Talib, Crabtree outcome proves independent review works

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The football-following world has become conditioned to believe that, in all matters of NFL player discipline, the league has full and complete control over the process — judge, jury, executioner. But when it comes to discipline for on-field actions, a truly independent process exists.

And it works.

Hearing officers Derrick Brooks and James Thrash are jointly hired and paid by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, and they have final say over the cases they resolve. The league, as it did in the case of Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib and Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree, imposes the punishment, the player appeals, and the hearing officer sorts it out.

Amazingly, the league office never whines or wails about the outcome, even when the league loses, as it did (sort of) on Tuesday, with the suspensions cut from two games to one.

So if independence exists — and works — when it comes to the question of whether things a player does during a game will trigger significant punishment, why is independence unacceptable when it comes to the question of whether things a player does on his own time will trigger significant punishment?

Here’s why: Because the league traditionally has regarded its power as a product of collective bargaining, and the league consistently has refused to surrender any of that power without getting an equivalent concession from the union. While that way of thinking may have worked when Big Shield was sailing through calm, open waters, the turbulence the league faces on several different fronts cries out for a process that replaces heavy-handedness with fair, objective consideration in the hopes of balancing proper discipline with the importance of allowing the best football players to play football.

At some point in the aftermath of the Ray Rice debacle, protecting the shield became confused with protecting the Commissioner. The Commissioner and those who work for him need to start looking for ways to promote and enhance the shield. Extending the procedures that provided justice for Talib and Crabtree regarding an ugly in-game incident to policies that apply away from the field would be a smart, simple, and easy start.

14 responses to “Talib, Crabtree outcome proves independent review works

  1. If the independent reviewer upheld the suspension, would that still prove the system works? I think this is a case of confirmation bias…

  2. Jeez. The CBA is a contract. It’s a legal document. The “C” is for “collective”. The “B” stands for “bargaining”. The players bargained away some rights in exchange for more money. It is what it is until they negotiate a new agreement. The players want the money AND the rights. Well, they just simply don’t have them until the contract expires. They bargained them away for now. Expect the same conundrum for the players at the next negotiations, $$$$, or rights. I won’t be surprised if they go for the $$$$ again. And whine about it. Again.

  3. A 4-game suspension levied on the GOAT for a puff of air frame-up with no proof perpetrated by 31 owners, and a one-game suspension for fighting and robbery on the field of play. Makes a lot of sense. This commissioner needs to go immediately; that smug look of his would never be missed. It doesn’t matter who exactly imposes the punishment…it still comes from him.

    Btw….which team is he going to go after NEXT season? You already know it’s going to happen, it’s just a question of which team and/or player.

  4. funny how haters from other teams feel they should have been suspended for the season. All I care about is the NFL being consistent. These guys were already ejected for an entire game with the exception for a couple of minutes on Sunday. Two games is the punishment Ray Rice received for punching his wife.

    The real question is why wasn’t there even a penalty flag thrown last year when Talib assaulted Crabtree by taking his chain, and Crabtree did nothing in response? He just walked away. The league had a chance last year to review the crime and felt there is nothing wrong with a misdemeanor. So they tolerate a hostile work environment. So this year he is assaulted again and he defends himself by tacking the alleged criminal where he finds approx 7 other Talib accomplices (all on video evidence) surrounding him and invading his personal space where he felt threatened by the hostile mob. Then the alleged criminal assualted him again by ripping off his helmet and punching him. The victim had the legal right to defend himself in such a crime. Unfortunately for the NFL they have allowed this known criminal to repeatedly get away with crimes without being punished except for the 4 games when he was caught using illegal drugs. Then when a victim address the criminal, his employer punishes him. Since the victim is employed in the state of California, under CA. labor law 1102.5, the employee is protected in the employee friendly state. Since the employee was punished for addressing the hostile work environment which the employer has known about , and has done nothing about , the employee who is losing over $400,000 by its employer can seek damages in the state of California that far exceed the lost wages.

    Just Sue Baby! You can clearly prove the NFL bias against your current employer. A few weeks ago a co-worker of yours was suspended for bumping an official…..never in the history of the league has a player been suspended for this before, although it has happened a number of times. Just as you can prove just a few weeks ago you can show where AJ Green and Jalen Ramsey was not suspended for their far worse actions.

  5. Both of these guys are repeat offenders of being idiots… If I were an owner, an NFL suspension would negligible because they wouldn’t be a part of the team anymore. Both players put themselves before them team during a game, put others in danger of injury… for what??? A chain…. please.

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