The NFLPA’s request that the Chargers’ team doctor be removed is currently in the middle of a review mechanism put in place under the rules of the CBA.
Commissioner Roger Goodell cited Article 50 of the collective bargaining agreement, which calls for the establishment of a Joint Committee on Player Safety and Welfare, which is made up of three representatives each from labor and management.
“Article 50 states that if there’s an issue with any medical decision or the medical professionals of a club,” Goodell said. “There could be a resolution by meeting with independent doctors, I believe, three different doctors including an NFLPA attorney, and they will review the matter.
“As I understand it, that’s exactly what’s going on in San Diego, so we’ll allow the process to unfold. But I’m comfortable our doctors make the best possible decisions for the players. We’ll stand behind that, we’ll engage in the process, and we’ll let it unfold.”
While the NFLPA said the Chargers “deserve better” than Chao, who has been sued for malpractice and has been investigated by the DEA over record-keeping issues.
But Chargers center Nick Hardwick, who is also the team’s union representative, told Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego he “completely” trusts Chao.
Quarterback Philip Rivers echoed those sentiments Friday, saying: “I can only speak of my personal experiences: a successful ACL reconstruction and a meniscus repair, along with other ailments which he provided great care. I have no complaints of the care Dr. Chao has provided me.”
According to the CBA, the NFLPA has a right to request an investigation by the Joint Committee “if the NFLPA believes that the medical care of a team is not adequately taking care of player safety.”
That’s where we are at the moment, with the process playing out as spelled out in a document both sides agreed to.