Ryan Clark: Goodell’s disciplinary power will hold up CBA ratification

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From the day the owners and players agreed on a deal to end the lockout, it has been widely believed that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement would be ratified by August 4. But it’s now August 3, and ratification is no sure thing.

In fact, Steelers defensive back Ryan Clark, the team’s NFLPA representative, says that unless NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is willing to budge on matters of player discipline, the CBA won’t be ratified tomorrow.

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Clark said today he thinks the issue could affect all the recently signed free agents around the league. Under the rules the owners and players agreed to when the lockout ended, those players can’t practice until the new CBA is ratified.

The failure to ratify the CBA wouldn’t be a disaster — it wouldn’t create another work stoppage — but it would represent a disappointing step backward for the NFL. And it would be troubling for the players who signed new contracts since the lockout ended, and for the teams that are counting on those players.

So while the owners and the players seem to be mostly on the same page about the league’s finances going forward, they’re not on the same page regarding player discipline. That’s an issue where many players still lack confidence in Goodell.

103 responses to “Ryan Clark: Goodell’s disciplinary power will hold up CBA ratification

  1. how come is always a steeler that opens his mouth about this stuff and wants to make a point…

  2. I thought they had already discussed an independant panel for handling appeals and such? What’s the issue?

  3. Do they realize it’s not only Goodell. It goes through a few people before it even gets to him? I doubt he just stamps the discipline without getting advice from a counsilfirst

  4. God-del should have the right to levey fines but he hurt himself on how it SEEMED to players that he started the heavey fines last year. He started not the first game but fifth game. He went after hits which had been going on for the first four games, right or wrong, or if within the rules already set. As the fans know, there were no warning plust the fines were all over the page. Then he would lower some and not others. He even had some players come to the NFL office to view fiilm while others were not. So I cna see the players issues on this one. If you are going to fine which you see is needed be more consisdent.

  5. If I’m reading this article alone, I have no clue whatsoever you’re talking about with Goodell budging on player discipline. No need to post this in comments FWIW.

  6. If this was true, shouldn’t this have been discussed before now?

    How come no one else has referenced this so far – except the player rep for the team that tends to get fined a lot…..

  7. This will cause the two sides to come together and hammer out an agreement. It won’t prevent the league from playing games this season.

  8. The players are right on this one.

    The NFL’s current policy serves the players, the owners, and the brand very poorly. Luckily the NFLPA can ask that the system be revised, and the owners can blame the players for getting rid of “suspension system”.

  9. It starts again, LOL. Simply find a 3 panel committee to handle all disciplinary actions, one panel member chosen by the player / one by the league / random arbitrator in whatever state that player(s) team plays in hired by a special fund in which all fines are to go.

    This way the third party is unknown & unbiased to either side & not funded directly from either entity. Pretty simple.

  10. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Clark said today he thinks

    Well clearly, it must be true then.

  11. I thought discipline was going to be handled by a 3 man arbitration committee, made up of retired judges. This is just an excuse by the players to get more–after all, they got less OTAs, less practices, no two a days, no 18 game schedule.

  12. I can’t believe Roger “Goodall” will hold all of this up just because he wants to continue to rule with an iron fist. What’s wrong with having disciplinary issues go to arbitration? What kind of appeals process has the same person who made the original ruling handle the appeal? I’m with the players 110% on this one. Sure it won’t prevent any games from being played, but if I was a player I would have no problem with that whatsoever. I understand that these guys need to be disciplined but one guy should not be judge jury and executioner.

  13. Good for the players. Goodell has clearly shown he can’t handle the authority of disciplining players in a consistent manner.

    Depending on which way the wind blows, he might preempt due process to suspend a player for an entire season (even if the player is never formally charged or arrested, or spends no time in jail), while for another player with more serious allegations against him and who may eventually serve time, he will let court proceedings play out and ultimately not suspend the player at all because he’s spent time in jail for his actions.

    It’s completely ridiculous that he’s not only the single voice in the initial disciplinary action, but he’s also the sole voice in the appeals process.

  14. Steelers rep is just fighting for an idiot exception for James Harrison so he can’t be suspended. For an organization and ownership that I actually respect a lot the Steelers are filled with problem child players these days.

  15. It’s in your hands players. If you don’t want the NFL to have a season, go ahead and refuse to accept the deal. Your public relations with the fans will NEVER be the same, and you’ll be widely viewed as spoiled children who can never get enough of what they desire. You don’t want Roger to fine you? Then play by the freakin’ rules. YOUR EMPLOYEES! THERE ARE RULES!! BETTER GET USED TO IT!!

  16. This is what one players says of course the truth is that only 51% of the player have to agree for it to be ratified. While i agree that goodel needs to back off and do something different where he is not the only one making the choices. Or atleast have someone the players can appeal to other than him. In fact it is kind of unfair.

    The thing is though just don’t break the rules off the field and don’t head hunt like the Steelers seem to do though personally i think its football but whatever

  17. Surprise, surprise. Another Steeler is crying about discipline! I really wish these guys would shut up and play already.

  18. More pay/benefits for less work, and they’re still not happy (or at least the dirtiest team in the league isn’t).

  19. Ryan Clark needs to stop whining about Goodell. He is not concerned with winning the popularity contest among players, or fans for that matter. The man is just trying to hold grown men accountable for their actions. He does go overboard at times, but some of these pampered players need to grow up; you’re not in college anymore.

  20. Why should players trust Goodell?

    He enables blackmailers by playing along with a witch hunt over two-year-old junk shots, helping to decimate a team’s season with distractions. For what? To appease potential female viewers? But he does nothing about Brandon Underwood’s follies with hookers that got his teammates falsely accused of rape.

    In his letter suspending Roethlisberger, he said the NFL found nothing to indicate Ben was guilty of the crime. He said he was suspending him because he set a bad example with his drunken carousing. Okay, I’ll go with that. But where was the suspension for Vince Young, who assaulted someone in a strip club?

    Young and Underwood didn’t have the same high profile as Roethlisberger and Favre–and that’s not how discipline and investigations should be decided. If Goodell can’t be trusted to handle situations even-handedly, then he shouldn’t be making those decisions alone.

  21. This is ridiculous! If the players hold this up because they don’t want to be held accountable for their actions, then I think it’s clear who the real “villains” of this labor unrest will be.

    These players need to get over themselves. They’re getting paid MILLIONS of dollars for the privilege of being professional football players. That privilege does not come with cart blanche authority to do whatever the he11 they want to without facing the consequences. The irresponsible behavior that typically gets the attention of the Commissioner is detrimental to the league, the owners AND the players, and they need to shut up about it and act like adult, responsible men.

    If you don’t want to face consequences for a DUI – or whatever – at your job (yeah, I’m obligated by the terms of my employment to notify my employer when I get charged with a crime, other than a routine traffic violation), then DON’T BEHAVE IN A WAY THAT GETS YOU CHARGED WITH A CRIME!!!

    Seriously, you’d think these bonehead players never went to college or got a degree.

  22. People who worry about discipline are the idiots who can’t stay out of trouble. If they want to be idolized they need to be held to a different standard.

  23. I’m with the players on this.. Whats the point of an appeal when it goes back to the same person? Do they expect Goodell to have a change of heart?

  24. The new CBA is good for the NFL; they got a lot of what they wanted. So they can give a little on this issue and get it done. Give them an appeals board or some type of appeals process and they will be good to go. Let’s move past this crap once and for all (at least for 10 years).

  25. As much as I think the players deserve MOST of the discipline they receive, I can’t see how anyone is ok with Roger Goddell being the jury, judge, and executioner.

    I hate the Steelers, but I have to say that his handling of the Rothleisberger debacle and his handling of fines for most of the hits last year were absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable.

  26. Of course the Steelers are probably holding everything up with their constant complaining about Goodell’s disciplinary power. Harrison has probably been in Clarks ear to not accept anything until he agrees to never fine him again. Players need to speak out against the Steelers and let them know they are no better than anyone else and need to play by the rules.

  27. These idiots need to ratify. If you stay out of trouble, the Mish doesn’t have to slap your johnson.

  28. I bet if the players quit drinking and driving so much, they wouldn’t have any issue with Goodell. But since NFL players seem to love putting other peoples lives at risk I can only hope that Goodell stays the judge and jury and keeps disciplining anyone who deserves it.

  29. Pretty easy to resolve.

    Off the field issues handled exclusivley by Goodell and on the field issues handle by a committee elected by the players and owners.

  30. Bravo to the players, a message needs to be sent to the commish about his discipline decisions, which are universally over the top. He makes a game out of the players’ livelihood. All they do is shortern their lifespans for our entertainment. Maybe someone ought to suspend Goodell for a few games under farsical pretenses so he knows what it’s like.

  31. TheSe players are so dumb. They are worried about what happens when they shoot people smoke crack or beat their girlfriend/wife. Just a thought, DON’T DO THOSE THINGS! be human for once. I can’t believe this an issue.

  32. nobody cares what you have to say Ryan Clark. especially John Harbaugh lol. and holy crap we’ve gone 10 days without an arrest. I’m really starting to get worried about Kenny Britt. I hope he’s ok.

  33. Hey ryan clark shut the **** up no one cares about you and you are overrated to boot. Let Demaurice Smith handle this as you have no degree in education and is clearly illiterate.

  34. What is wrong with these people!? Will this nightmare never end? Yeah he is tough on disipline but these knuckleheads need it.

  35. For hits on the field yes there should be a 2nd and even 3rd and 4th opinions coming from both sides. As far as punishment for arrests, no. Goodell should be the czar here. These guys get 4 games for things that would land me in a cell and lose my job.

  36. I think Ryan Clark is about to get bitch-slapped by the guys who just signed free agent contracts.

  37. Players dicated how they could, when and for how long they practice and now they are saying the league can’t hold them accountable for thier actions off the field.

    I really hope the 4% or so of revenue that the league saved as a result of this process was worth it, because they are paying a steep price in every other area.

  38. This is ignorant. The simple way to solve all this is keep your dumbasses out of trouble and you won’t get punished. Plain and simple he is the boss if any of us talk about our boss like James Harrison did Goodell do you think we would still be employed? No chance. Bunch of little kids with big muscles.

  39. Take the power away from the ego maniac Roger. Roger is bad for this game, nobody wants such a disliked figure to be a face of this game. Pack Rogers bags and see him out the door.

  40. If you are a team that doesnt have a lot of major free agent signings and others in your division do (ie Redskins v. Eagles), wouldnt it help your team to hold up the CBA?

  41. Stop breaking the law. Stop using steroids and/or HGH. Stop leading with your head on tackles. RB stop lowering your head using it as a battering ram even though I don’t think you get fined for this.

    If you stop doing those things, most likely Goodell will never talk to you, fine you, or suspend you.

  42. Yep. Steelers still whining about discipline. Just shut up and play the game! Oh, and, by the way — just obey the frickin’ laws and you won’t have “disciplinary issues.”

  43. Like it or not, he’s right.

    Last season Goodell was all over the map with inconsistent fines. Players would get fined $50K for hits, while others got nothing. Proof is that in the case of the Steelers, he actually ended up LOWERING fines, after the fact, with no explanation as to why.

    If you’re going to fine players, fine, but how about a little bit of consistency, or at the very least, less obvious bias?

    Fine everybody the same, for the same infractions.

  44. melikefootball says:
    Aug 3, 2011 12:18 PM

    “If you are going to fine which you see is needed be more consisdent.”

    Can i get some help figuring out what the hell he just said?

  45. Well since these highly compensated “citizens” can’t act like upstanding “citizens”. They require discipline! Too bad. If the league caves on this one the criminal elements of NFL players and their homeys will be out of control!

  46. When Goodell can’t even explain to a player what he did wrong, then yes, the process needs work.

    It’s amazing how many “fans of football” here are COMPLAINING about the Steelers trying to preserve the nature of the game. Go watch lacrosse with the Browns fans. The Steeler fans will keep on watching the Steelers knock your delicate players into next season.


    But Roethlisberger wasn’t charged, he sat at home for a month.

    Perrish Cox was charged with FELONY RAPE, and he played on.

    That’s what Clark is talking about. No consistency.

  48. you guys are so dumb.. he represents a lot of players opinions about goodell from around the league.. its not just some steelers players that hate him, its players from all teams. And as far as 43 carrying him, Clark is stuck by himself at the safety position when polamalu is running all around the field, playing out of position. i think he does just fine. watch football before you comment retards

  49. dawgpound3 says:
    Aug 3, 2011 12:50 PM
    Hey ryan clark shut the **** up no one cares about you and you are overrated to boot. Let Demaurice Smith handle this as you have no degree in education and is clearly illiterate.
    Yeah Ryan Clark, you is clearly illiterate. Way to tell him dawwpound3.

  50. Wait a minute.. So, one of the drunken rapist Steelers is bitching about players being held to similar social standards as the rest of society. Never saw that one coming.. How dare the NFL expect you to act like reasonable human beings. It’s clearly very difficult for an organization which promotes dirty play and the idea that athletes really are above not only the rest of us but also the law..

  51. ——
    jnbnet says:
    Aug 3, 2011 12:41 PM
    Its very simple. All the players have to do is stay out of trouble and they won’t have to worry about Mr. Goodell.


    Not true at all. Goodell has shown an idiotic propensity for suspending players based only on allegations of wrongdoing. Even when it’s discovered that the allegations were unfounded, he does nothing to reverse the situation or apologize for his mistake.

    So, it’s very simple: the players have to hope that a leech seeking a payday from a very public figure decides not to throw an accusation their way.

  52. Ignorant ones: it has nothing to do with a Steeler complaining. Its just the facts. Like “iamgoodkid” and many of the smart ones have said:

    Told you guys!

  53. “… The Steeler fans will keep on watching the Steelers knock your delicate players into next season.”


    You mean like they did in the Super Bowl?

  54. maddog111 says:
    Aug 3, 2011 1:21 PM
    dawgpound3 says:
    Aug 3, 2011 12:50 PM
    Hey ryan clark shut the **** up no one cares about you and you are overrated to boot. Let Demaurice Smith handle this as you have no degree in education and is clearly illiterate.
    Yeah Ryan Clark, you is clearly illiterate. Way to tell him dawwpound3.

    Still laughing on this one…

  55. Ryan Clark is the Player Rep. It’s his job to make this information know to players and fans. Unlike other player reps, he’s actually making this fact known to the public.

    If you read the article and ignored the lack of facts from this post, you would know that Clark said that the players want either an impartial committee involved, or to have specific language outlining penalties for personal conduct violations.

    What’s wrong with that? All they want is a list of infractions and punishments. They want to know where they stand.

  56. Posted elsewhere:
    “Clark said the players want either an impartial committee involved, or to have specific language outlining penalties for personal conduct violations.”

    Consistency. That’s all they’re asking for, and it’s not an unreasonable expectation.

  57. lifelongbrownsfan says: Aug 3, 2011 12:30 PM

    “If you don’t want to face consequences …, then DON’T BEHAVE IN A WAY THAT GETS YOU CHARGED WITH A CRIME!!! ”

    Roethlisberger wasn’t charged with any crime, hell, he wasn’t even arrested. And he sat home for a month.

    Goodell showed last year what a loose cannon he is.

  58. All those complaining that this is a Steelers issue should look at the big picture. Goodell’s double standards in fines and punishments have affected more teams than the Steelers. He doesn’t pick on individual teams. He does what he thinks is politically expedient. If that means sweeping something under the rug, that’s what he does. If it means throwing a player to the wolves, that’s what he does. That’s why he shouldn’t be the lone judge, jury, and executioner. This could affect any team.

    And it’s not all about how players behave. Vince Young was arrested for assault and nothing happened to him. Pacman Jones had three years of convictions (yes, convictions–a guilty plea is a conviction) and involvement in two shootings before his first suspension. But Santonio Holmes was suspended for tweeting he was going to smoke pot with no evidence he actually did it.

    @achap39 …

    This isn’t about players living up to normal societal workplace standards. Since when do employers follow you home and dog your footsteps 24/7? Are you kidding? No other workplace demands these off-hours standards of its employees.

  59. Players need to stop acting like idiots and there will be fewer issues. Goodell does need to be consistent but the Big Ben thing was deserved. (Not for the alleged rape, but for the stupid decisions he made over a few years)Hammer the morons that deserve it. The teams need to step up and take care of their own problem children before Goodell needs to step in. The NFLPA should take the opposite stance towards player discipline and stop arguing for the guys they know are turds.

  60. I think Clark is talking about Goodell’s hypocracy when it comes to his stance on player safety, not off field issues. He is fining defensive players for hitting too hard, however he doesn’t require players to wear proper helmets. Also, if helmet to helmet is an issue, then why can RB’s use their heads as a battering ram? Goodell wants points on the board, screw safety. He isn’t good for the game. He is making too many changes, too quickly. I like hard nosed football, not arena league BS.

  61. I can see the players view, since Goodell was so variable (some would say arbitrary, but I think the man put a good deal of thought into each situation) in whom he would fine/suspend for how much/long and for what actions or perceived actions.

    I am a fan, however, of the parenting model that leaves doubt about how sever the punishment will be for different violations. I think it discourages risk taking, rather than calculating cost – reward.

    The problem is that this is not a parent – child relationship. It is a business relationship and the players are getting real money taken from them in a justice system that is seeming less structured than the Wild West. There needs to be a clear construct of what actions produce what fines/suspensions, even if it is a range of punishments depending on detrimental publicity, perceived intent, conviction or injury caused. It absolutely must be a vague set of guidelines to accommodate for all the craziness that players can get themselves into, but it still needs to be laid out and followed.

  62. lifelongbrownsfan says: “If you don’t want to face consequences …, then DON’T BEHAVE IN A WAY THAT GETS YOU CHARGED WITH A CRIME!!! ”

    Ben didn’t get charged witg a crime, so according to you, he shouldn’t be suspended.

    As for those of you saying this is a business and Goodell should have an iron fist, that means anyone at your work who gets arrested for a DUI, gets in trouble for spousal abuse, or doesn’t pay their child support should be fined by the company or suspended for a few weeks of work?

    We call call the NFL a “business” but it really doessn’t work the same way other business work. We don’t get paid that amount of money, we can’t get endorsements, and we definately can’t refuse to come to work and still have a job.

  63. I don’t understand all the animosity between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFL. It seems like almost every week they are complaining about something.

  64. dragonfly99 says: Aug 3, 2011 4:17 PM

    “I don’t understand all the animosity between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFL. It seems like almost every week they are complaining about something.”

    How do you get that from the article?
    Ryan is an NFLPA player rep, and was only reporting NFLPA concerns to the membership… he wasn’t just speaking for the Steelers.

  65. On field issues are already handled by a panel (of 2?), or at least the appeals process is. Goodell has sole responsibility for off field issues. While he does seem inconsistent, that may be due to info he has, that we are not privy to (NFL investigators, usually retired law enforcement). Overall, his handling of discipline for off-the-field, usually illegal, actions has been good.

  66. It has been almost one year and 5 months since Ben has been accused of rape again (as far as we know, of course). That alone means Goodell has had less disciplining to do lately.

    “Here we go Steelers, here we go”…all the way to Hell following the pied piper in the devil shirt!

  67. @FinFan68 …

    I hate using the Roethlisberger example because I actually supported his suspension and think it was the best thing for him and the team. My problem isn’t that Ben was suspended for his stupidity even though he didn’t commit the crime. My problem is that Vince Young and Brandon Underwood weren’t suspended. Goodell shouldn’t have made a big issue about a new day in personal conduct expectations if he wasn’t going to apply the same standards to everyone. It just made everything he’d said sound like so much BS.

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