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NFLPA: “Massive step backwards” in talks on Goodell’s disciplinary role

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 28:  DeMaurice Smith (L), Executive Director of the NFLPA, speaks with Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti (R) before a game against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images) Getty Images

When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to the media at the league meetings in Florida on Wednesday, he said that the league and the NFL Players Association were “not close” to an agreement about changes to his role in player discipline under the personal conduct policy.

According to NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, they were a closer before a “dramatic change of course” from the league. In an email to the union’s executive committee obtained by Jim Trotter of ESPN, Smith wrote that the change represented “a massive step backwards from where negotiations stood several weeks ago.”

Smith writes that the league’s proposal includes a “new position” that “neutral arbitration is NOT a part of this negotiation” and Smith’s emphasis makes a point of how much of a problem that would be after the union’s spent years arguing in favor of more neutral arbitration in the disciplinary process. The NFL has been just as adamant on the other side of the issue.

The email also outlines disagreements on two other points. Per Smith, the NFLPA “gave tentative approval” to a league idea that three former judges serve as a jointly selected arbitration panel but that idea is not included in the most recent proposal.

Smith also says the league wants teams to be able to ask a player to go on the exempt list — which was used with Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy and allows players to be paid while not playing — with “no limitations, not based on allegations of violent crimes.” He calls that idea “entirely too broad.”

In short, it doesn’t sound like the league and union agree on much outside of the fact that an agreement on changes to Goodell’s power isn’t just around the corner.

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56 Responses to “NFLPA: “Massive step backwards” in talks on Goodell’s disciplinary role”
  1. kcchefs58 says: Mar 23, 2016 6:40 PM

    The NFLPA doesn’t know how to get things done, because Smith and Goodell are in cahoots.

    And…there is nothing wrong with the catch rule.

  2. darkneptune73 says: Mar 23, 2016 6:42 PM

    In other words, Czar Goodell refuses to relinquish any role.

  3. IB007 says: Mar 23, 2016 6:44 PM

    It sounds like Herr Goodell wants to keep his power hungry ways …

  4. FinFan68 says: Mar 23, 2016 6:49 PM

    Why would the league ever cede control over the the disciplinary process? That makes no sense. Of course the union wants a 3rd party. The problem is that a 3rd party has no skin in the game and is not at all tasked with the continued viability of the league. If the league’s future were never considered, there would not be a disciplinary system at all.

  5. jag1959 says: Mar 23, 2016 6:50 PM

    If the league’s position does not include neutral arbitration then there is no worthwhile substantive change being discussed. The irony is that neutral arbitration doesn’t limit Goodell’s power to be judge and jury when it comes to discipline it simple prevents him from arbitrating his own decision, thus saving him from himself. What kind of sensible agreement allows the punisher to be the arbitrator of an appealed punishment? It’s the reason the league so often fails in court and Goodell looks so foolish. The more obvious conclusion is the league has backtracked in an attempt to extort from the union the equivalent of their first born just to do the sensible thing.

  6. kissbillsrings says: Mar 23, 2016 6:51 PM

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely….Goodell is the shining example of this reality!!!

  7. nyfootballgiants says: Mar 23, 2016 6:51 PM

    Look – in collective bargaining you need to give something up to get something you don’t have. For this is important to the union, what are they willing to give up in order to get it. Until the union puts a value out there nothing will change

  8. redeemerac says: Mar 23, 2016 6:52 PM

    Well we can all agree on one thing, Goodell needs to go!
    He’s good at making money and that’s about it.

  9. trailerparkking says: Mar 23, 2016 6:53 PM

    This is known as damage control, children.
    Smith is no better than Goodell, he clearly lied to influence public opinion because he flailed at the negotiating table.
    Smith disgusts me, what kind of man negotiates and agrees to a contract and then demands changes to the terms? Not a very honorable man if you ask me.

  10. imcornholious says: Mar 23, 2016 6:54 PM

    Worst commissioner in sports ever….

  11. edelmanfanclub says: Mar 23, 2016 6:54 PM

    Goodell doesnt want neutrality because hes biased, further proof.

  12. bigbits2 says: Mar 23, 2016 6:57 PM

    No surprise there.
    The league says 1 thing and then next week completely changes the position.

    On another note, I’d have respect for the NFL if they didn’t get caught lying red-handed over and over.
    And that’s why Goodell can never be trusted to mete out discipline for actual or imaginary infractions.
    You do not want to get caught with 1 of those imaginary infractions, especially, because the punishment is draconian.

  13. sactogary says: Mar 23, 2016 7:00 PM

    I’m sick of all the whining about Goodell. He must be doing a good job – the game is growing in popularity, the owners are getting richer, all the established players and coaches are rich, and fans of every team seem to hate him equally. From the comments on these articles, one would think that the NFL is on the verge of disaster, and neither the owners nor the players have any impact on the game – it’s all Roger’s fault.

    Whine on.

  14. luckyforus says: Mar 23, 2016 7:03 PM

    The NFL and the NFLPA are a bunch of school children fighting and whining. There’s no integrity. It’s all about power. Players quit beating women, quit doing drugs, and quit cheating and you wouldn’t need the NFLPA to try to get you off.

  15. chawk12thman says: Mar 23, 2016 7:03 PM

    Until CBA renegotiation’s are required, the NFLPA has no real leverage here and they are totally looking at this the wrong way. The NFL will not give up something without getting something of substance. Not sure what that would be, but I’ll bet the Commissioner’s office/owners know what that is.

  16. cross300 says: Mar 23, 2016 7:04 PM

    Goodell is way too power hungry and naricisstic to bring about real change to discipline. The worst commisioner in sports presides over the best game and hoardes all of the credit for the success to protect his job and enormous salary. Its criminal.

  17. theparadoxx82 says: Mar 23, 2016 7:05 PM

    Because the NFLPA just wants Goodell to give it up for nothing.

    That’s not how anything union-related works.

  18. jd7920 says: Mar 23, 2016 7:09 PM

    The simple fact that Goodell refuses to agree to a three judge arbitration panel plainly shows Goodell and the NFL are not interested in fairness. IMO, again and again, Goodell has shown that he can’t be trusted, is biased, and he has no problem lying and taking money under the table….and that’s he’s loved by the owners–because they’re the same too. Pretty sad, this could be an even greater league!

  19. letmefeelyourlove says: Mar 23, 2016 7:09 PM

    luckyforus says:
    Mar 23, 2016 7:03 PM

    The NFL and the NFLPA are a bunch of school children fighting and whining. There’s no integrity. It’s all about power. Players quit beating women, quit doing drugs, and quit cheating and you wouldn’t need the NFLPA to try to get you off.
    ___________________________________

    Also, quit playing games when it’s cold and wet, since that my lower the psi of the footballs.

  20. xilikemenx says: Mar 23, 2016 7:10 PM

    In other words, Czar Goodell refuses to relinquish any role.
    ________________________________________

    You do know that Goodell is merely a puppet, a tool for the majority vote of the 32 owners??? He is merely their servant and has very little discretionary power. Your Goodell hate is so misdirected it’s comical. Stay in the sandbox, business just aint your thing! LOL!

  21. mongo3401 says: Mar 23, 2016 7:11 PM

    I would have to say any large successful business in this country does not want to give anything to any Union. Byes the owners have to deal with various unions in their business outside their NFL clubs but they don’t like it.

  22. gardenpeggy says: Mar 23, 2016 7:13 PM

    Look – in collective bargaining you need to give something up to get something you don’t have. For this is important to the union, what are they willing to give up in order to get it. Until the union puts a value out there nothing will change
    ———————————–

    Exactly…..

  23. therealraider says: Mar 23, 2016 7:14 PM

    The NFLPA needs to be prepared to be locked out for an entire season if they really want Goodell’s power gone. Owners will offer up the usual scare tactic “we’re billionaires we can wait you out” .. To which D Smith should reply “Lets see how the networks feel when there are no more games on Sundays.”.. 1 missed Super Bowl with the legitemate threat of missing another and the players will soon be electing the commissioner every 4 years.

  24. teal379 says: Mar 23, 2016 7:14 PM

    The union wants to hold the league to the contract signed all the time – league is holding the union to it and right now the commish has the juice.

    Good for the goose is good for the gander…

  25. jag1959 says: Mar 23, 2016 7:19 PM

    FinFan68 says:
    Mar 23, 2016 6:49 PM
    Why would the league ever cede control over the the disciplinary process? That makes no sense. Of course the union wants a 3rd party. The problem is that a 3rd party has no skin in the game and is not at all tasked with the continued viability of the league. If the league’s future were never considered, there would not be a disciplinary system at all.
    _________________

    The issue isn’t about control over the disciplinary process. Within the scope of the punishments set forth in the CBA that control should and does rest with the commissioner’s office. All a third party arbitration process would do is judge whether that punishment was meted out in accordance with the agreed upon terms in the CBA. And that is precisely the area where the commissioner continues to step on his crank. Neutral 3rd party arbitration would not eliminate the stewardship of the game from the equation it would actually validate it.

  26. rportkid says: Mar 23, 2016 7:19 PM

    Goodell is a lying snake. That’s the leader of today’s NFL folks. The league has no credibility, no trust, public perception is plummeting…and the dishonest buffoon at the top is the reason. Sad to watch the NFL slowly self destructing.

  27. BobbyHanks63 says: Mar 23, 2016 7:26 PM

    The NFL is a slimy operation with Robber Goodell operating with draconian power at his disposal. He has lied whenever it is convenient for him to achieve his end around and owners have got themselves a nice little Chucky doll. Maurice Smith is not an impressive union mouth piece, and don’t see why the player’s shouldn’t plan to replace him. You need a sharp mind to deal with a fascist controlling leader. The Well’s Report speaks volumes of the commissioner and the league duplicity in player’s negotiations. Sad set of circumstances… it’s ‘like’ when you were a little kid who dreamed of playing pop warner football until you found out the league’s president and all the coaches turn out to be a bunch of evil clowns actually it’s exactly like that!

  28. brianav036 says: Mar 23, 2016 7:29 PM

    Maybe if they would have shut their mouthes and quit bragging to the media about it things would have happened. How did you expect Goodell to react?

  29. usmutts says: Mar 23, 2016 7:29 PM

    Strike. That will get the owners’ puppet dancing to a different tune. If not, strike some more.

  30. maestro1899 says: Mar 23, 2016 7:32 PM

    Just look to Josh Gordon’s case to see why Goodell needs to have this power removed.

    And after all of those suspensions and passed drug tests, he still doesn’t have time to rule on his appeal? He needs more time to “go over the report”.

  31. rogerWWEgoodell says: Mar 23, 2016 7:33 PM

    cant wait till the next cba comes up, should take about 3 years of no football to work it out all because of goodells incompetency.

  32. cwwgk says: Mar 23, 2016 7:36 PM

    The reports of Goodell’s demise were apparently greatly exaggerated.

  33. flamethrower101 says: Mar 23, 2016 7:39 PM

    As much as I’m tired of stories of the union going to court to overturn one of Roger Goodell’s boneheaded disciplines, it’s become clear that negotiations will not get the union even a fraction of what it wants unless they give up something huge.

    I still question what leverage the owners think they have considering their last 5 court cases have all been embarrassing losses. That’s not even including the ARBITRATION HEARING about the $100MM+ that the league was found to have hid from players. Yeah, that wasn’t even a federal case, that was straight-up arbitration.

    Yet the owners still have the gall to expect something significant from the players in exchange for something, in retrospect, fairly small?? They’re either incredibly stupid, incredibly greedy, or everyone knows something we don’t.

  34. alltee says: Mar 23, 2016 7:41 PM

    I’m shocked that it was unsuccessful asking a dictator to relinquish power, historically that has worked so well

  35. lambeaudungbarn says: Mar 23, 2016 8:04 PM

    You could make it a hell of a lot easier if people with a Criminal past were not eligible to play in the NFL!
    QNE Strike and you are out!
    Cut it off at the head makes sense, but this is the new anything goes, League.

  36. cinzano08 says: Mar 23, 2016 8:14 PM

    Maybe the owners have had enough losing in federal court and found a way to limit their liability. 20 million for psi that has proven to be no competitive advantage is absolutely ridiculous.

  37. thetooloftools says: Mar 23, 2016 8:26 PM

    In a few short years the NFLPA will not exist. Players will have EVERYTHING written into their contracts and that will be that. Players cannot be trusted anymore NOT to do stupid things.

  38. getyourownname says: Mar 23, 2016 8:55 PM

    Translation: He won’t give us what we want.

  39. j0esixpack says: Mar 23, 2016 9:22 PM

    The simple truth is, that although Article VIII of the NFL Rules requires the owners to have a commissioner of “unquestioned integrity” – anyone with “unquestioned integrity” won’t be corrupt enough to follow the commands of the owners

    We don’t need a new commissioner

    We need new owners

  40. mtrhead269 says: Mar 23, 2016 9:25 PM

    What kind of man agrees to a contract and then changes the terms?

    Well every team in the NFL does that as a standard operating practice. The owners bend over the players, coaches and fans on a regular basis.

  41. sparky900 says: Mar 23, 2016 9:26 PM

    I think the NFL actually knows it is completely in their best interests to have third-party arbitration; look at how many hits there have been to the NFL’s image because of the fact that Roger Goodell is judge and jury. With neutral arbitration, the “Shield” can still be protected and if a negative public reaction occurs because of a arbitrator’s decision, the NFL would be off the hook. But as others have said: there is no chance the NFL will give this up without getting something in return.

  42. 3wordanswers says: Mar 23, 2016 9:28 PM

    I don’t think anyone has a problem with the NFL Commissioner being the arbitrator of discipline in the league; its just that said discipline has to be seen to be fair; and under Goodell its seems to be both unfair and inconsistent.

    Same goes for in game rulings, which nobody can comprehend any more.

    Rozelle and Tagliabue were seen to be fair guys, and players generally seemed to accept their judgements and wisdom.

    Goodell is just so inconsistent, nobody trusts him any longer.

  43. paulrevereshorse1775 says: Mar 23, 2016 9:35 PM

    xilikemenx says:
    Mar 23, 2016 7:10 PM
    In other words, Czar Goodell refuses to relinquish any role.
    ________________________________________

    You do know that Goodell is merely a puppet, a tool for the majority vote of the 32 owners??? He is merely their servant and has very little discretionary power. Your Goodell hate is so misdirected it’s comical. Stay in the sandbox, business just aint your thing! LOL!

    ———-

    And therein lies the problem with Goodell.

    The NFL bylaws, starting on page 28, describe the commissioner’s responsibilities and authority. On pretty much everything listed the commissioner has the sole and final authority, with the exception of items that are the responsibility of the Executive Committee. Nowhere does it say that the commissioner is to make decisions based upon the ownership majority.

    In fact, under the article on membership, the commissioner has jurisdiction over the member clubs in most instances. The commissioner works for the league, which the member clubs are franchises of. That is supposed to be the way works.

  44. nflrulebook says: Mar 23, 2016 9:52 PM

    All negotiations require give and take.

    NFL gives up on arbitrary punishment, I mean goodel as arbitrator.

    Union gives up on kicking the nfls *** in court every few months.

  45. daytontriangles says: Mar 24, 2016 1:14 AM

    He can’t give up his disciplinary role, the Jets won’t let him.

  46. thejetssuck2001 says: Mar 24, 2016 8:26 AM

    the league wants the games fixed. they want goodell to have total control over discipline so he can slam AFC rivals of the Jets unencumbered. Isnt that right Chiefs fans? glad you now know how the goodell hammer can slam you for something that they didnt enforce this year. the nfl figures if they can knock two of last years afc teams out of the playoffs then the jets have a chance to get in. the reason the jets never make the playoffs is bc their owner only cares about money and selling tickets, not winning, and true jets fans know this fact.

  47. rootpain says: Mar 24, 2016 8:41 AM

    nyfootballgiants says:
    Mar 23, 2016 6:51 PM
    Look – in collective bargaining you need to give something up to get something you don’t have. For this is important to the union, what are they willing to give up in order to get it. Until the union puts a value out there nothing will change.
    =================================
    I totally agree. And I suggest that the union give up negotiating with Goodell.
    Another five years having to listen to Goodell is unbearable.

  48. dsigrey says: Mar 24, 2016 9:13 AM

    I’m actually looking forward to the players strike when this CBA is over. The dirt will be slung…

  49. silverhat78 says: Mar 24, 2016 9:25 AM

    What do you expect NFLPA?
    Goodell is not just going to give up his power, you’ll have to force him some way. Goodell loves power as most humans do in this world.

  50. mogogo1 says: Mar 24, 2016 9:34 AM

    This is a can’t lose for the players association. Either Goodell agrees to limit his powers or he doesn’t and they fry him publicly for not doing so. And, in typical fashion, Rog has made that all the easier by backtracking on previous things his people said.

  51. steelbreeze676 says: Mar 24, 2016 11:16 AM

    NFLPA, don’t budge an inch, we’ve got your back. Sincerely, football fans.

  52. nhpats says: Mar 24, 2016 11:31 AM

    Der Leader has spoken. Now fall in line or your team will lose a draft pick or two….

  53. mousietongue says: Mar 24, 2016 11:32 AM

    sactogary says:
    Mar 23, 2016 7:00 PM
    I’m sick of all the whining about Goodell. He must be doing a good job – the game is growing in popularity, the owners are getting richer, all the established players and coaches are rich, and fans of every team seem to hate him equally. From the comments on these articles, one would think that the NFL is on the verge of disaster, and neither the owners nor the players have any impact on the game – it’s all Roger’s fault.

    Whine on.

    Signed,
    Roger Goodell/NFL Office

  54. ghostofgilchrist says: Mar 24, 2016 11:45 AM

    The NFL isn’t a democracy. Making decisions on discipline is part of the job description of a commissioner in any sport. Silver, Manfred, and Bettman make decisions that aren’t popular with players all the time.

    If the owners don’t like Roger, then replace him. If the players don’t like him, then strike. Anything else is just hot air.

  55. sjoyner59 says: Mar 24, 2016 11:57 AM

    I want Goodell totally gone from the NFL,it immediately becomes a better league if that were to happen

  56. tylawspick6 says: Mar 24, 2016 12:25 PM

    Arrest propaganda minister, Sheriff Goebbels now.

    Try and convict on charges of fraud, collusion, sabotage and defamation.

    Brady must sue to bury him and his cronies.

    The secrets and lies Goodell is sitting on…….Whoa.

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