Either on Tuesday or at some point in the future, the NFL and NFL Players Association will get around to talking about the power that Commissioner Roger Goodell will possess under the reconstituted personal conduct policy. And when it’s time to talk about Goodell’s power, the NFLPA won’t be interested in talking about Goodell keeping final say over the process.
Currently, Goodell makes the initial decision and then possesses the power to appeal his own decision, a bizarre two-step, am-I-sure-yes-I’m-sure approach to player discipline. As Chris Mortensen of ESPN has reported, one proposal making the rounds would entail Goodell deferring the initial decision-making process to a new disciplinary panel, with Goodell retaining the power to resolve the case on appeal.
Per a source with knowledge of the NFL Players Association’s thinking, the NFLPA would never agree to allow Goodell to retain what amounts to final-say authority over the process. If Goodell plans to sacrifice power over the process, the union believes it’s critical that he sacrifice ultimate power over the process.
The league possibly will take the position that, because it currently has full authority over the personal conduct policy, the NFLPA has no standing to disagree with the NFL’s decision to unilaterally yield some of it. Eventually, a fight could emerge on that point — especially if the NFL attempts to create the impression that it’s bargaining with the NFLPA when, it reality, it isn’t.