New conduct policy incorporates paid leave for “crimes of violence”

Getty Images

The next time the NFL uses the Commissioner-Exempt list on a player charged with a crime, it won’t be quite as surprising as it was when the designation made an appearance in the Adrian Peterson case.

The new personal conduct policy incorporates leave with pay via the Commissioner-Exempt list whenever a player is “formally charged with a crime of violence.”  The term is defined to encompass players accused “of having used physical force or a weapon to injure or threaten another person, of having engaged in a sexual assault by force or a sexual assault of a person who was incapable of giving consent, of having engaged in other conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety or well-being of another person, or of having engaged in animal abuse.”

An arrest ordinarily isn’t enough to trigger paid leave; the player must be charged with the crime.  Charges may come “in the form of an indictment by a grand jury, the filing of charges by a prosecutor, or an arraignment in a criminal court.”

A player also may be placed on paid leave if a preliminary investigation causes the Commissioner to believe that a crime of violence was committed.  “This decision will not reflect a finding of guilt or innocence and will not be guided by the same legal standards and considerations that would apply in a criminal trial,” the policy states.

While on paid leave, the player may not attend practices or games, but he may be present (with the team’s permission) at the team’s facility for meetings, individual workouts, therapy, rehab, and other permitted non-football activities.  Paid leave will “generally” last “until the league makes a disciplinary decision and any appeal from that discipline is fully resolved.”

As a practical matter, this means that players charged with violent crimes in the future will be treated the same way Peterson and Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy have been handled.  It puts the player in many respects at the mercy of the criminal justice system, keeping them from playing until they have their day in court.

30 responses to “New conduct policy incorporates paid leave for “crimes of violence”

  1. people probably won’t be happy that it’s *paid* leave but this allows spouses to come forward about domestic abuse without worrying about losing their family’s main source of income. There’s no reason to punish the victim further in this case

  2. Just playing devil’s advocate here, but might not this new policy incentivize a lazy player who doesn’t actually like playing football (say, Clowney for example) to commit domestic violence or another crime under this policy and receive a paid vacation for most of the season without having to put it any of the hard work on the field?

  3. So basically they just wrote the new “laws” of the NFL to fit how they were treating Adrian and Hardy. Does anyone actually buy this garbage? The NFL unfairly treats certain players to save their own PR/Money (not because they actually care at all), and THEN write how you will deal with them after the fact? Sounds like the cart is before the horse to me. What a joke!

  4. Geez! It must be nice being a celebrity, I mean professional athlete. Much better than being a low level “contract” technician like I am. I can’t even get paid sick time or holidays off and I can lose my job at a moments notice despite being a good worker.

    It’s no wonder we don’t produce many engineers or scientists anymore. Why should a kid want to grow up and be a teacher when if they’re a high level CEO, professional athlete, or pop star they got hose golden parachutes.

  5. “A player also may be placed on paid leave if a preliminary investigation causes the Commissioner to believe that a crime of violence was committed.”

    The NFL loves to incorporate gray areas into their policies just so Goodell can mess things up. This just opens the door for more inconsistency based on what the Commissioner or public believes to be true.

  6. Why do these guys get paid leave? Vacation time for committing a crime? Every other worker in the world would like to be afforded the same treatment!

  7. They should be kept from playing. Since when should a player be allowed to beat the hell of a defenseless child or a woman and go on like business as usual? His rights at that point do not trump those of the victim he abuses.

  8. It’s open season for crimes in the NFL, if you’re an NFL player of course. That’s b/c you are protected by a union.
    If an owner committed the same crime, the media would excoriate him and the President would ban him from the country for life.
    It’s time that the NFL goes all out to protect themselves from the evil players and their evil union.

  9. NO! The players should be allowed to play UNTIL they have their day in court. The paid leave does not allow them to reach contractual incentives and establish their value for their next contract. Ask Peterson how the exempt list affected his value.

    NFLPA should fight this aggressively!!!!

  10. This is one of the most stupid rules you could write.

    Does your employer give you paid leave when you are arrested.

    What the hell is coming to this country

  11. Innocent until proven guilty. The operative word here is PROVEN. That’s why we have a legal system in this country. Accusations are one thing, proven guilt another.

  12. Problem is that they think there is a high bar to charge someone with a crime. Its really not. Whats the saying? You can indict a cheese sandwhich.

  13. The term is defined to encompass players accused “of having used physical force or a weapon to injure or threaten another person, of having engaged in a sexual assault by force or a sexual assault of a person who was incapable of giving consent, of having engaged in other conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety or well-being of another person, or of having engaged in animal abuse.”
    ===========================
    So just being accused now gets you suspended? I don’t care if it is with pay. That’s just crazy.

  14. Of course the commish didn’t mention the asterisk: “unless the player’s. name ends in Manning, Rogers, breeze, or a few others I can’t think of right now, there will be a different set of policies for them”

    Thanks Rog, keep up the good work…

  15. Everyone thinks Goodell will be fired?

    According to Sean Gilbert, he made the owners 2.5 billion dollars. You don’t fire 2.5 billion dollars.

  16. In most cities, if a police officer is involved in a controversial shooting or arrest, he is placed on paid leave or put on a desk job until his case is investigated. So there ARE jobs that do that

  17. OMG the looming lockout at the next CBA is going to cost these owners as much as he makes them. The level of disparity between the player safety – commissioner conduct policy is going to cost them. Good bye Thursday night games after 3-4 days off… good bye London… Good bye any type of professionalism. The level of distrust is crazy. The owners will fire RG to show the union that they are going to change but it wont be enough.

    You had the opportunity to make this right and work with the union that protects the integrity of the game but noooooooo.

    Why does Hockey not have this problem?

  18. mackcarrington says:
    Dec 10, 2014 2:51 PM

    In most cities, if a police officer is involved in a controversial shooting or arrest, he is placed on paid leave or put on a desk job until his case is investigated. So there ARE jobs that do that
    ———————————-
    Yeah, I thought the same exact thing. However, it’s difficult to compare police duties to a professional athlete. Athletes usually want to play especially in the AP case. I’m sure policemen/women would enjoy a nice paid vacation. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think it’s a good comparison for the most part.

  19. Ok maybe I’m missing something in the mental department today but doesn’t paid leave mean being paid? I understand if someone is charged or accused and haven’t been found guilty you could still pay them but why would you willingly do so if they are being stopped from taking the field.
    Seems like the owners are the ones getting punished here paying people to not play until they are found guilty or not?

    I see zero punishment here for the player. Beat up girl friend, take some games off and still collect big money.

  20. Dec 10, 2014 2:26 PM
    This is one of the most stupid rules you could write.

    Does your employer give you paid leave when you are arrested.

    What the hell is coming to this country

    ——————————————————————

    Actually yes in some cases. If your govt you would be required to use your vacation or sick time. We used to allow people with a DUI who lost license to take 90 days of sick time until they got license back. Thus, they were off work but with pay, there own pay if you will.

    Note, some arrests would be held against you and even a DUI could costs you your job depending on your work experience, previous issues, etc.

  21. OK, so let’s pretend this policy was in place a couple of years ago…

    Are you saying that Aaron Hernandez would be sitting in jail for (allegedly) murdering 3 people and getting paid millions? Can’t a team just fire an employee?

  22. Well that’s strange, all the experts, the press, the media who joined in the witch hunt seem to have very little to say now there’s a policy in place, n fact it’s barely reported. It’s almost as if they just wanted to jump on a bandwagon. Nobody wants to watch a news report on a new NFL policy in place so they say very little, the moralistic crusaders will wait until the next NFL player jumps out of line.

  23. We will only suspend you once you are charged with a crime…unless of course there is a big public outcry in which case we will assume the role of judge and jury and suspend you while the case is being investigated. It’s quite random really and just depends on

    A) How the media slants your arrest

    B) How the public reacts to it

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.