NFLPA should push for more clear Personal Conduct Policy

Peter King of SI.com has teased via Twitter that his Monday Morning Quarterback column will contain plenty of stuff regarding the Ben Roethlisberger situation.

Until then, there’s an important point that needs to be addressed after Commissioner Roger Goodell imposes a suspension of Roethlisberger under the Personal Conduct Policy.  In the next CBA, the union needs to fight for a better policy and procedure for disciplining players who engage in unwise off-field behavior.

As we pointed out on Saturday, the current policy is vague.  The NFL mandates conduct that “is
responsible, that promotes
the values upon which the league is
based, and is lawful
.”  Does anyone really know what this means?  As one league source observed, “The standard cannot be ‘I will let you know once it happens and depending upon the amount of press coverage your conduct generates.'”

The deeper problem is that the union already has agreed to allow the NFL to exclusively govern this area of the employment relationship, and to permit the Commissioner to serve as judge, jury, executioner, appeals court, and last-minute-reprieve-giving Governor.  Though the NFLPA would have to make a concession elsewhere in order to adjust a policy that actually impacts only a handful of players but potentially impacts all of them, the union needs to do something to ensure that the Personal Conduct Policy will be clearly defined — and fairly applied.

18 responses to “NFLPA should push for more clear Personal Conduct Policy

  1. Well, we can’t know what needs clarified until somebody loses a fight to a McDonalds bag.

  2. As we pointed out on Saturday, the current policy is vague. The NFL mandates conduct that “is responsible, that promotes the values upon which the league is based, and is lawful.” Does anyone really know what this means
    ——————————————-
    Yep, don’t rape women.

  3. From the league perspective, I think adjusting sentances according to “the amount of (bad) press coverage you conduct generates”, is perfectly reasonable. NFL is in the entertainment industry and depends on the whim of public perception as much as any business.
    If the game and the league start to be viewed in a negative light, people find something else to watch. Or buy souveniers of. Or promote their products with. In issuing suspensions, the league isn’t imprisoning the offenders, simply prohibiting from representing their company for a period of time. If the guys want to quit and go work at another job no one is stopping them.

  4. Agree that it needs to change, as the current policy leaves the NFL open to accusations of bias, inequality and hypocrisy.
    The only way they can avoid this is to go by the law, and therefore until someone is convicted of crime, they shouldn’t be subject to NFL discipline.
    While this would mean that the likes of Pacman, Little Ben, etc, wouldn’t be punished, it is the only way to do it uniformly.
    For people like Pacman, Tiny Ben, etc, their teams need to take the ‘moral’ high gound and cut them. Structure their contracts so that the guaranteed money would be returned.

  5. People need to look at the police blotter at top of page. Look at all the name who have been arrested or charged and NEVER BEEN SUSPENDED!!!!

  6. Goodell stressed when he amended the language in the public conduct policy that he was especially concerned about “allegations of violence against women”. The number of cases of players being involved in domestic disputes or sexual assaults against women is alarming.
    On the Steelers alone, Roethlisberger, James Harrison, and Santonio Holmes have all walked away from at least one serious complaint from a female in the past couple of years. I don’t think anyone seriously thinks they walked because they were innocent. They walked because the women recanted under pressure or promise, or were too intimidated by the negative attention that would follow.
    It’s a loophole in the legal system that Goodell is trying to plug from the league perspective. So he should. Women make up a significant percentage of football fans and often control the amount of time and money their spouses or children spend on it. I’m surprised that no feminist groups have weighed in on the Roethlisberger incident the way animal rights groups took up the case against Michael Vick. It could still happen, once the season begins and/or Roethlisberger takes to the field.
    Goodell is just trying to contain the fallout before it happens.

  7. A more clear policy, how about this – if you get into any kind of trouble, you will be suspended.
    I guess Ben didn’t know he’s not supposed to give alcohol to minors or force himself onto girls since it wasn’t in the code of conduct.

  8. Here is a clear conduct policy. Don’t ever have a run-in with the law, EVER. About 99% of the time, if you ever have to talk to the police for anything, you are either a) doing something wrong, b) are in the wrong place or c) hanging out with the wrong people.
    Here’s a little hint for every idiot in the NFL, surround yourself with good people and make smart decisions. It’s not that tough.

  9. Why its up to management not some ahole union to figure out what is what
    This is all about the scumbag in Pitt he should get 8 games anything less and its a joke he did we all know he did it 8 game Rodger screw pitt and the playoffs

  10. robert ethan posted, “From the league perspective, I think adjusting sentances according to “the amount of (bad) press coverage you conduct generates”, is perfectly reasonable.”
    —————————————————
    A team could get their papers and radio guys to keep up the bad press on opposing players to get them suspended. Did you just start writing and not even think about what you were putting down? Yikes.
    Yes, there are some people who believe that some women lied or are lying about what happened between them and the men they accuse to leverage those accusations for money.
    Since you are so sure everyone believes that the men are automatically guilty, it is not surprising that you would be in favor of the Dictatorship expanding its powers. Perhaps you have heard, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Case in point, the deceased Chris Henry: He was suspended for something he didn’t do. Now, was the fair? Of course not.
    We currently have a legal system that is set up to be unbiased and has a presumption of innocence. As Uncle Leo points out so nicely for us, “The only way they can avoid this is to go by the law, and therefore until someone is convicted of crime, they shouldn’t be subject to NFL discipline.”

  11. @ Benny Mendenberger-Ward
    Deb wears the DTF band.
    However, hers means “Don’t trust females”

  12. NFL itself should also allow more clear punishment of players, it is the union that has stopped Goodell from dropping the hammer on people who should have never been allowed back at all.
    People didn’t give a sh*t about Chmura back in the day because the NFL was a second tier sport like hockey is now. I remember the Chewy issues and Tagliabue but was too young to care, but it always seemed odd. He just let the criminal justice system decide.
    With the Baseball strike NFL took a commanding lead and has become the big shot of the sports world. That also leads to more exposure and a lot of fans who will not drop to a knee and kiss little Ben’s pinky finger when he drops his pants.
    Hardcore idiots will watch and cheer their team regardless, but a majority of the fans are more mainstream and more critical of player conduct. The same fans are buying the merchandise and tickets that is propelling the NFL to record growth. They can also find something more appealing if they see players running amuck and the NFL not caring.
    Baseball is making a comeback and MMA is emerging, even a short strike is going to knock the NFL back just like it did baseball.
    Time for Warden Goodell to start dropping the hammer on players, criminally charged or not.
    Start by banning felons completely.
    http://www.nationalfelonleague.com

  13. I think the same thing can be said about personal conduct (of the unacceptable variety) as is said about porn.
    Hard to define but you know it when you see it. Roethlisberger’s behaviour was porn. Hardcore.

  14. The NFLPA doesn’t need to wait until after anything. They need to make a stand now in a case that is simply outrageous. Roethlisberger has never been arrested or charged with any crime in his entire life.
    If the NFLPA allows this precedent to be set, then no player in the league will be safe. If allegations are allowed to lead to suspensions, NFL players will become vulnerable to extortion, and it will be cheaper to pay it rather than get suspended without pay for weeks on end.

  15. Cricket went down this slippery slope a few years ago and it is a mess every time somebody gets pinged for violating the ‘spirit of the game’. In a nutshell, India does as it pleases and everybody else gets hammered.

  16. @Robert Ethan . . . .”I’m surprised that no feminist groups have weighed in on the Roethlisberger incident the way animal rights groups took up the case against Michael Vick”
    How are you surprised. Big Ben is white. Vick is black. I know those who read PFT dont think racism exist in America but it justs seems fishy. Similarly, why were no gun rights activists there to support Plaxico?

  17. “adjust a policy that actually impacts only a handful of players but potentially impacts all of them”
    It does impact all of them. IF (and that is an IF), the conduct policy improves player behavior and IF that improved behavior leads to financial benefits for the league in the long run, every player that does not run afoul of the conduct policy benefits from it. They stand to make more money in salary, and convert their reputation as upstanding citizens into better endorsement deals.
    Players who behave have a financial incentive to force other players to behave.

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