In the wake of today’s Tom Brady ruling, many of the questions that remain surround how the NFL moves forward, and with whom at the helm of its discipline.
And at least one owner seems willing to consider that the best person for that job might not be commissioner Roger Goodell.
According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Falcons owner Arthur Blank admitted that Thursday’s ruling by Judge Richard Berman vacating Brady’s suspension was bad for the league.
“It’s not healthy for the NFL to be in the kind of litigious position that it’s been for last several years,” Blank said. “I think that the commissioner is working hard to hold up the respect and integrity of the game, the competitive balance of the game and the shield. Having said that, I think we have to find ways to get to a better place sooner with the NFLPA than the process that we’ve gone through.”
Even if that means something other than Goodell having final say.
“This Deflategate thing which isn’t about Deflategate any longer, it’s about what has been collectively negotiated for decades in terms of the commissioner’s responsibility in terms of disciplining players,” Blank said. “If we have to look at that differently in today’s light, in today’s environment, as an ownership group we should be prepared to do that. The commissioner should be prepared to do that.”
And while the league retains the right to appeal the ruling, Blank sounded like many fans who just want the matter put to rest.
“I would have rather seen it end with a positive ruling for the NFL,” Blank said. “I understand why the commissioner and the league feel as strongly as it does about trying to protect the rights that for decades have been collectively bargained. I think that is important.
“I don’t think they should be re-bargained in a federal court. Having said that, I think the commissioner and the ownership around the league have to be prepared to look at things, look at change and change may be appropriate.”
While there is a general sense that Goodell has the support of many owners, few have spoken out in the wake of today’s ruling. And without more of them talking, it’s impossible to know if Blank (who chairs the committee of owners who determine how much Goodell is paid) is an outlier or a prophet.