Goodell talks about his unwillingness to give up control over conduct policy

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In an item posted earlier today, we explained that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s refusal to allow an outside entity to review the discipline imposed by him under the personal conduct policy had become the biggest remaining issue in the nearly-completed CBA talks.

Appearing at Panthers camp, Goodell talked about the stranglehold he plans to maintain over the policy.

Asked whether he’d be willing to permit some external body review his decisions, Goodell said (per Steve Reed of, “The answer to that is no, I’m not going to be open to that.  I’m not going to hand off the brand and the reputation of the NFL to somebody who is not associated with the NFL.  I promise you that.  That is one of the number one jobs as a commissioner in my opinion.”

Goodell then explained that his viewpoint isn’t necessarily popular with the teams that employ him.

“Mr. Richardson doesn’t like this because he’s my boss, one of 32, but I have disciplinary power over them and have had the unfortunate experience of fining him too, by the way,” Goodell said.

Reed reports that Richardson then held up two fingers and said, “Yes, twice.”

The players don’t seem to be as charitable, and if someone doesn’t blink it’ll be even longer until new players can get on the field.

For now, it’s unlikely that Goodell will be the one blinking.

87 responses to “Goodell talks about his unwillingness to give up control over conduct policy

  1. get your stuff and get out goodell seriously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or your better get this deal done on those final issues otherwise im sending one of the powerpuff girls there if you dont and you dont want me to do that goodell im being serious

  2. Roger Goodell doesn’t blink. He just stares at the other guy until that person closes his eyes, puts his hands over his head, collapses on the floor in a fetal position, and begins to convulse.

  3. A bunch of cheap shot artists complaining about getting fined….they should go read about Kenesaw Mountain Landis & his discipline as baseball commissioner, and then they’d be thankful for Goodell.

  4. How can 1 person honestly think he should have final say on these items in a league such as the NFL. I really don’t understand???????

  5. I’m shocked that Goodell isn’t willing to delegate some of his power that would remove a portion of his, at times, inexplicable draconian rule.

    Maybe the next CBA…

  6. Well, pretty easy for the players. Don’t drink and drive, don’t carry guns around, don’t beat up your wife or girlfriend, show up to work and play a game!

  7. Raj doesn’t blink. Although periodically the world will duck out of his sight and try to hide because it feels uncomfortable.

  8. Good. Cause as it stands now, players have an unwillingness to stop drinking and driving. Go get em Roger.

  9. come on players, this is one thing that you need to just let go of. you may not like goodell, some of his decisions or policies, but he’s right, conduct policy is the job of the commissioner.

  10. There needs to be a better system. I dont agree that it should be one man, but you can’t put it on the teams either. I mean look at last year, you had a QB suspended 4 games for an “alleged” crime (no charges were ever filed) and a WR from NY who was arrested for DUI and only suspended the first half of the game. VERY inconsistant.

  11. I side with the players when it comes to the pussification of the tackling in the NFL, but when it comes to the conduct policy, Goodell is the face of the front office. It is Goodell’s reputation for letting the fans’ perception of the NFL get tarnished.

    If you don’t want to be at the mercy of Goodell, don’t execute dogs, trap co-eds in bar bathrooms or shoot yourself in the leg.

    The conduct policy affects a small percentage of active players. Think about how much better your teammates will perform if they’re at least giving a half-hearted effort to not be a public menace. It’s really not that tough. Oh yeah, and when normal people cause controversy at their jobs, they’re often fired immediately; you guys miss a “game”…

  12. Was it me, or did it seem like the commish was threatening to fine the owners if they disagree with him too strongly. WTF. I think he needs to realize the people watch the NFL for the athletes, not the men in suits.

  13. Roger Goodell is right on here.

    As long as stays consistent (And he has been)

    The players just don’t like being held accountable.

    Welocmed to the real world!!!

  14. I am hoping that there are some pretty smart people in that room working this out but here are my two cents worth. I believe that the commissioner is right in saying that you should not hand off the brand to someone who does not have a stake in the name. I agree the man to make the ultimate decision regarding disciplinary issues MUST be the commissioner, however, I do not believe he should be the first line of discipline or the only issuer of disciplinary actions but the sole arbitor of all issues regarding discipline. If there was a three man committee, a former player, a former “management” person, and a “league” representative and if a disciplinary action is taken against a player and either the player believes the discipline is too great OR the commissioner determines the discipline is not strict enough, he then can intervene and institute the appropriate punishment. This gets the commish out of petty issues and frees up more of his time for more valuable things that I think he would rather be doing. In addition I believe it also makes him more an arbitor than a dictator.

  15. Well it is hard to argue with Goodell’s point. I think it is valid for the commissioner of the league to want to be in control of “the brand” of the league. If players weren’t being morons all the time and getting into trouble then this wouldn’t be an issue. I do think there can be a compromise with maybe a panel made up of a retired player, coach, and exec that would come up with disciplinary actions that are then submitted to Goodell for approval or sent back to them for changes. This is only one idea and there are many more options out there but again, Goodell is definitely in the right by wanting to maintain control.

  16. Goodell is on a power trip! wont be surprised if the owners get just as fed up w/ him as the players are. hopefully they’l come to their senses and drop this clown

  17. Good, they teach us in Law School, that being a Lawyer is a privilege and not a right. It is the same in the NFL. It is a privilege, not a right. Protect the Shield Goodell.

  18. I think he’s right. It is his job. I hope the players get over this and let it go. Maybe they should stop getting in trouble with the law then they won’t have to worry about Goodell slamming them with punishment.

  19. He should be in charge, but there should be set rules/consequences that can’t be disputed. The fact is these players jobs reflect the state in which they play, the NFL, and most importantly the fans. They owe their best, on and off the field. Moreover, the average nfl career only lasts maybe 15 years at most…be an idiot afterwards

  20. Of COURSE the players want to set up some sort of “commission” or “review process” in the disciplinary system. Always easier to get away with all sorts of crap that way. Just another player “demand” in an effort at hijacking the CBA and further delaying the already ridiculous joke of a process of getting the players back on the field and allowing the teams to see what they’ve got as to their rosters. Insanity!

  21. Goodell should try outlining the parameters of any future disciplinary actions.

    This outline should detail different offenses, and any fines/suspension that may come along with said violations.

    Right now, punishment is coming off the top of Goodell’s head. And it showed last season. He failed to show consistency in his punishments.

    Get a plan in place, something the NFLPA can agree with, and let’s finally put this CBA bs to bed.

  22. Can Roger be fined if he’s way out of line in his business practices?? 18 games seems a little excessive & he tried real hard to gamble on that (& lost). Where is his punishment for that??

  23. So all the talk of sacrifice, all the talk of pulling together and doing what needs to be done, was BS? Even when the owners and players are united against you? On ONE freaking issue?

    YOU ARE NOT GOD OF THE NFL. I think you are misconstruing what the word commissioner means.

    James Harrison almost looks rational in what he said about you right now. Hypocrite.

  24. As “CEO” if the NFL, it’s his job to protect the brand and the shield. If that means keeping discipline for personal conduct violations in-house, than so be it.

    Not like the players aren’t getting a concession here and having substance issues go to mediation, rather than having those stay in-house as well. Time for them to get over it.

    Besides, if the players hate it, then it’s probably the right thing to do.

  25. “The players don’t seem to be as charitable, and if someone doesn’t blink it’ll be even longer until new players can get on the field.”

    WTH does that mean?!?!?!?

  26. “I’m not going to hand off the brand and the reputation of the NFL to somebody who is not associated with the NFL. I promise you that. That is one of the number one jobs as a commissioner in my opinion.”

    …okay. But the fact is, Roger, that the only reason this has become an issue is because you have failed at your job.

    You have failed to establish a clear understanding among all 32 teams and their players regarding how you get to a final number when fining players.

    You have failed to display even, fair, judgements regarding player punishment.

    You have failed to show consistency in your punishment of NFL players.

    You have failed the NFL shield and what it stands for–the players, teams, and most importantly, the fans.

    YOU caused this.

    Congratulations. D-Bag.

  27. Once again, ego blocks us from improving the game.

    Once again, Goodell is the force behind that ego.

    Imagine if many minds could improve the decision making behind the discipline policy. Unfortunately, the commish sees it as his SOLE responsibility. No checks, no balances. He is “The Decider”.

    Therefore, all misgivings and mistakes should fall directly on his shoulders. Any mistakes made should be laid directly upon his scope of influence.

    Sadly, we all know that won’t happen. Upon the first direct mistake, he should be replaced. Instead… blame will be spread on those with no authority.

  28. I don’t like Roger Goodell. Let’s get that out of the way right off the top.

    That being said, he is right on this issue. Giving an independent panel of people not directly affiliated with the league the power to over rule his decisions would, for all intents and purposes, render him powerless to enforce disciplinary issues.

    No commissioner of any sport in history has ever allowed themselves to be subjected to this kind of independent oversight.

    Do you honestly think the commissioner of the most powerful sports league in history is going to allow himself to be the first?

    And the owners shouldn’t want him to. A league without a powerful commissioner flirts with anarchy. Ask MLB.

    But hey, if they feel that strongly, fire him. He does, after all, work for them.

  29. The very fact that the biggest dirtbags in the league oppose his having disciplinary power makes me think it’s a good idea.

  30. Gloating in the power that he can fine his own boss. Perfect example of why this guy shouldn’t have all the power.

  31. This is an easy fix:

    Create a board of 5-7 people that vote on fines / suspensions based on guidelines. Also employ an outside mediated appeal process that wouldn’t make final decisions, but could rule to send the case back to the board with recommendations.

    It’s not that hard.

  32. How bout a good ol fashioned compromise…

    Let GODdel keep his ultimate unquestioned power for off field incidents …ie rape…murders dwi’s…

    Create arbitration review panel for on field issues…ie..illegal hits etc…

    GODdel can protect the brand from heinous acts and the players have an independent voice on hits etc

    I’m so smart…

  33. Cannot wait until Goodell is gone. His conduct policy is only in line with the mediagasm that follows some perceived o real misconduct among the players. If the media is upset, Goodell swings into action with token reaction that is only so he could cover his own a$$.

  34. For now, it’s unlikely that Goodell will be the one blinking.

    Well De, were waiting…….

  35. The players need a babysitter because they act like idiots far too often. Ryan “Wussy” Clark needs to know his role and shut his mouth.

  36. Wow, I was about to post the sentiment exactly. Why would you give up the reputation of your league to someone else?
    The Union needs to quit trying to protect bad guys and morons…keep the league free of dopes. On or offfield.

  37. When you said “…Richardson then held up two fingers…” after referencing that he had been fined, I immediately thought Richardson gave Goodell the double bird!!

    Would have been a better ending to this article anyhow.

  38. What the players object to is when Goodell arbitrarily changes the policy in midseason and decides that all of a sudden stuff that hasn’t been enforced much is now dealt with severely, in particular the “headhunting” infractions.

  39. Goodell is a POS he is trying to change the rules WAY too much it is getting ridiculous, can’t hit receivers, can’t even tackle a qb any more, I would love to see him get his ass beat and he quits

  40. This isn’t about protecting, it’s about fair and equitable treatment for employees. If goodell is judge, jury and appeals process it opens open legal challenges of fines and suspensions in a court of law. Let Goodell keep judge and jury and let a three man panel of a former player, coach and league rep field appeals. If the penalty is deemed too stiff by the panel push it back to goodell for adjustment.

    If you don’t the next step is lawsuits where players start tying this crap up in court. See the star caps case. How can that be more productive than a simple appeals panel appointed by the league to, at a minimum, give the illusion of fairness?

  41. The players need to remember why Goodell has that power. It was given him by their previous Union head because the previous commish had a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude about it. Ignoring the off field crap like that was tarnishing the brand, and diminishing its value. Goodell comes down hard, advertisers and networks are happier, and theres more money flowing which the players share in.
    Bottom line is, don’t act like a turd, the league won’t treat you like one.

  42. You can’t tell the commissioner that the reputation of the league is his responsibility and then render him powerless to enforce the discipline necessary to protect that reputation.

    If you don’t like the way this particular commissioner is handling the disciplinary process, then fire him.

    But don’t make a rule now that will make it impossible for FUTURE commissioners to maintain control of the league.

    MLB took steps after firing Fay Vincent to limit the commissioner’s power and make him more subservient. Hello cancelled World Series, steroid scandal, and extreme competitive imbalance.

    Careful what you wish for.

  43. Goodell is the commissioner of the league. He should hand out discipline. Period. Like someone else said if you don’t like who the commissioner is that’s a different issue.

  44. how many votes to get this guy out of office? Is that up to the owners????? At times like this, I can’t help but think how acurate that Steelers Linebacker was in his tirade against him.

  45. Uncharged Ben sat at home.

    Charged Perrish Cox played on.

    THAT is what Ryan Clark is talking about.

  46. “I’m not going to hand off the brand and the reputation of the NFL to somebody who is not associated with the NFL. I promise you that”

    Hand off the brand?? Dude, you’ve been ruining that brand since you started your job as commissioner. Handing it off might be the only thing that saves you

  47. Hard to believe this is an issue. I understand the players being upset with football related fines but that’s not really a personal conduct issue. Is obeying the law really that big of an issue?

  48. “As long as stays consistent (And he has been)”

    Uncharged accused Ben sits.

    Accused Eric Foster does not.

    Accused Brandon Underwood does not.

    Charged Perrish Cox does not.

    How is that consistent?

    He claims he suspended Ben for facilitating the consumption of alcohol to minors.

    Rey Maluaga of the Bengals was busted for DUI and had TWO minors in his car with him. Did he sit?


    Where’s the consistency?

  49. It is important for people to know what is currently in place:

    1 – There is a 3 person panel set up by the NFL (All 3 are former NFL Players & for those that claim racism you should know that all 3 are African Americans.

    The three (who do work for the NFL) reviews all on/off field & conduct issues and make recomendations to Goodell.

    From what I have read, all recomendations have been accepted. Goodell has actually on a few occasions Lessened the fines (I.E… Harrison).

    Goodell is responsible(as some have said in previous post’s) for ensuring NFL rules, policies ect… are followed.

    We all have a boss and are accountable to them. It is real life. The truth here is the players (&Union) are just looking for ways to be less accountable. Unfortunetly to some this is the American Way.

    Just look to what has been going on in Washington DC for the past 50 Years.

  50. Oh K those that disagree with Goodell fair enough wait till you meet David Stern.. but anyhow NBA players dont usually act like they have peanuts for brains anyhow.

  51. siggy00: Dont forget Braylon Edwards……after he was placed on probation and left the Brows, he signed with the Jets (NFL Psoter team last year), get arrested for ANOTHER DUI, and is only forced to sit out the first half of a game.

    And Richard Seymore, taking a swipe at Bens head after tha play was over, only fined a third of what was later ruled a clean hit from the NE Saftey.

  52. oscojoe says:
    Aug 4, 2011 12:12 AM
    It is important for people to know what is currently in place:

    1 – There is a 3 person panel set up by the NFL (All 3 are former NFL Players & for those that claim racism you should know that all 3 are African Americans.

    The three (who do work for the NFL) reviews all on/off field & conduct issues and make recomendations to Goodell.
    Great info, thanks! I thought that was only for the on field stuff like hits. If it’s for the off field stuff too, I think that’s enough oversight.
    I would like to see them crack all the way down on DUIs though (one-1 game w/o pay. Two =4 games w/o pay, etc.) especially since they have that free ride service. I realize that is far from realistic for any company to do, and it really isn’t their “business” unless a job involves driving. I just hate drunk driving. Almost nothing is more easily avoided than that.

    I do agree that their should be some sort of guideline so that it can be understood by us fans and the teams and players exactly what =what offense wise. I think it’s only fair that if they want to protect the shield, we should know what the parameters are for that. After all, one reason to protect it (outside of #1 which is $$$ from sponsors/TV I would guess) is for the game’s perception by fans.

    Am I the only one who would love to know what JR got fined for??? He strikes me as almost the last owner who would do something fineable.

  53. qdog112 says: Aug 3, 2011 10:19 PM

    I’m shocked that Goodell isn’t willing to delegate some of his power that would remove a portion of his, at times, inexplicable draconian rule.

    Maybe the next CBA…

    He’ll be gone by the next CBA. Shot dead, or ascended to his Heavenly throne.

  54. I think this is very simple. If you don’t like actually being held accountable, you would be against Goodell and his authority to punish players for violations of conduct inside the game and outside. All which have been fair and have set strong examples. You are just an NFL players. You are not above the rules, code of conduct or the law. Unless you plan on breaking the rules, there should be absolutely no issues with his policies.

    Trouble makers and crybaby prima donnas are the problem, not a strict commissioner. If you can’t follow the rules, then you need to be punished. Doesn’t matter if their is a panel or one man deciding.

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