Source: Goodell refuses to yield authority over personal conduct policy


As the deadline for getting the CBA completed in order to allow free agents to participate in practice on Thursday inches closer and closer, a source with knowledge of the dynamics of the discussions tells us that one issue has emerged as the source of a potential impasse.

Per the source, Commissioner Roger Goodell refuses to surrender full control of the league’s personal conduct policy.

Since inception of the rule that exposes players and other team and league employees to discipline for off-field conduct, regardless of whether an arrest or conviction arises, Goodell has had the ability both to impose a penalty and to preside over the appeals process.  Though former NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw willingly gave Goodell that power, the players generally have decided after several years of incidents and enforcements that they want someone other than Goodell or an employee of the league office to have final say over each and every fine or suspension imposed.

But Goodell won’t yield, despite the loud objections of the recently-reconstituted NFLPA.  As the source explains it, it’s perceived that Goodell views the personal conduct policy as “his baby,” and that he doesn’t want to yield in any way the exclusive ability to mete out punishment.

Though we’re a very long way from a return of the lockout, the two sides need to find a way out of this maze in order to let the League Year begin.  At some point, owners (who currently are working on getting their teams ready on a compressed basis for the 2011 season) may need to get involved.

If they do, there’s no guarantee that owners will back Goodell.  We’re told that teams generally don’t care about the personal conduct policy, and that many teams would prefer to have the ability to decide on their own whether and to what extent a player who gets in trouble away from work should be in trouble at work.

Regardless of how it turns out, that’s the main issue preventing this thing from finally getting done.

61 responses to “Source: Goodell refuses to yield authority over personal conduct policy

  1. And the worst commish in major sports history continues his ego trip.

    Soon the Victorias Secret halftime touch football game will be a better brand of football.

    What a stain on the memory of Pete Rozelle. RIP

  2. Goodell is a man on a power trip. He reminds me of the DA in my county. I think the best thing to do is to have some sort of commity instead of one man deciding everything.

  3. Good for him. He cant let the NFL become the NBA.

    …but no fears, the eagles add Anthony Hargrove and Derrik Landri for some more d-line help.

  4. m10504 says: Aug 3, 2011 7:50 PM
    Great!! If a player acts like he should no problem.


    This is faulty logic that leads to the eradication of civil rights.

    Not saying that’s happening in this case, but that general attitude is really bad to have.

  5. Sounds like Goodell just likes to flex his muscle. I hate this guy. Set up a system where theyre all punsihed the same and AFTER they are convicted. This system is just based on the mood hes in that day. Reminds me of my wife around the 3rd week of every month.

  6. This would have been a MAJOR issue in June had they actually negotiated in June.

    Players are at work. My sense is most don’t care right now because most don’t get in trouble. I don’t think they want to stop practicing and getting ready for the season over this.

    He’s a bad boss, but nothing to revolt against.

  7. In unrelated news, stock market indices for weapons and nightclubs have plummeted to an all-time low.

  8. Do the players know that Goodell only punishes due to “personal conduct” and the fines they are generally complaining about (hits) don’t stop at him? The NFL as a business decided to clean up it’s act a few years ago and I think it has worked for the normally idiot players. It’s the really incredible idiot players that are causing problems here. I don’t have a problem with Goodell hammering the drunk drivers, wife beaters, and drug dealers.

  9. The majority of players do not get into trouble, therefore the majority of players most likely don’t give a rats ass who is in charge of disciplinary action. I see no reason why this should hold up a deal, as long as they take into account what the majority of the players feel.

  10. No way should each team should have control over punishing a player who is out of control. That is a major conflict of interest! Not to mention the inconsisgency in which each owner would administer discipline. I agree Goodell should not have the final say, but he could be and should be a part of a three person panel. Ultimately, the responsibility falls on the players. Behave yourself and you have no worries. Act like a chump and lose your privelage to play in the NFL for a few games or more.

  11. These are grown men we are talking about getting into trouble. They honestly know right from wrong and if they screw up……..

    The TEAM should be the first one to impose discipline on that person.

    If and ONLY if the team doesn’t want to police their own players and bring the punishment. Then Goodell should step in and bring the hammer down on that player.

  12. Of course he wont yield…Its like Darth Vader yielding power to the Rebellion. Not gonna happen. (and unlike Darth, there is no good left in Goodell, except the first 4 letters of his name)

  13. I am by no means giving the players a green light for acting stupid. I have always found it very odd that Goodell handles the punishment AND handles the appeal. Maybe Aiello should handle the appeal or even allow the divisional rival’s GM handle the appeal.

  14. Wow…Power Hungry Goodell?

    Can’t they agree to a Board Panel that consist of Commish/Players/Owners like a normal organization. Current system is backwards by having one person with all the power.

  15. It’s ridiculous that Rogie should be the sole authority on handing out any disciplinary action.

    It should be a 5 man panel with Rog as chief justice and two reps for the players and two reps for the owners.

  16. Goodell might be power hungry but this is about a few knuckleheads who want protection should they not be able to control themselves.

    No chance and I mean no chance this holds up the CBA.. There might be 1900 players, about 1700 (maybe more) don’t really care about it as they aren’t getting into trouble.

    So the Ryan Clarks of the world can get take a hike because only 50%+ 1 is headed to ratify the CBA.

  17. I have no problem with what he’s done in terms of personal conduct policy.

    The only problem I have is that it appears extremely subjective. There appears to be no written rules for minimum and maximum punishments.

    However, if it is truly a sticking point, it CANNOT go to some a-hole arbitrator, judge, or lawyer like Doty.

    Here is my proposal:
    Have the competition committee consider appeals.

  18. Accused by the media and the NFLPA of acting as “judge, jury, and executioner”, Mr. Goodell has decided to relinquish some of his power.

    He will contract out any future executions to an independant third party.

  19. Why should the commissioner have the authority? Follow the money.

    Any organization that goes to a third party for sponsorship or media dollars needs a clear chain of command. No one likes negotiating in earnest with someone and then discovering that person has no decisionmaking authority.

    The league negotiates on behalf of all of its teams for a specific length of time in specific media markets. In order for everyone to get paid the dollars they deserve under those contracts, the TV companies have something called standards and practices. TV and its advertisers need a single responsible person they can call on whenever there’s a domestic situation, a bar fight or anything that could cause bad PR and potentially lead to financial harm.

    If the players have a person that should be held accountable other than the Commissioner of the league, it has yet to be shared. As they ponder their options, I suspect Goodell is going to win this issue. After all, being a disciplinarian is always going to be a thankless job.

  20. the issue with the players is the lack of uniformity in enforcement of the rules. They are not arguing there shouldn’t be a punishment but that it is unknown quantity of the punishment.

    Further, Goodell is essentially the prosecutor, the judge, jury and executioner in case. Anyone would have an issue with that circumstance.

  21. “I am sick of this judge,jury and exacutioner idiot….no checks and balances so he has to go asap-just a tool for the owners”

    Uhhh….he does work for the owners

  22. Hang in there Roger. As Commissioner, you have the obligation to keep the players in line. If players dont like this, too bad. If you dont want to be suspended or fined, dont DO anything that will GET you suspended or fined!

  23. They need a more set guidelines to go off of for penalty’s. It seems Goodell just makes t up as he goes, some players do the exact same infraction but get different penalty’s.

    Plus Goodell gives the penalty a handels the appeal, how dumb is that.

  24. welzy says:
    I don’t have a problem with Goodell hammering the drunk drivers, wife beaters, and drug dealers.
    what about arbitrary penalties when a player makes a hit that he deems too hard – even when it is a legal hit?

  25. No two a days, no pad practices, no letting there be 18 games and still forcing fans to pay full price for two preseason games, work for a company for an average of four years and get a lifetime of health benefits and now they do not want their boss to be able to discipline them when they get arrested.


    I cannot for the life of me figure out why I spent all my time in the library studying, I should have been lifting weights. Whoever called them dumb jocks was waaaaaaaay off the mark.

  26. No way a player should have appeal his fine/suspension to the very person who determined they should be fined/suspended and then determined the penalty for the infraction. At the very least, an impartial committee or third person should hear all appeals.

    Owners need to step up and tell him to stand down.

  27. If it’s true they would rather handle their players indiscretions in house, let them. The owners simply need to call Roger Goodell and ask him if he likes his job. He gets ten million a year by the way. I think he probably does.

  28. I believe anyone who has experience in dealing with a union from a management perspective would want to retain the power to discipline at their discretion rather than go through and compromise with a union. Too often unions (in general) are looking to soften the blow when an employee gets into trouble and the unique exception here being that these players are public figures getting huge media exposure when they run afoul and a strong message must continually be be sent to ensure both the player community and the fan community know that the actions aren’t tolerated and that consequences are not bargained.

    On a seperate note, having this done by the teams individually I agree is a conflict of interest as the teams will be reluctant to suspend if the player is a big contributor (like a QB).

    Goodell should keep it, I don’t personally believe any of the punishments levied to this point have been unfair or unreasonable.

  29. Remember Kenesaw Mountain Landis? Remember MLB before him? There are consequences for your actions! The commish should stick to his guns on this one!

  30. The issue may be that the NFL said ” no problem” when this issue was raised prior to recertification. The NFLPA was concerned about what would happen if they could’t reach agreement after recertification: they would be forced to work under 2010 rules. The owners must have given their promise that will not happen, so they will force Goodell to compromise.

  31. I guess the union wants guys like Aqib Talib to just get a free pass for the fun Mom/Son activity he invented during the lockout ” Shoot at your sister’s boyfriend!”

  32. Here is an idea take some responsibility for yourselves. The NFL is not a court of law nor is it required to follow the judiciary process. It is a business, and the league has every right to discipline its employees. If you are out causing a scene at a strip club or are in the newspaper for driving drunk, then guess what… you gotta pay the piper because it negatively affects the league. Whether the players like it or not they are constantly in the public eye and are subject to increased scrutiny.

  33. Egregious Harrison feels compelled to carry all that hardware to protect himself in case he runs into Roger Goodell on the street.

  34. So they slammed a deal through that wasn’t finished so they wouldn’t miss out on their pathetic pre-season games which somehow people have to pay full price for. Nice Job Owners and Players!

  35. There are two parts to this issue. Behavior off the field and behavior on the field. If Roger Goodell wants to retain his power for off field issues then so be it. It’s the on field issues that I don’t like.

    Officiating is now over regulated. There are the officials of course but now there are the “I never played football” types in New York looking for style points. Did that hit look too hard? And they are all marching to Goodell’s orders. Defenses need to react which means one doesn’t have time to figure out the most humane way to tackle someone. If the defenses can’t do their jobs then there is no real competition on the field. The scoring is meaningless and so is the game. I won’t be watching any Goodell Ball this year.


  36. Damn players want to go scott free like Leonard Little.. Put the clamps on them Roger. Its very simple stay in line and you wouldnt have to hear from the commish freaking turds.

  37. Dear mr. Goodell.

    Stick to your guns, stick to your guns, STICK TO YOUR GUNS.

    Dear players,


  38. 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.

  39. In a vacuum this policy works great, but inexplicably the commissioner acts without rhyme nor reason. He suspends pac man for a year and he was never convicted , but Roethlisberger got 4 games for his role in the georgia bathroom scandal after there was already a previous allegation on Roethlisberger? The commissioner has been inconsistent. The guy and his policy is a joke. The teams should discipline their own players, instead they hire some lackey to be their mouthpiece.

  40. In addition, the commissioner Got involved in the Brett Favre trade to the Jets? Since when is it the commissioner’s job to get involved in trades among teams? This guy wants to show players how big and bad he is by suspending players or getting involved. Take a note from Tagliabue, show up at the draft, show up at various games and show up at the Super Bowl. Let your deputies do all the fining instead of you legislating the game from your pulpit.

  41. rcali says:
    Aug 3, 2011 10:05 PM
    So they slammed a deal through that wasn’t finished so they wouldn’t miss out on their pathetic pre-season games which somehow people have to pay full price for. Nice Job Owners and Players!
    They couldn’t negotiate anything like the drug policy, discipline, etc until the NFLPA re-formed as a union.

  42. Let just hope he let’s these guys hit an stops fining for hits it’s football the players now what there getting into it’s a contact sport Ronnie lott would have been fined every week

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