Washington safety Ryan Clark has a habit of speaking out on various topics. He tends to speak out the loudest regarding the NFL’s rules regarding illegal hits against offensive players.
With teammate Brandon Meriweather receiving a two-game suspension for his sixth violation of the rules regarding unnecessary roughness, Clark has opted to blame not Meriweather or the rules generally, but the man who imposed the ban.
“Roger [Goodell] kept full control of certain things and he passed this [the decision on safety rules fines and suspensions] on to Troy [Vincent], a guy who was up for the [executive] director’s job of the NFLPA,” Clark said Tuesday, via Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com. “He didn’t get it. Quickly switched sides and now this is his first opportunity to have power. This is the only power he has in the office and this is what he comes up and does. I think it just shows where he’s at.”
Clark’s arguments often contain a flaw in logic; this one is no different. Vincent’s decision to impose a two-game suspension — the next step of progressive discipline in light of Meriweather’s one-game suspension in 2013 — represents not an effort by Vincent to stir the pot with kettle corn muscles but an attempt to ensure that players play the game as safely as they can. Meriweather has been one of the worst offenders in recent years, which makes him a target for enhanced discipline.
When referring to Goodell’s “full control” that was partially “passed” to Vincent, Clark also ignores the fact that Meriweather’s suspension will be reviewed by Ted Cottrell or Derrick Brooks, who have been jointly hired and who are jointly compensated by the NFL and the NFLPA. So while Goodell still has judge/jury/executioner power in several key areas of discipline, neither he nor anyone else has it as to on-field misconduct.
Which means that, if Vincent was indeed caught up in his newly-acquired title or authority, the NFL and the NFLPA have put in place a system that protects the players against mistakes or agendas.