After the NFL promulgated a new Personal Conduct Policy that included the power to place players accused of misconduct on the Commissioner’s exempt list pending resolution of charges and the completion of a league investigation, the NFL Players Association filed a grievance challenging the ability to remove a player from the field with pay before the player has been deemed to have done anything wrong. That grievance will now proceed to arbitration.
NFLPA president Eric Winston revealed the development during a Wednesday visit to PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio.
The grievance regarding the use of paid leave had become an anchor for negotiations regarding the contours of the new Personal Conduct Policy. The league and the union had asked the arbitrator to delay making a decision until settlement talks had concluded.
As Winston explained it, the two sides were making progress toward a resolution that would have entailed neutral arbitration for punishment imposed under the Personal Conduct Policy. The NFLPA contends that the league unexpectedly pulled the plug on global talks and tried to focus the settlement discussions only on the issue raised in the grievance.
From the perspective of the NFLPA’s Executive Committee, the options always had been to reach a global settlement or allow the arbitration over the Commissioner’s exempt list to play out. The Executive Committee has now decided to pursue an outcome from the arbitrator.