Being in New Orleans has made the NFLPA a little salty about the power NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wields over player discipline, and union officials say they want to try to challenge Goodell’s authority.
The echoes of the Saints bounty scandal and subsequent punishments are quickly turning into a drumbeat from their camp.
“We’ve already asked the league to revisit it, a number of times, to revisit neutral arbitration and commissioner discipline,” union president Domonique Foxworth told NFL.com’s Albert Breer. “Our players are intent on making moves in that direction, and any avenue that it requires us to make that move, we’re willing to take because it’s not my responsibility to decide the direction of this organization. It’s my responsibility to hear that direction and lead in that direction. And that’s where they want to go.”
NFLPA officials suggested to Breer that negotiations over HGH testing were the open door that was needed to introduce the topic for conversation.
The league considers Goodell’s power to discipline players a closed case, but it’s obvious the union doesn’t believe that.
“The collective-bargaining process never ends,” executive director DeMaurice Smith said. “For example, in the old 2006 deal there were 50 side-letter agreements. So this idea that somehow the process ends when we signed the deal in July, that somehow you stopped negotiating the issues is false. That’s No. 1. No. 2, commissioner discipline remains an important issue with our players.”
Anything they might potentially get back will hinge on giving something, which makes negotiations over HGH testing worth monitoring.