When a player in the NFL is handed a fine by the league for an action on the field on Sundays, he has the right to an appeal as stated by the collective bargaining agreement. The appeals process is usually conducted by conference call with up to four parties on the line: the fined player and his counsel, an NFL appeals officer and a representative of the NFL Players Association.
Hall of Famer Art Shell has served as one of the league’s two appeals officers until being recently replaced by retired Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk.
Shell believes another party should be included in the process to more adequately understand the play that led to the fine and what action should ultimately be taken. According to Jarrett Bell of the USA Today, Shell wants to see the victimized player also have a voice in the process.
“That job is not easy,” Shell said. “You’re representing somebody who’s not on the conference call – the person who was victimized.”
It’s a good suggestion that the league should seriously consider implementing. If the player on the receiving end of a borderline illegal hit can provide a different perspective on why the play ended in the given outcome, it could help the appeals process become more effective.