NFLPA statement on Ray Rice case highlights neutral arbitration


The NFL Players Association has released a statement at the conclusion of Ray Rice’s appeals hearing, and that statement focuses on the fact that this time, Roger Goodell is not the judge, jury and executioner.

Rice is appealing the indefinite suspension Goodell handed down after video of Rice punching his wife in an elevator was published two months ago. The NFLPA’s statement notes that this is the first time Goodell has agreed to the union’s request that someone other than Goodell make the final decision.

“The NFLPA thanks Judge Barbara Jones for presiding over a fair and thorough hearing,” the statement says. “This is the first time in the history of our League that a disciplinary hearing has been conducted pursuant to a joint agreement on a neutral arbitrator. We commend NFL owners and officials for the wisdom of this decision which enhances the credibility and integrity of our business.

“The collectively bargained rights of all players must be vehemently preserved and we take that obligation seriously. This appeal, presided over by a neutral arbitrator, which included a presentation of all the relevant facts, witness testimony to the truth and cross examination, is the due process that every athlete deserves.”

Goodell was harshly criticized for his lenience when he initially suspended Rice for just two games. Now Rice is hoping that Judge Jones will agree to set aside Goodell’s second sentence and make Rice eligible to play again.

As a practical matter for Rice, this won’t make a difference any time soon, as it’s extremely unlikely that any team would be willing to take on the bad PR that would come with signing Rice this year. But for the NFLPA, this appeal hearing was important because it was the first time that Goodell agreed to let someone else call the shots.

9 responses to “NFLPA statement on Ray Rice case highlights neutral arbitration

  1. Lol! Really that’s what they think? This is Goodell distancing himself from the Rice incident. People always seem to forget that Goodell is a lawyer as well. This is a very intelligent move on his part.

  2. I think there are teams who need a quality RB who will take Rice this year, if allowed……regardless of the PR issue……

  3. Based on Rice’s declining yards per game, I seriously doubt he will ever play again regardless of this hearing going his way. If he were a younger player with tremendous upside potential, things would be different. As it stands, his best days are behind him and so are a lot of younger talented players.

  4. Goodell is the only thing between the game and total anarchy???

    Please. The NFL had qualified commissioners before Goodell and will have qualified commissioners after Goodell. Who knows? Maybe the league can even find a qualified commissioner who isn’t a megalomaniac bent on watering down the sport until it is palatable for as many casual viewers in as many countries as possible.

  5. The NFLPA just can’t help itself. Goodell’s mistake was not dropping the hammer on Rice immediately. Had he done so, the NFLPA would have the near impossible task of arguing that a man who beat his wife into unconsciousness was given too severe a penalty. Right.

    Rice isn’t getting a chance at having his sanctions reduced because of a different appeal process. It’s because Goodell initially tried to cut Rice a break.

    End of analysis. And the union still expects to be taken seriously in the judicial system? It’s record of relying on hyperbole before federal judges is embarrassing.

  6. NFL policy of disciplining players and being an arm of law enforcement was a huge error. They have opened a horrible bag of worms to anyone with an agenda. The punishment are arbitrary. The outrage varies depending on who did the crime or if they are other things to talk about and how good the video was. People want scapegoats and the players are great targets due to the popularity of the sport. But why isn’t their demands that hockey player or cricket player be suspended for of field indiscretions? If it’s really about women or kids being abused.

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