Eric Winston: Players regret giving Roger Goodell “absolute power”


In nearly every critique of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s punishment of the Saints players involved in an alleged bounty system, you’re apt to hear the phrase “judge, jury and executioner.”

Another player’s now saying it’s their own fault Goodell has all those titles. Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston told Jim Corbett of USA Today he regretted the fact the NFLPA didn’t push harder against it during CBA negotiations.

“Obviously we don’t want Roger Goodell having absolute power,” Winston said. “In a lot of this process, it seems like he does. It’s unfortunate. It seems like he’s running amok with it and deciding to do what he wants and it really doesn’t matter what the evidence says. Unfortunately, we don’t have an alternative option to appeal to.

“In that CBA bargaining process, you’re not going to get everything you want. That’s not to say we weren’t trying to curb some of that (power). To say we weren’t trying to do something about that is false. Just from what’s been told to me, there were attempts made. And there’s a tradeoff. To do that, we probably looked at sacrificing playing less games, so you always look at the risk and reward. And try to juggle that.”

So Winston thinks taking away some power from Goodell would have resulted in more regular season games? Linking those two directly seems like a stretch, but there is the fact that the players had the opportunity to curb some of that authority and chose not to push it.

Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, the team’s union rep, said in a text to Corbett the issue wasn’t considered a deal-breaker at the time.

“Yes, the players wish he didn’t have that power, but it wasn’t worth sacrificing CBA [over],” Feely said.

Roddy White might have been among the first to complain about the failure to negotiate some of that power away, but he apparently won’t be the last.

31 responses to “Eric Winston: Players regret giving Roger Goodell “absolute power”

  1. As much as I hate Goodell, you can’t really feel bad for the players. They agreed to 10 years of this. All they were worried about during the negotiations was $$$.

  2. go on strike ,

    fans have your back 100 % this time around,

    we see what the heck is happening,

    its not balanced at all,

    he’s the judge, jury, and appeal process

  3. You can call the Steelers whiners and complainers (which may be true) but at least they backed it up by being the only team to vote against the CBA for this very reason. I think it was 31-1.

    As for as I’m concerned, they’re the only team that has earned a right to bitch about this.

  4. The players are grumbling about this now?

    The “Rog” has been using the ban hammer for how long on players for the “good of the game” since he took office. And now they are just starting to b & moan? Talk about missing the boat.

    I’m thinking DeMaurice Smith might have some ‘splainin to do to the rank and file as to why this issue was never brought up during the negotiations.

  5. It’s true that you aren’t going to get everything you want but so many players were so vocal about the appeal process before the new CBA was done that I can’t believe that was less important than amount of time in pads or OTA practices.
    Lester Munson said this morning that he read the CBA over and the players have basically no power. They need to start questioning their reps and DeSmith and stop criticizing Goodell on this particular topic.

  6. Winston’s a pretty smart cat but when he says, “Just from what’s been told to me…”, I would think it’s better to exercise caution. When you’re jacking with people’s money emotion gets involved and information gets twisted. That players don’t even want to protect themselves to the fullest extent yet whine about injuries, someone from outside with a clear head needs to be in charge.

  7. And Eric Winston is obviously well educated on this matter, considering he’s seen all the evidence himself.

  8. The reason you dont like his power is because he holds players accountable. Don’t be an idiot, and you’ll be fine. Goodell knows if he gives up disciplanary power, there would be a lot of players getting off on technicalities (i.e. Roger Clemens).

    This way he can go off common sense instead of arguing minute technicalities that allow criminals and rapist to get off scott free like they do in our legal system.

    Most reasonable people would look at all the evidence in the bounty case and conclude with a reasonable amount of certainty that something bad was going on. We have audio of coaches, appologies from coaches acknowleding what they did, player statements acknowleging they were directed to lie about it (which were predictably classified as being “taken out of context” by said player), audio of hargrove asking teamates to pay him his money when he thought he knocked favre out of the game, and the list goes on.

    What is more likely… Goodell made up all this stuff along with fake audio tapes and confessions because of some stupid conspiracy theory, or there was simply a bounty/ pay for performance system that Goodell discovered?

    Again, dont do stupid stuff and Goodell wont bother you. If you’re mad about the fines on the field, tell “those who came before you” to stop filing lawsuits every 4 minutes and Goodell wouldnt be in a position to HAVE to impose fines to show he’s serious about pkayer safety.

  9. They could have had outside arbitration if they gave up some money

    They could have had no franchise tag if they gave up some money.

    They could have had guaranteed contracts if they gave up some money.

    They have nothing to complain about.

  10. Welcome to the world of about everybody that is employed. Does everbody have to continually whine? They are just fortunate as players they are not released as the average person would be for the continued complaining. You make millions for something you love to do, just shut up already. If dont want to worry about Goodell keep your nose clean.

  11. Absolutely, the inmates should be running the asylum.

    I’m sure they can police themselves, right?

    What a joke.

  12. If Goodell is as bright and caring as he demostrates when hugging the new draftees, he will see that he must suggest a change. And, the key word is “must”.

  13. Wah Wah Wah seems to me these players who are complaining want to have a “get out of jail free” card when they do dumb stuff. Bottom line is just do your job, don’t do stupid sh*t and you won’t have to worry about the “judge, jury and executioner”

  14. Mjbulls speak for yourself. If they were to strike over this I think the game would fall apart at the seams. They fans don’t care about the players. I sure as hell won’t stand up for these guys as a fan. They earn enough money, they should have been smarter about it during the CBA. You make millions to play a kids game. So shut up and play. Nobody is forcing it. You don’t like the rules get a new job. Isn’t that what the normal working class does?

  15. Sounds like Winston is OK with players going after his knees. Why is NFLPA supposed to represent only the guys whoa re accused of intending to hurt some of their other members?

    What’s their alternative? Court cases? Yep. We don’t need any more lawyers please.

  16. Maybe Winston and the rest of the players should have listened to Ryan Clark and the Steelers during the NFLPA meetings when he said they should limit Goodell’s power during the negotiations.

    You may hate my team, and a lot of you called them stupid when they voted against the CBA, but they saw this coming.

  17. If I was Goodell I’d offer them a new CBA : Substantially less power for him in exchange for a lower % of revenue for the players. Something tells me they’d decline.

  18. Jay Feely says “the issue wasn’t considered a deal-breaker at the time.”

    What a moron!!!! You see kids!!! This is what happens when you get your education from the University of Michigan!!!! You think you’re smarter than you really are and you screw up!!!

    University of Michigan, #1 in one thing only: Unearned Arrogance!!!!

  19. I find this interesting and wonder how a lot of the other players truly feel.

    We’ve had several active players completely throw Goodell under the bus, like the Ravens Bernard Pollard and the Falcons Roddy White. Before they said anything, I would have put each in a category of player who says what is on their mind, and doesn’t really think through potential consequences. So I believe their words are how they truly feel. They simply say what is on their mind without a real concern for the potential backlash they might get for saying Goodell is wrong and out of control.

    We then have a few who have obviously towed the company line in what they said, such as Eli Manning. But Eli would be in a group of player I’d consider potential politicians after their playing days. The type of person that can smile, tell you something, and make you believe what they are saying, even though inside they may be thinking the exact opposite…a politician.

    We also had one or two people like Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. When the news first broke, he wasn’t upset, he was downright angry. Since then he seems to have calmed down A LOT. I am not sure if that is because he recognizes some of the issues with the case or that he listened to himself and realized he might be coming off the wrong way. Point is, initially at least, there were a select group of players that were not happy with the Saints players.

    But a player like Eric Winston, to me, is the average NFL player. He represents the majority of men who make up the NFL. He doesn’t fall directly into any of those other categories, he is a somewhat normal dude blessed with amazing size which enables him to play football at the highest of levels. He has played on a team that faced that Saints defense each year, either in the preseason or the regular season, so he has firsthand knowledge of the Saints defense on the field during the “bounty” period.

    The fact that Winston basically realizes the issues with the process and the current state of affairs is telling. To take the exact quote, “It seems like he’s running amok with it and deciding to do what he wants and it really doesn’t matter what the evidence says.” You can’t make it any clearer than that.

    This from a player who played against the Saints each year. Wouldn’t he know if the Saints were a “dirty” team better than most? And if so, why then would be basically be standing up for such “dirty” players who were obviously trying to hurt him and his teammates? he is a player who has no teammates effected so he has no reason to take this stance. he was a player on two teams, each who have no connections to these players or the team. Yet he sees it as clearly as most Saints fans, players, and now much of the media. That the NFL has exaggerated and created a villain where they needed one, in order to exact change which positions the league as an active protector of NFL players.

    I just wonder if he is the exception, or the rule. My hope, he is the rule. And if so, Goodell has created a much larger issue than he can simply cover over with his current tactics.

    Dislike away since I didn’t simply pile on the Saints. But everything I said was straight forward and fair.

  20. Here is the thing, If you stay out of trouble and keep your nose clean, you won’t face punishment. Goodell can’t hurt those that stay within the lines.

  21. There’s a reason you only hear the whining and complaining from a select few players and the entire Saints organization/fanbase: nobody else has anything to complain about. For most players the thought was “I’m not one to get in trouble, I don’t rack up DUI’s like tickets at Chuck E Cheese, I don’t cheat the system… so I’ll take my money, keep on the up and up and live a happy life.” So for them it’s a no brainer. The one’s who complain are the guys with legal issues, constant dirty hits, ill advised and illegal practices on the side…

    I don’t see where the issue is. If you stay out of the principals office then who cares how he charges others?

  22. How long have I been beating this drum? The league took the negotiations down to the wire and the players CAVED. I was laughing then and I’m especially laughing now. The players didn’t get anything significant except less padded practices. lol. I’m gonna throw a conspiracy theory out there to see if it sticks. Ready?….. What if the league threw out the idea of an 18 game schedule to take attention away from other issues? What if they never wanted that, but just played it off like they did so they could “give it up” at the bargaining table for something else? Just a little food for thought. 🙂

  23. Truth factory – well said! Its a shame that when a vast majority of players choose to deny, deny, deny when they get into trouble. Nothing Goodell has done seems unfair to me.

  24. Wahh wahh we dont like Roger Goodell blah blah, suck it up and play, get paid well, do the right thing and life will be great for you.

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