When the NFL players accepted the new Collective Bargaining Agreement last year, only one of the 32 teams dissented: The Steelers, whose players voted 78-6 against the CBA. Now one player on last year’s Steelers team says the rest of the players are finding out why they should have been more skeptical.
Hines Ward told radio station WFNZ in Charlotte that players are discovering that their CBA gave the commissioner’s office too much power to take disciplinary action against players, and failed to give the players sufficient avenues to appeal Goodell’s decisions.
“So Roger Goodell, even though a lot of players don’t like having him in charge, the NFLPA, we signed off on the collective bargaining agreement,” Ward said, via USA Today. “And it should be noted that we were the only team who voted against it, and that was a major factor because of how we are fined on our team. In order to go to the appeal committee, we had to go right back to Roger Goddell. So that was one of the big things that we voted no against because we just felt like it was going to be unfair.”
Ward noted that the four players suspended for the Saints bounty program probably wish the players had negotiated for a process that took that decision out of Goodell’s hands.
“But to the rest of the teams that did vote for the CBA, he’s in charge, and those are the rules, and that’s what you have to abide by because that’s what you signed up for,” Ward said.
It would be interesting to know what the tally would be if the Saints could re-vote on the CBA. Eleven months after a majority of the Saints approved it, they now might vote it down by an even more lopsided margin than 78-6.