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NFLPA files grievance over new conduct policy

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When the NFL unilaterally unveiled a new personal-conduct policy in December, the NFL Players Association strenuously objected.  Now, the NFLPA has begun the official process of pushing back.

Per Albert Breer of NFL Media, the union has filed a non-injury grievance challenging the league’s decision to change the rules regarding off-field misconduct without collectively bargaining those changes with the union.  The NFLPA has cited 10 different ways that the new policy violates the current deal between the league and its players.

The NFL, to little surprise, dismisses the concerns as an effort to protect those who have violated the law.

“The league’s revised conduct policy was the product of a tremendous amount of analysis and work and is based on input from a broad and diverse group of experts within and outside of football, including current players, former players, and the NFL Players Association,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Breer.  “We and the public firmly believe that all NFL personnel should be held accountable to a stronger, more effective conduct policy.  Clearly, the union does not share that belief.”

This isn’t about accountability.  It’s about having a fair procedure, especially before a player has been determined to be legally responsible for misconduct.  Placement of certain players on the Commissioner-Exempt list, which pays them but prevents them from playing, constitutes a form of discipline, no matter how the league executives who never played pro football try to couch it.  Those working for the league who played football, like executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent, know that not letting a football player play football constitutes discipline, even if he’s being paid.

Under the prior policy, action typically wasn’t taken (especially for first-time offenders) until the criminal case ended.  Now, the NFL intends to put certain players on the sidelines with pay — and possibly to impose a final decision even before the legal process has ended.  Right or wrong in a given case, it seems that such changes require not just input from the union but consent via bargaining.

The league may be trying to have it both ways on this one, legitimizing the changes to the conduct policy by claiming that “input” was received from the union and others, but refusing to engage in the type of back-and-forth negotiations that are required by law whenever management intends to alter the rules that apply to the labor force.

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40 Responses to “NFLPA files grievance over new conduct policy”
  1. skoobyfl says: Jan 23, 2015 11:16 AM

    Unless of course the favorite son of the NFL gets caught cheating, then the rules & punishments are not applicable.

  2. abqhawk says: Jan 23, 2015 11:17 AM

    Come on – its the NFL, what you you REALLY expect from them?

  3. joetoronto says: Jan 23, 2015 11:19 AM

    The NFL has become a football version of the WWE.

  4. misterfuji1982 says: Jan 23, 2015 11:23 AM

    The “OMG, I hate teh unions” comments are always my favorites.

  5. theravens1 says: Jan 23, 2015 11:25 AM

    The Fans have paid huge sums of money, in the belief that the rules will be followed, and cheaters will not be allowed to prevail over others that play within the rules!
    To allow the Patriots, who know, or should have known that they were breaking the rules to continue is wrong! Everyone knows it!
    The NFL and the NFLPA needs to do the right thing, and forfeit the Patriots game!!
    They are deliberately running out the clock, and allowing the cheaters to play in a game. If the most prized trophy in all of sports is handed to a cheating player and a cheating organization – then it is a crime against all paying fans!
    In all other sporting situations this would be handled quickly and efficiently.
    The clock is tick, tick, ticking. TICK, TICK, TICK….
    BOOM!

  6. gosox9876 says: Jan 23, 2015 11:30 AM

    Fans should file a grievance over the commissioner’s conduct.

  7. 2manyconcussions says: Jan 23, 2015 11:32 AM

    The NFL will lose to the union in court. Then the players who have been punished under these guidelines will kick their butts again for damages. Cue the Peterson haters.

  8. 6thsense10 says: Jan 23, 2015 11:33 AM

    The NFL blatantly disregarding the CBA?? Shocking.

    The league is a joke and has been ever since Goodell took over. Maybe he works for the owners and is just their lap dog but I don’t remember Taglibeau making any of the bone headed decisions Goodell constantly makes. I also don’t remember him just bending over for the owners whenever they want. Tags protected the owners from themselves.

    Goodell is the worse.

  9. ejmat2 says: Jan 23, 2015 11:34 AM

    The biggest problem with the NFL is simply Goodell. There are other issues however Goodell is the main one. Goodell makes up rules as he goes and gets away with it because he has the powerful owners back him up. People like Kraft, Jones, etc…

    Goodell needs to go, period! I would like players to be held accountable but do it the right way. Have processes in place so you don’t have to make snap judgments and do whatever you see fit. What cracks me up is the notion Goodell tries to use that these abuse cases have never been dealt with before. Although that may be partly true the fact is it should have been several years ago. There have been abuse, rape, murders from NFL players so I wonder why it took Ray Rice’s video for someone to finally start acting on it. Then Rice gets reinstated because he supposedly dealt with an adult that could defend herself yet Peterson is still suspended. Not condoning what Peterson did just mentioning the fact the reinstatement of Rice is a little hypocritical to say the least. How was an adult that was knocked out, dragged out of an elevator then kicked while still being knocked out able to defend herself?

  10. mt10425 says: Jan 23, 2015 11:36 AM

    NFLPA morons. You keep protecting the idiots that make the WHOLE look bad through their stupid or criminal behavior. Yeah, you’re on the right side of this. Is this because you got offended at not being included when the policy was rolled out? You keep on being a contrarian roadblock. It’s been very successful so far.

  11. mgm54 says: Jan 23, 2015 11:37 AM

    Fans should look at their owners first, the commissioner works directly for THEM!! You don’t conduct business at your job without your boss being aware.

  12. willycents says: Jan 23, 2015 11:38 AM

    NFLPA filing this now as a favor to the league to take the heat off the balls controversy currently enveloping the headlines.

  13. guppyjunior says: Jan 23, 2015 11:40 AM

    This sport used to be classy, and all American. At some point greed, power and nepotism took over. My granddad would have thrown his slipper at the tv and gone out to the garage to work on his car over watching this mess

  14. brysimpson says: Jan 23, 2015 11:49 AM

    Safe guess people don’t want their employer intruding in their private lives. NFL players have less rights to privacy? The trend of employers meddling in their employees private lives isn’t healthy for players or you. Fines and penalties are necessary for on-field behaviour; but what someone does on their own time is their own private matter.

  15. RomoIsGod says: Jan 23, 2015 11:54 AM

    Guess who doesn’t come up with the conduct policy on his own? Goodell. Guess who ignorant fans want fired? Goodell. I want him fired too but it has to do with the watering down of the rules to help the offense and moving games to London. At least I have a legitimate reason.

  16. alltee says: Jan 23, 2015 11:54 AM

    what has roger goodell done right? is there a single issue under his tenure that dint trun into a full blown fiasco????

    he has proven to do one thing exceptionally right and efficient, and that’s collecting his 44 million dollars in annual salary.

  17. shaggyjeff says: Jan 23, 2015 11:56 AM

    Jameis Winston just had a huge sigh of relief …

  18. thelinestartsheretokissmyass says: Jan 23, 2015 11:56 AM

    Ray Rice approves this msg… and Ray Lewis, snd Aaron Hernandez, and every Pats player…..m

  19. tvjules says: Jan 23, 2015 11:59 AM

    Hey Roger — This news isn’t enough to pull the Patriots off the front page.
    Cue Peyton Manning and the retirement press conference.

  20. kyatropicfanforlife says: Jan 23, 2015 12:01 PM

    skoobyfl says:
    Jan 23, 2015 11:16 AM
    Unless of course the favorite son of the NFL gets caught cheating, then the rules & punishments are not applicable.
    =================

    When has the “famous son” gotten in trouble for cheating but not been penalized? Are you one of those people that is going to say “this is a pattern of cheating, they are always doing something” without actually specifically mentioning what ALL of their sins are?

    I keep hearing the Pats had to have done this, because they are always getting caught, they are always involved in something, etc. Other than Spygate, what are ALL of these offenses that they have gotten away with?

    They were accused of taping walk throughs, but that was proven false, and the accuser who had an ax to grind admitted he made it up just to get back at the Patriots. Other than that, what are these things?

  21. ericbutler7272 says: Jan 23, 2015 12:08 PM

    This isn’t about accountability. It’s about having a fair procedure, especially before a player has been determined to be legally responsible for misconduct. Placement of certain players on the Commissioner-Exempt list, which pays them but prevents them from playing, constitutes a form of discipline, no matter how the league executives who never played pro football try to couch it.

    Just like officers who break the law get put on administrative leave until the criminal complaint has been settled….or just like officers involved in a shooting who get placed on administrative leave until the justice department can determine if someones civil rights have been violated….

    Sounds eerily similar to a case down in …. Missouri?

  22. zeke2517 says: Jan 23, 2015 12:10 PM

    “This sport used to be classy, and all American.”

    …When? I thought it was a bunch of monsters smashing into each other for a ball. Sure, it’s great to watch, but what have I missed?

  23. steelersnowand4ever says: Jan 23, 2015 12:14 PM

    theravens1 says:Jan 23, 2015 11:25 AM

    The Fans have paid huge sums of money, in the belief that the rules will be followed, and cheaters will not be allowed to prevail over others that play within the rules!
    To allow the Patriots, who know, or should have known that they were breaking the rules to continue is wrong! Everyone knows it!
    The NFL and the NFLPA needs to do the right thing, and forfeit the Patriots game!!
    They are deliberately running out the clock, and allowing the cheaters to play in a game. If the most prized trophy in all of sports is handed to a cheating player and a cheating organization – then it is a crime against all paying fans!
    In all other sporting situations this would be handled quickly and efficiently.
    The clock is tick, tick, ticking. TICK, TICK, TICK….
    BOOM!

    To which I say GO SEAHAWKS!

    I agree that this is turning into a sham game because of the “shadow” of deflate-gate ove the “Shield”. Knowing God-dell, he will wait until after the Super Bowl to make his findings known, because it is NFL policy that during SB week you can’t make any big announcements that would overshadow the game!!

  24. ejmat2 says: Jan 23, 2015 12:14 PM

    RomoIsGod says:
    Jan 23, 2015 11:54 AM

    Guess who doesn’t come up with the conduct policy on his own? Goodell. Guess who ignorant fans want fired? Goodell. I want him fired too but it has to do with the watering down of the rules to help the offense and moving games to London. At least I have a legitimate reason.
    —————————————
    Sorry but I disagree. Goodell has people that HE has personal history with make decisions. The problem with what you are saying is that there were no rules which is a problem in itself. Then, HE made them up as HE went along. In addition he treats people differently instead of being consistent. There are many reasons why most fans want Goodell fired. London games is a part of them. So is HIS negligence and favoritism. All legitimate reasons.

  25. jeremycrowhurst says: Jan 23, 2015 12:16 PM

    Marshawn Lynch assaulted me. And Russell Wilson. And Richard Sherman. Yet they’re all playing in the Super Bowl. Where’s the justice?

    – a Patriots fan

  26. FinFan68 says: Jan 23, 2015 12:16 PM

    The union won’t stand for player accountability unless they can bargain something out of it and then complain about the process on an individual basis later. Got it.

  27. beach305 says: Jan 23, 2015 12:16 PM

    If someone told an NFL owner that you get to the Superbowl, for only one million dollars and a draft pick I sure everyone of them would jump at the change to cheat. That is why it is important that the NFL needs to come down hard on the Patriots who have for to long thumb their noses at the league for to long.

    You need to make them feel that cheating is not worth it.

  28. dmiller68 says: Jan 23, 2015 12:20 PM

    The NFL has become a world of contradictions… We care about safety but not as much as what you are wearing and grabbing your privates… Clay gets a ~20k fine for spearing a QB… Lynch gets a 50k fine for grabbing is stuff, which maybe he is doing for safety reasons. Lynch was being threatened with suspension because he want to wear gold shoes… At this point you have to wonder if the NFL has completely fallen off the rocker. I love watch my games but it is sad we haven’t had one once of SB team comparisons yet because of all the other crap. They have destroyed their own shield at this point.

  29. dryzzt23 says: Jan 23, 2015 12:21 PM

    How about De Smith and his union goons have a meeting with the NFL players and tell them to STOP:
    – drinking & driving
    – beating women and kids
    – taking/buying/dealing illegal drugs
    – getting in bar fights
    – raping women
    – breaking the law in general

    The fact that De Smith chooses to go after the NFL for disciplining players who commit crimes, instead of telling those players to stop committing crimes, says everything you need to know about the NFLPA.

    If players stopped committing crimes, there would be NO need for a conduct policy.

  30. theparadoxx82 says: Jan 23, 2015 12:33 PM

    alltee says:
    Jan 23, 2015 11:54 AM
    what has roger goodell done right? is there a single issue under his tenure that dint trun into a full blown fiasco????

    he has proven to do one thing exceptionally right and efficient, and that’s collecting his 44 million dollars in annual salary.

    ——————————

    Notice how you don’t see the word “owner” very much. That’s why he makes $44 million. As long as the media continually focuses every single issue right at Goodell… there really is no reason for him to go anywhere (at least to the people who decide that)

  31. theparadoxx82 says: Jan 23, 2015 12:36 PM

    guppyjunior says:
    Jan 23, 2015 11:40 AM
    This sport used to be classy, and all American.

    ———————————————-

    No, it was probably much, MUCH worse. Now there’s just 100x more coverage and a 24 hour news cycle to fill.

  32. chiadam says: Jan 23, 2015 12:37 PM

    I strenuously object!

    – Commander Jo Galloway

  33. paul82461 says: Jan 23, 2015 12:55 PM

    Its time to ditch the NFLPA, if you cant follow rules then go get a regular job. I would love to make millions of dollars and follow some simple, mostly common sense rules.

  34. skawh says: Jan 23, 2015 1:02 PM

    “NFLPA filing this now as a favor to the league to take the heat off the balls controversy currently enveloping the headlines.”

    $$$$$

    Fans can multitask just fine. In the words of Marshawn “fined again” Lynch, thank you for asking.

  35. tonebones says: Jan 23, 2015 1:11 PM

    Just throw the stupid guys out of the league. It’s a football league, not a reform school.

  36. bishoplanky says: Jan 23, 2015 1:14 PM

    I’m glad. Not because I totally agree. But I think that Goodell has way too much power, and all the NFL does is dictate what THEY want. Also, it isn’t working…..my proof is the last year of NFL….let’s say, goofs….it needs to be more of a democratic setup. Don’t get me wrong….greed and money will eventually wreck that. But, at least it buys us fans some time. Wait….what if the fans decided things?? No, that would make too much sense. So continue on.

  37. 6thsense10 says: Jan 23, 2015 1:25 PM

    dryzzt23 says:
    Jan 23, 2015 12:21 PM
    How about De Smith and his union goons have a meeting with the NFL players and tell them to STOP:
    – drinking & driving
    – beating women and kids
    – taking/buying/dealing illegal drugs
    – getting in bar fights
    – raping women
    – breaking the law in general

    The fact that De Smith chooses to go after the NFL for disciplining players who commit crimes, instead of telling those players to stop committing crimes, says everything you need to know about the NFLPA.

    If players stopped committing crimes, there would be NO need for a conduct policy.
    —-+++++—–

    Seriously Pollyanna? That’s your solution? Why stop there? Have the Chief of police go out and tell people in your city to stop committing crimes. You see if people just stopped there wouldn’t be a need for the criminal Justice system. But in the real world we know that people being people there’s going to on occasion be some that either a. Someone commits a crime and rules are needed to deal with it. B. Someone is accused of crime but they didn’t commit the crime

    In fact one of the main objections the union has with the NFL is their process of suspending players who have not even been convicted of a crime. So Pollyanna the world is not black and white and just telling people to stop doesn’t work.

  38. dumbaseinstien says: Jan 23, 2015 1:40 PM

    I’m no Union fan by any stretch of the imagination; however, the League (their employer) has no right to preempt a disciplinary action based solely on accusations. I agree that the legal determination of events needs to be resolved before an employer should be enacting punishment, for non-work related incidents. That is the way it works in the rest of the work force. If someone is caught stealing from their employer, they are fired on the spot. But if someone is caught stealing away from their work, no employment punishment is enacted unless a conviction is made. The same holds true with licensing in financial, insurance, legal, Real Estate, exc…you only loose your license to work if you are convicted…and you continue to work while the legal process plays out.

  39. FinFan68 says: Jan 23, 2015 1:45 PM

    6thsense10,
    Why does the NFL need to employ people that do that? The only reason guys like that have a job at all is because they can play football. If the owners would seriously get rid of the miscreants, all they would have is some legal argument about collusion filed by the union. Walmart could (and does) fire people for stuff like that and nobody says a word. These athletes get a pass because people view them as special. If the owners didn’t fear another team would hire their problem players and gain an advantage, many of these clowns would be out of the league.

  40. skoobyfl says: Jan 23, 2015 8:00 PM

    When has the “famous son” gotten in trouble for cheating but not been penalized? Are you one of those people that is going to say “this is a pattern of cheating, they are always doing something” without actually specifically mentioning what ALL of their sins are?

    I keep hearing the Pats had to have done this, because they are always getting caught, they are always involved in something, etc. Other than Spygate, what are ALL of these offenses that they have gotten away with?

    They were accused of taping walk throughs, but that was proven false, and the accuser who had an ax to grind admitted he made it up just to get back at the Patriots. Other than that, what are these things?

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

    Think this was the first time that the balls were deflated or the first time he got caught ??

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