Commissioner retains final say over personal conduct policy discipline


The personal conduct policy doesn’t specifically state that the Commissioner will retain final say over all discipline imposed by the policy.  But the Commissioner will indeed retain that authority.

“Appeals of any disciplinary decision will be processed pursuant to Article 46 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for players or pursuant to the applicable league procedures for non-players,” the new policy states.  “The Commissioner may name a panel that consists of independent experts to recommend a decision on the appeal.”

He may, but that doesn’t mean he will.  As NFL general counsel Jeff Pash has confirmed on a media conference call regarding the new policy, the appeal process will not change.  Under the old policy, Article 46 applied.  Under the new policy, Article 46 applies.

And that represents the heart of the conflict between the NFL and the NFLPA on this point.  The union wants an independent arbitrator to determine the appeal in all cases.  The NFL has refused to give up that power as a general matter.

That said, the new policy requires the initial decision to be made not by the Commissioner, but by “a disciplinary officer,” who will be “a member of the league office staff who will be a highly-qualified individual with a criminal justice background.”  The Commissioner will hire that person and, on a case-by-case basis, the Commissioner will oversee that person’s work.

So while the form will be different, the result ultimately won’t be the same.  In the end, the Commissioner will retain full and ultimate power over the disciplinary process.

By removing the Commissioner from the initial decision-making process, it’s now less likely that the Commissioner will choose to delegate the appeal to an outside person, like he did in the Ray Rice case.  The Commissioner’s involvement as a witness to things Rice said in the disciplinary process made him a witness in the appeal of Rice’s indefinite suspension.  The new process protects the Commissioner against being a witness.

32 responses to “Commissioner retains final say over personal conduct policy discipline

  1. Goodell trying to play us as fools. Everyone knows that this “expert” will just be a Goodell puppet.

    He’s got to GO!

  2. Fire Goodell. The inept coward is entirely PR-driven and completely lacks any sense of self-awareness.

  3. Who cares, the NFL is on the decline. Might as well have a complete tool take it down the drain.

  4. Roger deserves final say! Look how well he’s handled it so far. In fact, I hope he makes 50$ million this year. Yes-men who own golden geese and lie with impunity… those are rare birds indeed.

  5. Yea whatever. More window dressing from the league. So now the commissioner has his own subordinate to take bullets for him and the owners……

    The league cannot be trusted to be the final appeal. That should have been Goodell’s and the league’s punishment for bungling this past few months and frankly past few years.

    No one trusts your judgment Goodell.

  6. You know, every corporation in America retains the right over discipline of its employees. Reason being, unions represent the perpetrators–you can have guys beating women and children during the week and playing football on Sunday–the public won’t have it, and, quite frankly, it isn’t right.

  7. Gee, if only all the people upset with Goodell and the NFL could stay home for a Sunday or two…

    Wake up, boys. There won’t be any changes to this downward spiral of a circus until the fans make them.

    Be heard. Boycott this junk until they remember who it is that pays them.

  8. Didn’t take long for him to assert himself and retain his control. Now he can deflect blame when he wants by ruling or not ruling .

  9. This guy is complete scum. The NFL is literally in need of a major change! Stop trying to police the players! Suspending players for taking PEDs? That’s in your realm. Suspending players for off field problems, away from the field and workplace? Give me a break! That’s why we have this great thing called the LEGAL SYSTEM, where various policeman, judges, lawyers, court officials, etc have to go to school for 4-8 years for this. If they go to jail, they go to jail, and therefore, can’t do their job. Otherwise, I could care less. It’s none of my business. I just want to watch the best football players in the world play.

  10. I can’t stand Goodell. I dislike him as much as anybody else. But if anyone thought that he was going to unilaterally forego his power and control then they are lost.

    The reality is…. he may well give it up. But it sure as HELL won’t be until the new CBA is being negotiated and he can use it as a chip.

    And honestly, he’d be a fool to have given it up without using it in those negotiations.

  11. The disciplinary officer is a good step but the Commissioner needs to be removed from the whole process. There should be a three-person committee responsible for appeals, with one member chosen by the league, one chosen by the players, and a third who is a neutral and highly respected person. Anything less and people will know that the league is just doing what’s good for the 32 owners and not for the players, the game or anything else.

  12. Seems most here don’t get it. Letting Rice or Peterson continue to play after being charged with these crimes is no longer an option – as we have seen doing so will cost the NFL sponsors and $$$.

    The owners have decided that paying players to sit while resolving their legal issues is cheaper than the hit the NFL would take allowing alleged wife beaters to continue to play.

  13. The NFLPA had the opportunity to collectively bargain this power away from the commissioner but it wasn’t a priority to them when they signed the deal. You reap what you sow.

  14. Former HCs might be a fair option for commission members. They understand the game and how their players acted so they tend to have an inside track. And since they are retired they are beholding to nobody.

  15. Goodell’s stubborn refusal to let go of his exclusive control over the decision-maker in arbitration proceedings is out of step with what’s going on in the other major sports.

    In the NBA, the league and the players’ association. jointly select the player-discipline arbitrator and the grievance arbitrator.

    In MLB, the arbitration panel consists of one representative chosen by MLB, one chosen by the players’ association, and one chosen jointly by MLB and the players’ association.

  16. I love how just by the anti-commisioner tone of the article i can tell its Florio doing the opining without even checking. Its getting quite predictable. I still read it though so i guess i cant complain. However if there was a more viable alternative site i would probably choose that instead. An unbiased opinion just carries alot more weight and can be taken more seriously

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