craft that informal court of law, it doesn’t give the NFL the right to create a process that lacks fairness and impartiality for the people whose interests are at stake.”

  7. phil325 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:30 AM

    Gimme a break. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck, chances are good you’ve got yourself a duck. You know they’re guilty let them take their punishment and be done with this.

  8. eeerockski says: Jun 20, 2012 10:34 AM

    Thanks for clearing this up for non-lawyer minded folks like myself. Seems pretty jacked up to me that the NFL can get away with a kangaroo court type atmosphere, but that’s what the players agreed to so it’s kinda hard to whine about it now. Shoulda, coulda, woulda doesn’t work in any situation. But in the end, this will go to a real court system and then all the facts will be shown and we’ll all have some more to digest. My question is what difference will it make if these players/coaches have already been suspended? The plot thickens!

  9. 2sausage11 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:36 AM

    Maybe, just maybe he would have shown them all the evidence had they gone into talk before he gave out suspendsions. If he didn’t have anything on the team do you think the front office and coaches would have layed down and taken the suspendsions. on hear say

  10. ironmaiden666666 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:39 AM

    For all of you defenders of Roger “Window Dressing” Goodell…. just wait until your team wrong side of his arbitrary “justice”.

    The guy is a silver-spoon hack that never had a real job in his life. He is in way over his head with this serious concussion issue and is handling it like a clown. WAKE UP owners… FIRE GOODELL! Get a man with some character, not a guy the NOBODY TRUSTS ANYMORE

    And for everyone that thinks this guy is actually competent (and not just riding a rising tide) think about how many millions he lost for everyone by negotiating that lockout payment for the owners if there was a bailout (TV networks reduced their compensation)….. and this is is reason #1 why NOBODY TRUSTS HIM!

  11. youafool says: Jun 20, 2012 10:39 AM

    but I still haven’t seen what is “unfair about the process”? Because the players say its unfair its unfair? That makes sense. Because they didn’t have the extra 55 minutes they needed to pour over evidence that they then didn’t dispute or fight (remember they walked out after presentation) or the unfairness of how they have had months during the investigation to talk to the commissioner but selected not to. Yeah seems all so unfair to me. Whats unfair is that normal people that engage in this behavior are charged with crimes but because it happened on a football field it falls under their juridiction. In hindsight the players should be happy that this isn’t being looked at by the FBI because I got a news flash for you the FBI isn’t bound by CBA.

    Take your medicine like a man and go away Saints.

  12. daveman8403 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:39 AM

    phil325 says:
    Jun 20, 2012 10:30 AM
    Gimme a break. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck, chances are good you’ve got yourself a duck. You know they’re guilty let them take their punishment and be done with this.

    ————————————————–

    Your reasoning is fool proof. “you know they’re guilty”. get out of here.

  13. captatl says: Jun 20, 2012 10:43 AM

    The hearing is a platform for the defense of the players. Real defense attorneys actually dig up evidence to support thier cleints. Seems Ginsberg, cried that the NFL had exculpatory evidence that they did not present. If such evidence existed, and Ginsberg knew of its existence, then he, himself should have obtained the same evidence that the league was able to obtain and present it. Since he DID NOT… either his statement of knowing it existed is propaganda, or he failed his client by not being vigilant in his defense.

  14. ironmaiden666666 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:45 AM

    For examples of Goodell’s “arbitrary justice” (in my last post) please compare film of Mike Vick’s weekly late-hit beat-down parade to film of the Colt McCoy hit from last year.

  15. jml4343 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:47 AM

    Why do we continue to make excuses for people who break rules and then scream from the mountain tops that they should be allowed to craft a defense that could potentially get them off?
    Clemens, Bonds, OJ–the list goes on and on.
    Where is the accountability of these athletes?
    Just shut up and take your medicene.
    Goodell has been good for the game. He’s finally forcing these athletes to be examples for our kids. To exhibit behavior of a responsible adult.
    Something that should have been done a long time ago……..

  16. scratchnpost1234 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:51 AM

    Not a big fan if Goddells, but both sides are making a mockery of this whole thing. If the Judge /jury/executioner has the evidence and it was enough that the NFL knew these guys had something going on, wouldn’t these guys already know the evidence since they did it and provided it? Goddell has too much power , but I also believe the Saints are trying the OJ BS defense of if the glove don’t fit, ya can’t convict. If the Saints did nothing wrong, why did Payton and Williams both apologize? This kind of crap is going to turn the NFL into the NBA/WWE. Already a defense can’t defend without getting a penalty and players are getting fined for things like offensive pass interference. Goddell is turning the game into a joke and it is all about the money. It wouldn’t surprise me if in the future you can’t watch a game on network TV. You’ll have to pay for it on the NFL or ESPN.

  17. CKL says: Jun 20, 2012 10:52 AM

    I get that he didn’t want an outside committee having the power. But I’m no so sure that the players wouldn’t have been happy merely with the board they already have with Hanks, etc on it being the appeal board. I see nothing unreasonable about that at all.

  18. scratchnpost1234 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:53 AM

    Also, if Williams and Payton were innocent, why didn’t they Lawyer up and fight it? If proven innocent Goddell would have no recourse to punish them internally for a case he lost in court.

  19. thingamajig says: Jun 20, 2012 10:53 AM

    We’ll see in nine years how serious NFLPA and the players are when they negociate the new CBA. What are you willing to give up, and it will take alot, to obtain what you consider a fair justice system.

  20. nyfootballgiants says: Jun 20, 2012 10:57 AM

    But, at the end of the day all employers have the rights to act this way – and many do. As an employer, I am not required to share any or all of the information i gather during an investigation. Personally, you would be foolish to not participate in my investigation, but that is your choice.

    The difference is, that in this case, the NFLPA baragained away their rights (initially under Upshaw ) to have a court be the final arbiter in this situation.

    Bottom line – dont break the rules or violate the integrity of the game (as over 95% of players are able to do) and this won’t be an issue for you.

  21. purpleguy says: Jun 20, 2012 11:01 AM

    I wonder if Mike was paid by the word on this article. I am now officially sick and tired of all things Saints related. I almost long for the days of Viking stadium updates.

  22. realitypolice says: Jun 20, 2012 11:09 AM

    youafool says:
    Jun 20, 2012 10:39 AM
    but I still haven’t seen what is “unfair about the process”? Because the players say its unfair its unfair? That makes sense.
    ===============
    I’m having a hard time understanding how dense someone has to be to not understand that appealing a decision to the person who made the decision is unfair.

  23. eaglesw00t says: Jun 20, 2012 11:11 AM

    I believe Goodell should DEFINITELY have the suspension and fine powers.

    Im torn on the appeal process though. Putting the appeals in the hand of a former player would be ridiculous, and putting them in the hand of an NFL executive is equally ridiculous.

    Using a third party, as many people suggest, does as Goodell fears. Puts the position of protecting the NFL in the hands of someone who has no care for the entity of the NFL. And anyone imposing disciplice SHOULD be looking out for the best interests of the NFL as an organization. All these DUI’s make the NFL look terrible.

    People may hate the way its set up now, but I do actually agree with the way these operations work. Goodell as the commissioner represents the entire league. He doesnt represent one team, and he doesnt represent any one player. He is right. Keeping everything in order is the first directive of the leagues commissioner. And all 32 teams elected him to that position. If the players dont like how its set up, they can try to change it in the next CBA. It will definitely be a sticking point though. The owners will not let that happen.

  24. richndc says: Jun 20, 2012 11:12 AM

    If, as it is suggested, these players are either wrongly accused, framed, or scapegoated; where is the evidence for that? It is too bad those involved cannot simply man up and move on. Everyone is sick of players doing something wrong, then using every possible little legal maneuver just because they have money to pay the lawyers. This kind of behavior is what actually tarnishes the “brand”. I think we are all sick of it. You got caught, take your punishment, move on. If you really want to be a man, admit what you did. Seems like none of these ‘men’ were brought up well enough to understand that. Yes, it is their legal right, but they are still demeaning themselves and the NFL in the larger public’s view. What a great example they offer to their families, Fujita being the one yelling about how “this affects how I am able to provide for my family.” Somehow when millionaires say that, it sounds hollow.

  25. youafool says: Jun 20, 2012 11:16 AM

    I’m having a hard time understanding how dense someone has to be to not understand that appealing a decision to the person who made the decision is unfair.

    Dense as the NFLPA for not changing this when they had the chance. Its not unfair if its the damn rule that you jointly AGREED UPON.

    What’s unfair is punishing teams for breaking “unwritten rules”….

  26. musicman495 says: Jun 20, 2012 11:20 AM

    Well said, Mike, and for those who refuse to acknowledge the truth of what you say, God help them if they are ever falsely accused of something.

    As I have said many times on these pages, a person does not forfeit his Constitutional rights just because he is a member of a union whose contract is governed by a Collective Bargaining Agreement. And a company CEO – which is, after all, the sum total of what Commissioner of the NFL is – is not exempt from the U.S. Constitution in exercising his duties either.

    My hope and prediction is that the Federal Court will say that the NFL must show it’s complete evidence to the Court and to the accused before the Court can even rule on the Vilma defamation suit. And then, even if the Court rules against the merits of the defamation case, at least Goodell will have to put up or shut up.

  27. eyeh8goodell says: Jun 20, 2012 11:21 AM

    “I’m not going to hand off the brand and the reputation of the NFL to somebody who is not associated with the NFL. I promise you that. That is one of the number one jobs as a commissioner in my opinion.”

    ——————————

    Not to worry Goodell, you’re doing a great job of ruining the brand all by yourself.

    And a CBA doesn’t put Goodell above the laws of this country. If he conducts himself or affects other people (players) in a way that is outside the laws of this country he’s as accountable as anybody else in a court of law. Go Vilma.

  28. eyeh8goodell says: Jun 20, 2012 11:24 AM

    He’s finally forcing these athletes to be examples for our kids. To exhibit behavior of a responsible adult.
    Something that should have been done a long time ago……..

    ———————-

    LOL yeah right. Players are getting popped by the law now more than ever. The idea that Goodell has curbed criminal behavior among the player base is a fallacy. There’s a reason he hasn’t released any statistics backing up that assertion…..because those statistics don’t stack up in his favor. Goodell’s house of discipline in in utter chaos.

  29. shzastl says: Jun 20, 2012 11:25 AM

    Still don’t see how the inadmissibility of the NFL’s exhibits on timeliness grounds at the APPEAL hearing would be a basis for overturning the original decision, based on more extensive evidence. Since the players presented no evidence of their own on “appeal”, it seems that the court would have to find that the process for deciding upon the suspension before giving the players access to the evidence is so fundamentally unfair so as to be void as a matter of (labor) law

  30. electionconfidential says: Jun 20, 2012 11:25 AM

    Every organization has leader / boss. Goodell is the boss here and he handed out punishment. What’s so hard to understand?

  31. eaglesw00t says: Jun 20, 2012 11:29 AM

    What a great example they offer to their families, Fujita being the one yelling about how “this affects how I am able to provide for my family.” Somehow when millionaires say that, it sounds hollow.

    ————————————

    When I heard him and Vilma make those type of statements, I was partially disgusted. If they are exonerated of any wrongdoing, I will agree. But as of now, it sure looks like you tried to intentionally injure people for a few hundred bucks. That is a lowlife thing to do. And if you actually did do that, you should be sitting at home making no money from football whatsoever. And not just for a few games. You should be banned and try to make a living like a normal person.

  32. tedknight40 says: Jun 20, 2012 11:30 AM

    So how can the persons being punished, who have access only to a sliver of the file, get a fair shake when they don’t know what the judge/jury/executioner already knows?

    The punished person doesn’t need to know what the judge/jury/executioner already knows………BECAUSE THEY DID THE CRIME! They already know and have to act like they don’t!

  33. bigball1 says: Jun 20, 2012 11:31 AM

    You people who say shut up and “Take your penalty like a man.” Really?? So if it was you, and you are on a team that has a pay for proformance program, and you were charged and penalized for a bounty (intent to take someone out of a game by injury) without having done it….you would just take it like a man? The NFL does not even show you any eveidence until the very last possible moment required by the CBA….but YOU would take it like a man? And you really would not even ask them to prove it?
    Really? Good luck with that in your lifes travels…

  34. the1vito says: Jun 20, 2012 11:31 AM

    As I study for the bar exam, I can’t help but look at the stark contrast between this presentation and what is required in just about every other judicial or quasi-judicial hearing. It serves as a great example of why we have the rules of evidence for determining the veracity of evidence and testimony and opening them to full cross-examination as opposed to the result should were those rules not in place. I want to thank the NFL for giving the misery of studying for the bar some much needed context outside of professors’ ridiculous hypotheticals.

  35. sclement65 says: Jun 20, 2012 11:32 AM

    Also, if Williams and Payton were innocent, why didn’t they Lawyer up and fight it? If proven innocent Goddell would have no recourse to punish them internally for a case he lost in court.

    Because they can only be reinstated by Godell. What do you think the chances of that happening if they fight him in court. He holds their careers in his hands.

  36. eaglesw00t says: Jun 20, 2012 11:33 AM

    eyeh8goodell says:
    Not to worry Goodell, you’re doing a great job of ruining the brand all by yourself.

    And a CBA doesn’t put Goodell above the laws of this country. If he conducts himself or affects other people (players) in a way that is outside the laws of this country he’s as accountable as anybody else in a court of law. Go Vilma.

    ———————————

    Yep. Value is up, teams are selling for 5 times what they were a decade ago, ratings are at an all time high, money is rolling right in…

    You are absolutely right. He is killing that brand to death.

  37. ratedgap says: Jun 20, 2012 11:38 AM

    Not a big fan if Goddells, but both sides are making a mockery of this whole thing. If the Judge /jury/executioner has the evidence and it was enough that the NFL knew these guys had something going on, wouldn’t these guys already know the evidence since they did it and provided it? Goddell has too much power , but I also believe the Saints are trying the OJ BS defense of if the glove don’t fit, ya can’t convict. If the Saints did nothing wrong, why did Payton and Williams both apologize? This kind of crap is going to turn the NFL into the NBA/WWE. Already a defense can’t defend without getting a penalty and players are getting fined for things like offensive pass interference. Goddell is turning the game into a joke and it is all about the money. It wouldn’t surprise me if in the future you can’t watch a game on network TV. You’ll have to pay for it on the NFL or ESPN.

    Also, if Williams and Payton were innocent, why didn’t they Lawyer up and fight it? If proven innocent Goddell would have no recourse to punish them internally for a case he lost in court.

    =================================

    You seem lost, so i’m gonna help you. As far as your question, “If the Saints did nothing wrong, why did Payton and Williams both apologize?” Payton apologized for not being more hands on and knowing what Williams was up to. He never apologized for not admitted to their being a Bounty system, which is the NFL’s accusation. No one has admitted to a bounty system, including Williams, whose apology was written by the NFL by the way.

    On to your second question, “Also, if Williams and Payton were innocent, why didn’t they Lawyer up and fight it?” They couldn’t if they ever wanted to work in the NFL again, the coaches have no union. They did appeal, and the same dude that punished them initially said, no, sorry, your appeal is shot down. Even if they won in a court of law, the NFL didn’t have to allow them to ever work in the league again. So they have no actual recourse but to accept the punishment, then the denial of the appeal. Your questions answered now?

  38. nyraider says: Jun 20, 2012 11:38 AM

    First time posting. Just want to say, Florio, your coverage of this mess has been second to none. Personally, I don’t like when players are suspended, but I’m trying to stay objective; and your informative posts help keep it real.

  39. spankymcwanky says: Jun 20, 2012 11:40 AM

    Boy, some of you just don’t get it. “The Saints should just shut up and take their medicine.” “Why are the players fighting so hard when the coaches already admitted to doing it?”

    Well wake up. The coaches admitted to having a pay-for-performance sytem and so did the players. The players are fighting this so hard because they’ve been punished for a pay-for-injury system and their reputations and future earning potentials have been severely diminished. The punishment does not fit the crime. It’s like you getting a speeding ticket and the punishedment was you being characterized as trying to hit little old ladies in your car and given 20 years in jail. Wouldn’t you fight that?

  40. mornelithe says: Jun 20, 2012 11:41 AM

    It’s hard, nay, impossible for me to dredge up even a modicum of compassion for a group of individuals who’ve refused to defend themselves at every turn. Have changed their stories numerous times, and only cry to the media about the woes of the unfairness of the appeals process, that they themselves signed off on.

    You know what most people do when they’re accused of something they didn’t do? They try to explain their side of the situation, provide evidence to that end, and seek to have the accusations overturned. Nothing, of the sort is going on here.

    Why haven’t the coaches denied everything? Why hasn’t the GM denied everything? That’s really the biggest factor in my book. The players can bandy words all they like, but in the end, the people who’ve been punished with equal severity are seemingly very quiet throughout all of this.

  41. ezg1 says: Jun 20, 2012 11:56 AM

    Thanks DeMoron Smith! What a fine contractual agreement you negotiated and recommended for approval. Perhaps the players should consider a Wisconsin like recall election. The motive appears to be somewhat an attempt to identify the snitches!

  42. gerttownmomo says: Jun 20, 2012 12:06 PM

    but I still haven’t seen what is “unfair about the process”? Because the players say its unfair its unfair? That makes sense. Because they didn’t have the extra 55 minutes they needed to pour over evidence that they then didn’t dispute or fight (remember they walked out after presentation) or the unfairness of how they have had months during the investigation to talk to the commissioner but selected not to.

    =================

    another one that didn’t bother to read the article fully. goodell NEVER agreed to show them ANY evidence when he gave them a chance to meet. it was ‘you’re accused of this because i said so, what do you have to say for yourself?’ and secondly, he showed the evidence to the players (the evidence he gave them) then pulled the old switcheroo on them when the hearing commenced and used another ‘set’ of ‘evidence’ to explain why they were disciplined.

    you know, drew was right, if you tell a lie enough, it will eventually become truth.

  43. The Deep Dig says: Jun 20, 2012 12:09 PM

    Ever notice the question of too much power is always associated with a Republican trying to achieve it?

  44. scratchnpost1234 says: Jun 20, 2012 12:09 PM

    Ratedgap

    He never apologized for (not admitted) to their being a Bounty system, which is the NFL’s accusation. No one has admitted to a bounty system, including Williams, whose apology was written by the NFL by the way.
    and I need help?
    I think I understand it fine, and IF Williams and Payton WERE not guilty and fought Goddell and won, Goddell would have no recourse on their ability to make a living in the NFL. If you didn’t see the pay sheets and don’t understand them or want to turn a blind eye and just say it was warrior mentality NFL talk then go ahead.

  45. scratchnpost1234 says: Jun 20, 2012 12:14 PM

    Also, if Williams and Payton were innocent, why didn’t they Lawyer up and fight it? If proven innocent Goddell would have no recourse to punish them internally for a case he lost in court.

    Because they can only be reinstated by Godell. What do you think the chances of that happening if they fight him in court. He holds their careers in his hands.

    If they actually WERE innocent and took it to a court of law. The evidence would be put in front of a judge or jury and THEY would decide if there was any wrong doing and Goddell losing opens the door to have him ousted and if they were found to have done no wrong how can Goddell keep any owner(who he actually works for) from keeping these guys in the league? Heck Donte Stallworth is still on a roster and he killed a guy………

  46. jakek2 says: Jun 20, 2012 12:17 PM

    More importantly, and as explained last night, the CBA doesn’t give Goodell a blank check to do whatever he wants to do. Though he’s the judge, jury, and executioner, his power to be the judge/jury/executioner must be exercised fairly and impartially and in accordance with the rules contained in the CBA. If he fails to do that, Goodell is subject to external oversight, through the federal court system.
    ————–
    I’ve been telling all of you pro-Goodell slurpers this exact statement since this dumb story broke. Are you still going to tell me that the “players agreed to it, too bad for them”? Tards.

  47. worldwidebleater says: Jun 20, 2012 12:21 PM

    DeMaurice Smith should be ashamed of himself. He sold the players on collusion. He sold the players on Goodell being judge, jury, and executioner. And he sold the players on a smaller piece of a shrinking pie.

    Then he convinced the players to renew his contract. He should run for office.” This deal was the hopiest, hope we could hope for. Oh and we got some change too.”

  48. 6thsense79 says: Jun 20, 2012 12:23 PM

    mornelithe says:Jun 20, 2012 11:41 AM

    It’s hard, nay, impossible for me to dredge up even a modicum of compassion for a group of individuals who’ve refused to defend themselves at every turn. Have changed their stories numerous times, and only cry to the media about the woes of the unfairness of the appeals process, that they themselves signed off on.

    You know what most people do when they’re accused of something they didn’t do? They try to explain their side of the situation, provide evidence to that end, and seek to have the accusations overturned. Nothing, of the sort is going on here.

    Why haven’t the coaches denied everything? Why hasn’t the GM denied everything? That’s really the biggest factor in my book. The players can bandy words all they like, but in the end, the people who’ve been punished with equal severity are seemingly very quiet throughout all of this.
    —————-
    Please tell me how you prove you didn’t do something. How do you prove a negative. I can get 5 people to spend some time with you and later claimed that you raped someone. How do you prove you didn’t do it? That’s the genius of the US court system and why it makes it one of the best in the world despite its imperfections. It requires the accuser to prove you did something not the accussed to prove they didn’t. At every turn the players have said I didn’t do that and really that’s all they need to do. Now it’s the job of their accusser to show what evidence he has that lead him to conclude the players did do that. When someone has over “50,000 pages” of evidence to use against someone else and is only willing to share a small fraction of that….well I don’t care what system you’re talking about, court or CBA….that’s a joke process.

  49. silentcount says: Jun 20, 2012 12:31 PM

    This whole mess is an example of what will always happen when you try to judge and punish players for something that might have been said in a pregame pep rally 3 years ago. The only fair system of judge and punish is one where absolute proof of an infraction can be shown over and over on video replays. Stick to penalties that happen ON THE FIELD and players, coaches and fans will accept the punishment. Throwing a flag for one’s perceived intensions is not right. Making public accusations as fact and marching off a years suspension without evidence on the field is harmful to the sport.

  50. ratedgap says: Jun 20, 2012 12:32 PM

    I think I understand it fine, and IF Williams and Payton WERE not guilty and fought Goddell and won, Goddell would have no recourse on their ability to make a living in the NFL. If you didn’t see the pay sheets and don’t understand them or want to turn a blind eye and just say it was warrior mentality NFL talk then go ahead.

    =================================

    Say what? Of course Goodell would be able to keep them out of the league. Are you serious? They don’t have a union. Goodell can ban any coach he wants from being employed by the league. He can deny employment to anyone just like any other company can. He doesn’t have to announce it, but he can make it known certain coaches are personna non grata. So yeah, they may get a temporary win in court, but a lifetime of earning potential in their profession of choice would be lost in the process. Get it now?

  51. arizonapetdoctor says: Jun 20, 2012 12:33 PM

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know what discipline of law Florio practiced? Defense, Prosecution, Civil??? I understand that he is adamant that the NFL show its evidence, but this may be skewed by his personal experiences, etc. It seems like there is a lot of biased reporting/blogging based solely on his interpretation (not that it is wrong, and it is certainly his right to, as it is his/NBCs website), but since most of the readers are accepting his findings as fact, it would be nice to know the background behind his opinions.

    Since everyone else is expressing their opinions, I figure I will do the same. My law background is extensive research of Law and Order, and years ago, The Practice. RG has no obligation to release more than what he has, and in the time frame he has (note I stated obligation via the CBA, although I believe that he would have saved himself a huge PR nightmare by doing so and giving this process a more transparent appearance). If this does go to a federal court, it is not likely that they will rule on the length of suspensions, etc. Rather they will look to see if RG stepped outside of his bounds as his position of the commissioner. More specifically, if the CBA states that the appearance of a rules violation, etc appears to be against the best interests of the NFL, then they will rule in his favor. This will likely become more of a labor/CBA issue instead of a right/wrong or fair/unfair issue. Based on the evidence released, there certainly appears to be enough to support a possible finding (i.e. Rothlesberger – not charged or convicted of a crime, however, suspended due to conduct detrimental to the league), which leads me to the second issue, Vilma’s defamation lawsuit.

    The defamation lawsuit is unlikely to be successful, because all RG needs to show is that with the evidence collected, there was a pay-for-performance program, and that some of the evidence could reasonably lead to the assumption of a pay-for-injury program. He does not need to prove that it existed, just that it may have existed (this is my understanding after discussions with friends of mine who are practicing attorneys in various disciplines).

    I am sure that some will agree and some will disagree with my opinions, that is our right on a blog. All we are saying (all of us) are that these are our opinions. Saints fans are likely going to call foul regardless of the evidence provided, and people in RGs court are going to say he is in the right regardless of the evidence produced. To those that are crying over a miscarriage of justice, please realize that the Brian Banks situation is truly a miscarriage of justice. This will eventually be worked out, either in a court of law or otherwise. BB has lost years of his life and an opportunity to play at the highest level (possibly), due to false allegations and bad legal advice from a legal aide attorney. Please place all of this in perspective, these players certainly should have placed some money away in savings for a “rainy day”, although I imagine they were not expecting this… Not saying that I do not feel for the players, rather, place this in perspective please

  52. sdave1971 says: Jun 20, 2012 12:35 PM

    Excellent report, Mike, but apparently some of the numbskulls who post on your site still don’t get it. There was a study done recently that discovered, basically, that dumb people don’t know they are dumb. Meaning, those who don’t get it, don’t know that they don’t get it. Just because the NFL is not a court of law does not mean that these players have no rights. The NFLPA will bring this before a federal judge and they will get their day in a court of law. Good luck, Goodell. You’re going to need it.

  53. scratchnpost1234 says: Jun 20, 2012 12:37 PM

    I can and do agree Goddell shouldn’t be the guy hearing an appeal process that he ruled on. Last season on player suspension appeals Merton Hanks or Art Shell or another person would often hear the appeal. More independent then Goddel, but still an NFL employee so not sure how neutral that decision would be.

  54. scratchnpost1234 says: Jun 20, 2012 12:43 PM

    Ratedgap
    Say what? Of course Goodell would be able to keep them out of the league. Are you serious? They don’t have a union. Goodell can ban any coach he wants from being employed by the league. He can deny employment to anyone just like any other company can. He doesn’t have to announce it, but he can make it known certain coaches are personna non grata. So yeah, they may get a temporary win in court, but a lifetime of earning potential in their profession of choice would be lost in the process. Get it now?

    Goddell STILL works for the owners, and if he’s found in the wrong in a court case and the coaches are proven to be innocent there’s NO grounds for him to keep anyone out of employment in the league. The coaches aren’t bound by any CBA and if Benson wanted Peyton and Williams back he could have them. IF they proved their case in a court of law.

  55. clickablecontent says: Jun 20, 2012 12:58 PM

    While these are all very logical arguments, they are built on the presumption that these procedings are or should be subject to the same scrutiny as a court of law. They are not. And the worst thing for all the pieces involved, from Fujita to Goodell, is for it to go to a court of law.

  56. ilovefoolsball says: Jun 20, 2012 1:29 PM

    So basically years from now the NFL will end up paying millions of $$$ from lawsuits because they didn’t handle procedure right.

    In the meantime the dimwitted population was chanting “move on! accept your punishment!”.

  57. ratedgap says: Jun 20, 2012 2:07 PM

    Goddell STILL works for the owners, and if he’s found in the wrong in a court case and the coaches are proven to be innocent there’s NO grounds for him to keep anyone out of employment in the league. The coaches aren’t bound by any CBA and if Benson wanted Peyton and Williams back he could have them. IF they proved their case in a court of law.

    ===================================

    If this was the case, and Goodell was a true employee of the owners, then Tom Benson could tell Goodell to screw off with suspending his coaches and GM and keep them on right? I mean, it’s Benson’s team, and Goodell works for Benson right? See how that doesn’t fit with the landscape of the NFL? Apply this to the private sector. Say you want to work for Microsfot in the mailroon. Your buddy oversees the entire mailroom operation, and he wants to hire you on. Say Microsoft higher ups so no you can’t hire this guy. Is there anything you buddy could do to get you on? Absolutely not. You have the RIGHT to work most anywhere you like, doesn’t mean you will get hired on. If Goodell wants to keep a coach out of the league, believe me they will be out of the league. Williams has an indefinite suspension, what do you think would happen if an owner said screw that I am hiring him anyway? Goodell works for me. It wouldn’t happen. For some reason you aren’t grasping the reality of how this works. If Goodell says someone is out, they are out. Point blank end of story. Now, an owner could sue the NGL and goodell to get a coach they want to hire that badly allowed into the league, but who is gonna go through all that trouble? No one. Just find another coach. Sorry, after the appears were denied, coaches had no choice but to sit and take it. They can’t even speak out on it, cause if Goodell wants them out, they will be out. You can multiply that by 100 id they tried to sue.

  58. jpmelon says: Jun 20, 2012 2:29 PM

    If I own a business and a group of employees don’t care about the rules and have been difficult to get forthcoming information from; I want the ability to either discipline or terminate employment.

  59. FinFan68 says: Jun 20, 2012 3:21 PM

    Innocent people do not ask for “the evidence” because they know there isn’t any. Guilty people will demand the “proof” somebody actually caught them doing something wrong and then they will nitpick every technicality involving that proof. They are simply trying to discredit the obvious. If you look at this whole thing objectively, you will see that something inappropriate was going on and all of these guys were involved. Their tactics/stories have shifted several times and attacking the process is just the latest shift.

    Don’t get caught up in symantics. There is no rule that lists “bounties”. Goodell is simply exercising discipline over a situation where he retains complete authority. Look at the clause that governs this issue (the one that gives Goodell this authority) and you will see the generalization to which “bounties”, “pay for performance” programs, cover-ups, and lying to investigators all apply. Who cares what the media or anybody else calls the situation? The bottom line is that these guys did wrong, got caught, have been punished, and now they are yelling to anybody who will listen. Do no crime and there is little to worry about. These guys were not falsely accused of conduct detrimental to the game/league and that is basically what they are being punished for.

    This whole scenario and all the drama/media coverage is sickening. It needs to go away.

  60. daveman8403 says: Jun 20, 2012 3:23 PM

    jpmelon says:
    Jun 20, 2012 2:29 PM
    If I own a business and a group of employees don’t care about the rules and have been difficult to get forthcoming information from; I want the ability to either discipline or terminate employment.

    ——————————————————————————————————

    One Owner does not own the NFL. Owner’s own separate franchises, hence the need for a commissioner to rule, regardless of what one owner wants. If Goodell wants somebody gone, there is just about nothing one owner can do. by the same token, one owner can not tell Goodell to “screw off”. I think that is the point ratedgap was trying to make.

  61. jakek2 says: Jun 20, 2012 3:42 PM

    jpmelon – these “employees” have contracts. You understand that right?

  62. gadgetdawg says: Jun 20, 2012 4:19 PM

    It is always cute to watch the denial.

    Fact 1: The players union and the NFL met to negotiate a new contract.

    Fact 2: The old CBA Upshaw had negotiated ended, disappeared and combusted into ash the moment it expired.

    Fact 3: The players stood on certain things like revenue and super weak preseason camps instead of discipline.

    I still contend that they could have gotten a much better deal on discipline if they were willing to bend on something else. They decided that it was less important than say. . . ‘vacation fantasy training camps’.

    They made their bed and can commence lying in it.

    Maybe in a decade or so the NFLPA will decide that allowing the Commish near dictatorial powers is something they would like change and seriously stand against. Then they can get that put in the next CBA that they draw up.

  63. ratedgap says: Jun 20, 2012 4:28 PM

    FinFan68 says:
    Jun 20, 2012 3:21 PM
    Innocent people do not ask for “the evidence” because they know there isn’t any.

    ==================================

    Um, stop right there. They don’t? What planet are you from? Of course innocent people ask for evidence. If someone is falsely accused and thrown in jail although they are 100% innocent, they don’t ask for evidence of what they did and have the evidence presented scrutinized to prove their innocence? Good lord people can be daft. The FIRST thing an innocent person says when accused of something falsely is show me the proof. Guilty people who just want to get out of something too. No doubt. But to say innocent people don’t ask for proof is pretty silly. I guess Brian Banks should have stopped pushing to prove his innocence and stayed in jail. Seriously people?

  64. FinFan68 says: Jun 20, 2012 5:37 PM

    ratedgap said 1 hour ago:
    FinFan68 says:
    Jun 20, 2012 3:21 PM
    Innocent people do not ask for “the evidence” because they know there isn’t any.

    ==================================

    Um, stop right there. They don’t? What planet are you from? Of course innocent people ask for evidence. If someone is falsely accused and thrown in jail although they are 100% innocent, they don’t ask for evidence of what they did and have the evidence presented scrutinized to prove their innocence?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You are right. That didn’t come off quite the way I intended. I mean that the ONLY thing these guys are doing is demanding evidence. They were given (arguably) adequate time to address things. Innocent people would have provided witnesses corroborating their story rather than just trying to figure out a technical loophole. Of course innocent people will want to see the evidence (in conjunction with other actions taken) but these clowns chose to not go to a meeting where they would have received it and now they complain about having not enough time to review everything. Their tactics and stories change constantly…but the truth doesn’t change.

  65. winner2277 says: Jun 20, 2012 10:14 PM

    FinFan68

    “but these clowns chose to not go to a meeting where they would have received it and now they complain about having not enough time to review everything”

    Well, it appears we have another Saints hater that still has their head buried in the sand. Maybe you didn’t catch it when Hargrove said he had a meeting scheduled with the NFL to see their evidence and answer questions that the NFL cancelled without reason and never rescheduled. I am POSITIVE you will find a way to blame that on him though. Your hatred of the Saints is clearly noted, as well as your apparent age group. Don’t be late for school tomorrow.

  66. acetw says: Jun 24, 2012 8:44 PM

    nypd1056 says:
    Jun 20, 2012 10:26 AM
    “If you did something wrong, and the league calls you in and states they have evidance that at this time and date you did exactly what your are acused of doing, how can you sit there and lie and deny you did what your charged with doing.”

    Let me put it this way…
    “If you did not do a certain something wrong, and the league calls you in and states they have evidence that you did that certain something wrong, how can you sit there and ‘take it like a man’ without defending youself?”

  67. acetw says: Jun 24, 2012 9:25 PM

    @arizonapetdoctor – “The defamation lawsuit is unlikely to be successful, because all RG needs to show is that with the evidence collected, there was a pay-for-performance program, and that some of the evidence could reasonably lead to the assumption of a pay-for-injury program. He does not need to prove that it existed, just that it may have existed (this is my understanding after discussions with friends of mine who are practicing attorneys in various disciplines).” ———- Here I’m afraid you are incorrect. The lawsuit between Vilma and Goodell is a personal one. If this actually makes it to the hearing stage, Goodell would have to show that what he said about Jon was true. (Helped set up and fund a pay-to-injure program, took the field of play with intent to injure other players, etc.) If he cannot do so, then he would likely be found guilty of slander and should be charged appropriately.

  68. juliusanonymous says: Jun 25, 2012 7:58 PM

    @acetw:

    Burden of proof in a defamation case is ALWAYS on the plaintiff – meaning Vilma. He would have to prove in a court that Goodell made a false statement about him and that it directly injured or damaged him. There is zero chance of that happening. How could Vilma prove that it is false? He can claim that it is false, but prove it? Good luck. Even harder to prove damages outside of the CBA, considering the CBA allows that discipline. Vilma is wasting taxpayer dollars with frivolous lawsuits and my guess is that at least one of them will be tossed and never see a court room.

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