De Smith: Union will never apologize for fighting for its players

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At a time when NFL has done its victory lap regarding the outcome of the federal appeal in the Tom Brady case, the NFL Players Association openly wonders what the NFL is really trying to win when it comes to player discipline.

“There was a time way back when when I thought that the owners would look at the big picture,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said on Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. “What are we trying to accomplish? What issues are important as far as growing the game? How do we make the game safer for every level? And we would make macro decisions about things. For whatever reason ever sense [the Saints bounty case] when it comes to issues of player discipline there has been almost an inability or resistance to see the big picture in things. So if the owners and the [Management Council] truly want to think about big picture then there’s a chance of us moving forward on all sorts of issues. If there is going to be the myopic focus on who wins what round then that’s a role they are forcing us to play and that’s a role we will play.”

Although Smith didn’t expressly state that that the union and Brady will pursue the next level of appeal, the message is clear: If the NFL is going to force these fights, the NFLPA isn’t going to walk away from them.

“The long and short of it is the job of the union is to fight for the right of the player and we win some of these, we lose some of these,” Smith said. “But I think the bigger issue of course is everybody’s got to decide on, for the people who are entrusted with running this league, how we want the business conducted and really since [the StarCaps case], we’ve been in fights with the league over issues of how power is exercised. The job of the union is if we believe that it’s exercised in the wrong way, our job is to fight for our players and we never apologize for it and never will.”

One reason to fight the Brady case comes from the union’s ongoing effort to persuade Commissioner Roger Goodell to surrender final say over the remaining aspects of player discipline in which he has the power: discipline imposed under the Personal Conduct Policy and for conduct detrimental to the league. The NFL’s victory, on the surface, could make it harder for the NFLPA to accomplish this, since it underscores the full extent and significance of the power the Commissioner has had for decades. But Smith clearly still intends to try.

“There are always factors that can go into who believes what at the bargaining table and court leverage is only one of them,” Smith said. “I think the real issue is what do they want to get done? And it seems to me that the core issue here is. You and I can remember a time when virtually every player punishment didn’t find its way embroiled for months in a courtroom. I think if you read [former Commissioner] Paul Tagliabue’s ruling in the [Saints] bounty case where he talks about the judicious use of Commissioner discipline, that is a world that we used to have. If we want to get to a point where we can do other things economically to grow the game and not be so embroiled in these kinds of cases that’s the world that we should probably be in. If they don’t want to get there then the union knows what it’s mission is and we know exactly what we’ll do.”

It won’t be easy to persuade the NFL to surrender the Commissioner’s final say over discipline imposed for conduct detrimental to the game, based on comments Roger Goodell made earlier this week to Bloomberg TV.

“This is something that we’ve had in our constitution and bylaws and our collective bargaining agreements for decades,” Goodell said regarding the authority to suspend for conduct detrimental. “We think it’s important that the Commissioner protect the integrity of the game, that you can’t entrust that to someone who has, really, no understanding of our business. And in fact the appellate court [on Monday], we affirmed that. So we think this is an important element of our success. We obviously have changed our discipline process through the years and we’ll continue to do that if we think it’s in the best interest overall of the NFL.”

That last line opens the door to the possibility of relinquishing the remaining areas in which the Commissioner has final say. Regardless of whether the NFL ultimately wins the Brady case, it helps no one to have these protracted legal battles, all of which are fueled by the perception/reality that the Commissioner has overstepped his bounds, possibly because doing what is fair and just has taken a back seat to catering to the 32 people who employ and compensate the Commissioner.

90 responses to “De Smith: Union will never apologize for fighting for its players

  1. If I was an NFL player I would want to see the money the union has spent on legal fees since the latest CBA went into effect. I would also look at the connections between law firms being used and De Smith.

  2. Hey DeMaurice Smith, shut that whole in the middle of your face. You were the one who negotiated the CBA, you were the one who signed it, so stop crying about it now after the fact.

  3. This guy’s incompetence is the reason Brady lost his case, and he’s pointing fingers at the NFL.

    What a clown.

  4. Is he saying it’s ok for the players to cheat? Maybe the union needs a makeover. Too many players going broke shortly after retiring. Union bosses having a poor relationship with the owners. Maybe time for some fresh new leadership. The current leadership never offers any help or new ideas. Just want to fight all the time. You’d think by now they’d be good fighters, but they always lose.

  5. keys words in this article are “doing what is fair and just has taken a back seat to catering to the 32 people who employ and compensate the Commissioner”

  6. Interesting that Smith and the PA threw Brady under the bus by not appealing on his innocence, but rather on the Commissioner’s authority. Brady was used in the feud between Smith and Goodell.

  7. The NFL seems to believe that they are not bound by due process or fundamental fairness as pointed out in the dissenting opinion of the Brady case. This comes from what the union believes to be a corruption or misinterpretation of the National Labor Relations Act. The union cannot allow that interpretation to go unchallenged. I think that if the issue is properly framed the outcome will be the limitation of the NFL’s abuse of power against their employees. Either the en banc Second Circuit will respond or the Supreme Court will have the opportunity to re establish fundamental due process and notions of fairness in arbitrations under the NLRA … or Congress may amend the act itself to make clear that no legal proceeding can be bereft of such fundamental rights.

  8. It is funny that the NFLPA is spending all this money just to try to drag out the process until the richest player in the league retires.

    At least Manning was able to retire before the HGH scandal gained traction.

    The guy who least needs their help/money is the one getting all their time/money. 1 player out of 1,696 and this may end up being the hill the NFLPA dies on during the next CBA which didn’t affect 99.99% of the players.

  9. Rich people don’t care about the people they depend upon for production. Not a new concept.

    Funny how when a football player dies horribly as a result of his brain injuries the guy who profited off of those brain injuries is making even more because he’s denying the existence of the brain injuries and no one knows about those old players because beer commercials and wang pills commercials and we’re desensitized because hillary and trump and it’s all so damned tedious….

    So how bad are my Jets gonna suck this year?

  10. This should go to the Supreme Court as the court needs to rule on what constitutes due process of the law according to the 6th amendment. A person’s property (tom’s money) cannot be taken without a fair process. I would say the cba the way it is written with DB hearing the appeal AND handing down the punishment isn’t due process. And, besides, in this case if anyone thinks Brady got due process is a total ignorant moron.

    Supreme Court should make them rewrite the cba. A case like this is exactly why the Bill of Rights was written and guys like Washington Jefferson and Franklin would be sickened by the previous court’s decision. And newsflash all of us should be rooting for Tom as red blooded Americans.

  11. The NFLPA is the worst union in professional sports and it’s not even close.

    That’s who Pats fans should be mad at, not Goodell-bot. They caved when the game checks stopped coming and handed over absolute power to the commissioner, which was confirmed in federal court this week.

  12. Florio, right on the mark. I’m not a big fan of Smith, but he hit it on the head referencing Tagliabue’s use of the word “judicious.”

    Goodell and the owners pushing him, especially with deflategate(cuz, again for the haters, there is no EVIDENCE), have eroded the trust of the fans.

    I don’t know if the know it or not…or if they care or not, but the perception I and many other fans have of the NFL is not one of integrity, fairness, or honesty. Goodell and the owners..it’s all about greed.

    I’ve done my part. Canceled Sunday Ticket….won’t watch any game but college games, won’t buy anything NFL until Goodell and the owners wise up. I know I am only one guy…big deal. It’s a start. And, won’t watch the draft. How could anyone? One team is locked out for no reason…except being better than the rest.

    Petty, spiteful and dishonest. That is how I view the NFL today.

    A Former NFL and Packers Fan

  13. The job of the union is if we believe that it’s exercised in the wrong way, our job is to fight for our players and we never apologize for it and never will.

    Patently false. There has been no occasion where the NFL PA looked at a case and said “The NFL is right to discipline this player” unless it was a predetermined issue they have no control over (such as pre-agreed upon Substance Abuse and PED suspensions). They have made fools of themselves fighting for the rights of players regardless of guilt or conduct detrimental.

  14. De Smith’s macro-scale and long term thinking makes him a great NFLPA leader. However, his failure to get into the fine details is what has the NFLPA in this situation. Simple as that.

    Posturing for the next CBA now is a good plan to make sure this does not happen again, but that won’t eliminate Brady’s suspension.

  15. I don’t get the fuss, it’s in the CBA, De Smith negotiated the CBA and settled for more money in exchange for giving the Commissioner disciplinary control . Now that Goodell is using it, De Smith has a problem?

    Here is a simple solution, why don’t the Patriots stop cheating? That would make it easier on everybody.

  16. But you didn’t fight for them during CBA negotiations.

    It’s why your player is suspended the first 1/4 of the season.

    You allowed the situation to happen.

    You do NOT fight for the players – you simply collect dues and then complain about the problems you created to begin with.

    Smith should be canned.

  17. Dee Smith is incompetent. He should absolutely be relieved of his responsibilities.

  18. Not really a union guy, but in this particular case GO UNION

    Please get goodell

  19. He has not overstepped anything, the nflpa signed that agreement, now one of their girls got a slap on the wrist and all the tammy brady minions don’t like it, so the young lady decided that she was bigger than the game. We’ll, Tammy you are not bigger than the game.

    and as far as things being different from previous commissioners tenure, it’s simple…the nfl has never , never, had this many criminals in its employ.

    Look at the players now. More than 30% have criminal records. The league is full of morally bankrupt players who are too self centered to realize that they are overpaid for playing a sport. The nfl is basically enabling their players to be complete and total scum bags.

    Establish a maximum, equal salary for all players, and you will gradually see the quality of character improve among players in the league

  20. The NFLPA got owned by Goodell/the owners during teh CBA negotiations.

    So why is DeMaurice Smith still there?
    If the players think he did a good job, they are chumps and deserve what they get.

    While I dislike Goodell, and think he’s made many mistakes, I have to credit his negotiators for ripping off the players.
    He’s like a baseball player who goes 1-6, with 4 strike outs and a grand slam.

  21. Whether you like Brady or not, it’s impossible to argue that the process has been in any way fair. That the NFL decided to take down one of its icons in such a filthy underhanded way is beyond belief.

  22. The difference between Goodell and his predecessors was the they were more interested in growing the league and didn’t want any distractions. In Goodell’s era, the NFL is a behemoth and now it’s all about protecting what the have.

    When the Patriots coaching staff did the most flagrant form of unsportsmanlike conduct on the field in the 82′ playoff (snowplow) game Pete Rosell did nothing. No lost draft picks, or fines, not even a suspension.

    When the 49ers and Broncos circumvented on the salary cap during there SuperBowl years, Paul Tagliabue’s punishment was weak.

    I think a lot of the newer owners are sick on how the NFL has handled these cheating cases in the past and are pressuring Goodell to finally clean this up.

  23. ok -but he definitely should be apologizing for giving the NFL and the commissioner so much power that he has to constantly fight. Worst Union guy I’ve ever seen.

  24. Unions in general are there to fight for the employees….. the problem starts when they fight for employees that are reprehensible.

    Some people deserve to lose there jobs or be punished…. how else are they going to learn.

  25. The heavy hand came down on the Pats and Brady because the other 31 owners wanted it that away … the other teams do not trust the Pats …

  26. Goodell won’t surrender the final say nor should he. He’s paid untold millions to be overall responsible. I wouldn’t care less what a union thinks, they don’t have that responsibility on their shoulders. In the age of social media and the millennials who have no respect for anyone, any commissioner who replaces him will be bashed just as hard.

  27. 56 proven lies in the wells report. get goodell on a stand to answer how there could be so many lies presented as a truth in order to rule and utilize his powers under the cba.

  28. Shut up! Smith n go hide your face. Because you were the one that signed that cba fool! But still tom brady is a pretty boy but a criminal in disguise! Kraft n belicheat are frauds!

  29. The Patriots are on the wrong side of History… The facts say so….and nothing Demaurice Smith does can change that because the facts are not on his or Brady’s side…

  30. buckyfan1965 says:
    Apr 28, 2016 8:44 AM
    I miss Paul Tagliabue.

    =====================

    LOL. Tagliabue ruled in a different time that didn’t have social media and 24 hour news cycles. You were told what the news was by the TV talking heads and the newspapers and you had to wait until the next day to get updates. There weren’t cellphones with video cameras everywhere..

    Tags could get things done out of the public eye (for the most part) because the public eye wasn’t shining a spotlight on him 24/7 with every move scrutinized 2 minutes after it happens with accompanying full audio/video.

    Take Ray Rice, you think he get’s suspended 20 years ago? especially without the video? Do you think Tagliabue would’ve taken any flack back then? No. We are a much more litigious society than we used to be.

  31. beach305 says:
    Apr 28, 2016 8:39 AM

    The difference between Goodell and his predecessors was the they were more interested in growing the league and didn’t want any distractions. In Goodell’s era, the NFL is a behemoth and now it’s all about protecting what the have.

    When the Patriots coaching staff did the most flagrant form of unsportsmanlike conduct on the field in the 82′ playoff (snowplow) game Pete Rosell did nothing. No lost draft picks, or fines, not even a suspension.
    ________________________________
    Great example of someone so green with envy of the Patriots that he spouts nonsense without the facts. The reason there were no penalties in the Snowplow Game was that it wasn’t illegal back then! In fact, NE offered to clear a path for the Dolphins too! The plow followed the Dolphins offense down the sidelines just in case! Shula, a notorious cheater and poor sport, was too arrogant and cost his team a chance.

    Just another example of a rule that got changed because the Pats used it. Tuck rule used against NE was OK. As soon as it helps them it was changed. Physical D backs used against NE were fine. As soon as NE shuts down the Colts, well you see all the flags. Ineligible receivers? Fine to use against NE, but when Harbawl was embarrassed in the playoffs is was made illegal. Except when the Ravens use then apparently. Now NE is even being punished for natural occurrences!

  32. Scientists from MANY prestigious institutions have ALL concluded there was NO TAMPERING of footballs!The NY times said it best ” I am convinced that no deflation occurred and that the Patriots are innocent. It never happened”. Repeat innocent.
    See NY Times January 22, 2016

    The union should continue to fight for an innocent man!!

  33. deneb1973 says:
    Apr 28, 2016 8:00 AM

    ——————————

    For those clamoring about the En Banc hearing or the supreme court clearing Brady’s name you are grasping at straws. Brady knows it, the NFLPA knows it and most importantly the NFL knows it.

    That’s why 2 days later we are hearing all this bluster in the media rather than an immediate march to the court house.

    Let him appeal so it can get denied and we can get this over with. There is only about a 1% chance either of those courts elects to hear the appeal and even less of a chance that it results in the complete win over the NFL that Brady’s fans claim it will.

    I’ve also been meaning to ask, how’s that defamation lawsuit going that Pats fans claim that will end up in Brady owning the NFL? Thank god none of you are lawyers.

  34. igornathanhiggers says:
    Apr 28, 2016 9:11 AM

    The Patriots are on the wrong side of History… The facts say so….and nothing Demaurice Smith does can change that because the facts are not on his or Brady’s side…
    ==================================
    Exactly what facts are you talking about? the fact that there the NFL lied about the 11/12 balls being @ 2 PSI below , a known LIE ? Why wouldn’t the NFL correct that LIE???
    Or they lies about the Colts ball being compliant, they were not!
    Why did the NFL LIE about the Wells report being independent , when it was not?
    Why did the NFL believe everything Walt Anderson said EXCEPT what gauge he used ? why ? because it exonerated the Pats, that is why.
    There are over 100 lies the NFL has spewed, yet posters choose to believe there was tampering.

  35. beach305 says:
    Apr 28, 2016 8:39 AM

    When the Patriots coaching staff did the most flagrant form of unsportsmanlike conduct on the field in the 82′ playoff (snowplow) game Pete Rosell did nothing. No lost draft picks, or fines, not even a suspension

    ———-

    first…..it was not a playoff game, it was an early December game. the teams later met in the playoffs, which Miami won.

    second, Pete Rozelle did not do anything because there was no rule against it, well at least until the following year.

    third…..if you’d like to see the actual snow plow, there’s an exhibit at the Hall at Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium……the plow is hanging from the ceiling.

  36. For those of you who still think Brady cheated… And for all of you who still have no idea what any of this was about…here you go:

    BOSTON (CBS) — In an interview on CBS This Morning Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, reinstated on Monday, had nothing to do with the footballs that were allegedly deflated in January 2014.

    “Well this wasn’t about the actual violation,” Goodell said, after being asked if the endless DeflateGate saga was worth the $20 million the league has spent on legal fees related to it over the past year. “This was about the rights we had negotiated in our collective bargaining agreement, that we had in our collective bargaining agreement, and that we wanted to make sure we retained.”

    The haters need to wake up. The only thing Deflategate proved was that the team and players YOU root for could be Goodell’s next victims.

  37. These two petulant children are fighting back and forth “he did it!” “No, he did it!!”
    Here’s the bottom line for this bumbling idiot D Smith—YOU were at the wheel when this thing was collectively bargained. YOU need to take ownership and admit that YOU should have fought harder knowing that the Commish was going to try and clean up the league that had many “black eyes” because its players couldn’t stay off police blotters and video cameras breaking the law.
    YOU also can have selective justice and try and paint this “macro” view as you call it when cheating is cheating.
    Should police stop giving tickets for speeding and blowing through sto signs because they want to focus on cutting down on DUI’s?
    Flawed logic D. Take your lumps and get prepared for the next CBA where YOU have the opportunity to create change.
    Until then—just tell you guys “don’t cheat, punch women or smoke weed.” It’s pretty simple….

  38. Got caught cheating not once but twice….Nobody wants an apology just fair play. Enjoy the bench Tom. 4 games is getting off easy.

  39. Stopping Conduct Detrimental and protecting the integrity of the game is SUPPOSED to be a wide area of discretion for the Commissioner and the league, because you don’t know exactly what will or what won’t threaten the League.

    Did anyone know that a ball deflation scheme could affect fumbling so much since 2007? But it did.

    And for all the ideal gas law experts out there, while there’s a SLIGHT issue there, don’t give me guy’s name was the Deflator becuase he was losing weight. Don’t pretend like we don’t have extended text convos about how brady wanted the balls soft. Don’t pretend like chain of custody was broken for that AFFCG against the Colts.

    And don’t pretend like Brady didn’t destroy his Cell phone the minute they wanted to see it.

    And lets not pretend like Giselle nudie pics were the fear either. He would have been present in the room with lawyers, etc while they gave conversations a look, and probably had a basic look to see if conversations were for some reason erased.

    Reality is, everything the Pats did on this, whether they cheated or not, was threatening to the integrity of the game. The end.

  40. Everyone is forgetting or perhaps don’t know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. The cba isn’t worth the paper it was written on if it violates the Bill of Rights.

  41. eagleswin :
    Its a fan of the Eagles, Professor John Leonard that stated in the NY Times article, which exonerates the Patriots, that if Exponent was an undergrad student @ MIT and handed in an assignment to him like the experiment in the WellsPash report with so many mistakes,

    “I would force them to repeat the experiment and correct the analysis”.

    Dr Leonard, like many others, is convinced nothing happened.

  42. But will DeMo ever apologize to the players for allowing Roger to become omnipotent?

    Doubtful. He would have to admit that he failed which his ego won’t tolerate.

  43. eagleswin says:
    Apr 28, 2016 9:16 AM

    Tags could get things done out of the public eye (for the most part) because the public eye wasn’t shining a spotlight on him 24/7 with every move scrutinized 2 minutes after it happens with accompanying full audio/video.

    ——

    this is hilarious. the fact is that the NFL used social media to its advantage. the 11 of 12 tweet by Mort, info provided to him by the league. Yet despite the Pats begging Pash to do something about the leaks, he ignored their requests.

    I’ll ask you this: why…..a full two months after the AFC Championship game…..had the league still not provided the Patriots the actual halftime testing results, even after multiple requests, and subsequently required the Pats to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to get those results?

    Why did the truth need to be a secret?

    The fact is that social media was not a detriment to the NFL providing a judicious process; Social media was a tool used by the NFL to circumvent a judicial process.

  44. Goodell’s power trip is not really that big a problem for the players. If there’s no video evidence, the players tend to get a slap on the wrist at first and then escalating penalties from there.

    The real damage he does is to fans. The fans of the Saints, Redskins, Cowboys, and Patriots have all been hit by excessive and capricious penalties by this commissioner against their teams. Those four owners need to lead the charge to remove him.

  45. beach305 says:
    Apr 28, 2016 8:39 AM

    The difference between Goodell and his predecessors was the they were more interested in growing the league and didn’t want any distractions. In Goodell’s era, the NFL is a behemoth and now it’s all about protecting what the have.

    When the Patriots coaching staff did the most flagrant form of unsportsmanlike conduct on the field in the 82′ playoff (snowplow) game Pete Rosell did nothing. No lost draft picks, or fines, not even a suspension.

    When the 49ers and Broncos circumvented on the salary cap during there SuperBowl years, Paul Tagliabue’s punishment was weak.

    I think a lot of the newer owners are sick on how the NFL has handled these cheating cases in the past and are pressuring Goodell to finally clean this up.
    —————————–

    That’s a bunch of nonsense.

    What was the punishment for the Jets confirmed tampering with footballs?

    What was the punishment for the ball guys warming up the footballs with the sideline heaters, a clear violation of the rules, in the Vikings-Panthers game?

    Where was the investigation into Aaron Rodgers comments that he likes to try and sneak over-inflated footballs, past the referees?

    The “new” owners and Roger Goodell aren’t trying to clean anything up. Heck, they just got busted diverting funds so they wouldn’t have to pay it to the players.

    The previous commissioners fully understood the gamesmanship that took place by ALL teams, and they didn’t feel the need to make Mount Everest out of a molehill like Goodell has done, ever since he got into the league.

    A good commissioner doesn’t drag one of it’s star players through the muck, and fabricate some ridiculous farce, all in an effort to retain some small level of control.

    The bottom line is that Goodell was tired of being made to look like a fool in front of Federal judges. One called him a liar, and another said he acted like there wasn’t a CBA.

    In the end, he had to bribe 2 Federal judges to finally give him a victory.

    How does that fit in with cleaning things up?

  46. IB007 says:
    Apr 28, 2016 8:51 AM
    The heavy hand came down on the Pats and Brady because the other 31 owners wanted it that away … the other teams do not trust the Pats …
    Correction: with few exceptions the other 31 teams cannot beat the Patriots on the field so those teams owners whine to Goodell to handicap the Patriots off the field. It’s a disgusting display of lack of integrity being perpetrated at the highest levels of the NFL.

  47. Im confused… How did Hardy, Rice all get their suspensions reduced but Bradys had to have his to be appealed to the guy who made the punishment? Is it because Hardy and Rice were domestic violence cases? Seems odd those would be the ones that go to an arbitrator and not a subjective one like this one. Anyone care to explain?

  48. QUOTE FROM ROGER GOODELL on CBS THIS MORNING:
    ——————————
    “Well this wasn’t about the actual violation, this was about the rights we had negotiated in our collective bargaining agreement, that we had in our collective bargaining agreement, and that we wanted to make sure we retained.”
    ——————————
    ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?!

    So it’s not about whether a violation even occurred (it didn’t) or if Brady had anything to do with it (he didn’t because it never happened) this is only about maintaining to power to punish anyone at anytime for any reason even if it’s made up out of thin air.

  49. In fairness to Smith, the player discipline aspect of the CBA is essentially unchanged for the last 40 years.

    The only difference is that Rozelle and Tagliabue weren’t Jets front office d-bags who had to overcompensate for their teeny little dinky and take down the big bad rival of their favorite team

    Just look at recent history:
    Ray Rice, on video dropping his wife with a pinpoint accurate right hand. Goodell gives him a 2 game suspension (yes, after the video outrage he essentially locked him up and threw away the key, but what Goodell did when he thought he could get away with it -2 games- is the real Goodell). He didn’t want to harm the Ravens until public outcry made him.

    Hardy beats on his girlfriend, pays her to not show up, and he gets 4 games.

    Brady? Maybe the Patriots deflated footballs, but maybe they didn’t. But “if” they did, Brady would have known, so Brady gets 4 games.

    Brady being generally aware of a ball deflation scheme (that they admittedly couldn’t prove) was worth twice the penalty of Ray Rice who was on video doing exactly what he said he didn’t do??? Are you kidding me?

    Chiefs get docked draft picks because they had a phone call with a player that had an expiring contract, and the previous team already told him he wasn’t going to be back. But the Jets, tampering with a player under contract, not an expiring contract, under contract, and the Jets get a $3.00 fine and stern talking to.

    Everyone likes to say that Goodell and Kraft are OG homies, but are they really? Do they hang out at non NFL functions? Does Goodell look the other way for the Patriots or for the Jets? you can argue he didn’t go far enough for Spygate, and you can argue that destroying the evidence is bad, but he still hammered them. If it had been the Jets, would it have been a first round pick? The answer is no. It would have been a $20 fine and a stern talking to behind closed doors.

    The reason Kraft and Goodell are often seen together (at NFL functions, not offseason bar-b-ques) is because Kraft is one of the most influential owners. That’s it. No grand “protect the Patriots” conspiracy.

    One other thing that intrigues me about Goodell, he has told us time and time again the burning the Spygate tapes was only about ensuring that if any more tapes showed up, it would prove that they never received all of the tapes. In other words, it was destroying the evidence, but not to hide anything. Based on that, isn’t it then possible to conclude that Brady didn’t destroy his phone to destroy evidence, but rather to prevent the NFL from leaking everything on the phone, you know, like the embarrassing information they leaked from Richie Incognito’s phone.

  50. RegisHawk says:
    Apr 28, 2016 8:17 AM
    The job of the union is if we believe that it’s exercised in the wrong way, our job is to fight for our players and we never apologize for it and never will.

    Patently false. There has been no occasion where the NFL PA looked at a case and said “The NFL is right to discipline this player” unless it was a predetermined issue they have no control over (such as pre-agreed upon Substance Abuse and PED suspensions). They have made fools of themselves fighting for the rights of players regardless of guilt or conduct detrimental.

    14 6
    You obviously don’t have knowledge or experience with labor relations. The union is bound to represent its members. They can try to dissuade a member from moving forward with a grievance, but if they feel that the issue is of such importance to their membership that they need to move forward regardless of whether or not the member wants to, they can. On the other side though if the member insists on moving forward regardless of the merits of the situation, they are obliged to do that as if they don’t, they risk an action by the member alleging failure to represent. The upshot of this is that many grievances are pushed and the outcome is then decided by the process. The big difference in the case of the NFL is that there is no meaningful , objective appeal process where the management decision can be heard and be upheld or overturned.

  51. I don’t mind the union saying its job is to represent its player members, but I do mind when it then asserts the opponent (the League management) must adhere to a different, higher, standard, namely, what is in the “overall interest” of the game.

    And if the union wants to follow the adversarial approach on issues, then I don’t think it can complain about being criticized for not really being an advocate of approaches that are in the game’s overall interests (such as PED control and reasonable overall player disciplinary procedures). Own your choice.

  52. The union claims it fights for child abusers, druggies, and cheaters, yet it always seems to lose every fight. Mostly, it shows up after a lost fight to whine about it.

    What has the Union done for the average player struggling to make or stay on a team?
    Reduced the practice time and off season sessions where he can work on his craft.

    Some of us who remember Tagliabue always surrendering to the union now see another lawyer always surrendering to the league.

  53. The reason there were no penalties in the Snowplow Game was that it wasn’t illegal back then!

    _____________________

    Think of all the teams that played in snow before that game. None of them ever asked the snowplow operator to make a path for a kick. Do you think because they didn’t know that it was illegal, or do you think just maybe that no one would ever consider to do something so blatantly outrageous. Tom Landry, Chuck Knoll who have played in historic games in the snow never once asked for a snowplow. Is it because they were dumb and had no idea it was legal. The fact that the NFL banned the practice after this happened goes to show you that it was never allowed in the first place.

  54. iamkillerfin says:
    Apr 28, 2016 10:31 AM
    DeMaurice Smith & Rodger Goodell ARE BOTH WORTHLESS!!! Cheater Brady needs to serve his suspension HE CHEATED!!!

    There are only 2 ways you can be so sure of that

    1) You havent actually read up on the facts

    2) That’s what you want to believe

    If you objectively have read up on this there’s a lot of doubt. But there’s really not much objectivity amongst NFL fans, I get that. Hence why nobody seems to care that if the Pats cheated in that game so did the Colts

  55. I think one of the most disturbing things to me to come out of this case is that even if he chose to do so it is highly doubtful Brady would win a defamation case. You can go to any website and see the amount of people calling him a cheater etc etc etc yet there is no actual proof of him cheating.

    Even Goodell came out and said this case was about establishing the right and power of the NFL to implement the CBA.

    I do not think justice is being done here. If you accept the NFL does have these rights (and apparently they do) that is one thing but for millions of people to call you a cheat, some crying out for bans ranging from a season to forever when there is no proof you even did anything to start with, I think that amounts to defamation of character in my book.

    Perhaps Mr Florio will do a piece and tell us why this is the case I for one would be interested to know.

  56. rob471773 says:
    Apr 28, 2016 10:07 AM

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?!

    So it’s not about whether a violation even occurred (it didn’t) or if Brady had anything to do with it (he didn’t because it never happened) this is only about maintaining to power to punish anyone at anytime for any reason even if it’s made up out of thin air.

    ————————————

    Over the top commentary aside, you are correct. The court case was never about Brady’s innocence or guilt which is why it hard to understand why Pats fans are blathering about Tom Brady’s innocence in regards to the court case.

    The question has always been about the extent of NFL’s power as defined in the CBA which is why it was mystifying that the original judge was so obsessed with the evidence against Tom Brady. I hope it makes clear why the appeals court slapped down the original judge hard.

    Whether you agree or disagree with Brady being guilty the only question before the court is whether Goodell is legally allowed to operate the way he did. The answer is yes.

  57. In this corner, a bunch of greedy billionaires bent on exercising maximum control over every aspect of their investment regardless of employee welfare.

    In the opposite corner, a larger bunch of greedy millionaires, many of whom are very immature, who want mainly to look out for themselves.

    While some owners and many players may not fit these molds, Goodell and Smith primarily represent those who do.

  58. neilpountney says:
    Apr 28, 2016 11:06 AM

    I think one of the most disturbing things to me to come out of this case is that even if he chose to do so it is highly doubtful Brady would win a defamation case.
    ———-

    he may not win, but this could be one of those situations where it’s all about the journey, not what’s at the end of the road.

    If I was Brady, it might be pretty sweet seeing all those at the league office squirming and reputations taking a dent, like they’ve done to him, even if it means losing in the end.

    You don’t always have to win to get even.

  59. beach305 says:
    Apr 28, 2016 10:51 AM

    Think of all the teams that played in snow before that game. None of them ever asked the snowplow operator to make a path for a kick.
    ——————————

    No one asked the snowplow operator to make a path in that game either.

    You and that bitter old man Shula need to build a bridge and get over it already.

  60. The players like the setup because they have a fair shot in the courts. It’s the owners that need the rule changed and they’re the ones that’ll have to make concessions to change it.

  61. omgspaz says:

    The NFLPA is the worst union in professional sports and it’s not even close.

    =======================

    read the above and to those who say the players voted for the CBA and should live with it need to look at a couple of points.

    Players average career in the NFL less than 4 years

    What tool do the players have to get a fair negotiation when a prolonged strike or lockout takes away 25% of their earning capacity?

    The owners know this and give the players bits of bones, its called an oligarchy.

    So true, the union is weak, and the CBA what they signed up to, but they really had no choice. Unless another group of billionaires wants to start another league, they the players have no choice but to take what they are given.

    Unfortunately a system that worked reasonably well is now being abused by owners who want to get more and more.

  62. dexterismyhero says:
    Apr 28, 2016 11:47 AM
    wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Says all Pats fans!!!
    ———————————————————-

    wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Says all fans of other teams who are sick and tired of the Pats dominating.

  63. No one asked the snowplow operator to make a path in that game either.
    ========================

    Actually that is not true, the referee later in the game asked Shula when the Dolphins were trying to kick a field goal if he wanted the path cleared.

    The legend that was shula said no.

  64. BTW

    the ability to safeguard the integrity of the game — has been around since the very first Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA in 1968. Which means that the first NFLPA president (John Mackey) and executive director (Ed Garvey) agreed to allow the Commissioner to impose the discipline and to designate the hearing officer (including himself) to handle any appeal regarding matters relating to conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football.

    Similar, then, to the Personal Conduct Policy, the Commissioner’s judge-jury-executioner power predated the 2011 negotiations.

  65. The major majority of those posting on anything #Defaltegate post as fans and see this as a Football issue which it is not.

    This is a labor and fundamental fairness issue period. Did Roger issue his own brand of industrial justice? Did Tom Brady receive a fair hearing? This goes to Labor Law which effects every working American. So the little kiddies can post there, suck it up, he cheated, blah, blah, blah but the adults in the room see how the outcome of the case could effect them if they’re railroaded by there employer.

    What do you do tomorrow morning when your employer asks you for your phone?

  66. eagleswin?

    Whether you agree or disagree with Brady being guilty the only question before the court is whether Goodell is legally allowed to operate the way he did. The answer is yes.
    ===================================

    some people think if it gets to the USSC the court will question the validity of the CBA given that the “union” had no power to negotiate a fair and true CBA.

  67. That is a bunch of PR BS. This union doesn’t really fight FOR anything. They primarily fight just TO fight the NFL and give the perception that they are principled. Can anyone name a single disciplinary instance where the union agreed that the player was disciplined appropriately? Just one? I doubt it. That means the union believes that every single disciplinary scenario has been unjustly executed. Unions are supposed to fight for their members but I believe they should only do so when there is a procedural injustice. If a player obviously violated the rules that the rest of their membership abide by, why should the many be sacrificed for the few? They shouldn’t. Fighting everything lessens the impact of those issues that are truly important but the egos of the leadership won’t allow for rational long term thought processes.

  68. Arrests and convictions are down significantly on Goodell watch. On Taglibue’s watch the Bengals had something like seven or eight arrested in a year. Those days are gone. The players get the message. If you walk outside the law Goodell drops the hammer on you. He will take it to the Supreme Court if necessary to try and stop guys from breaking the rules or breaking the law and it is working. Not a popular guy as a result, but he isn’t paid to be popular.

  69. This was the only avenue the union had.
    ” Sanctity of the collective bargainimg agreement” is a long held precedent when deciding labor disputes. You already agreed to the power that your agreement gives to tje commissoner. The only issue that you can appealing is that his decision went beyond the scope of what could resonably be expected from that power. A lifetime ban would exceed that standard. 4 games does not. Case closed.
    You have the right to remain silent, use it.

  70. The simple fact is that the NFLPA had their chance at the negotiating table to curtail the commish’s disciplinary power, but instead chose to chase the money. Now they want the courts to give them back what they have already given up legally in the CBA. People negotiate away their rights every day signing non-complete clauses, non-disclosure agreements, pre-nups, etc. Most people choose to live by their agreements and don’t run to court to get back rights they’ve already given up. Obviously, De Smith is not most people.

  71. what he misses is that Brady’s suspension isn’t over him cheating, it’s for him not cooperating during the investigation and destroying evidence and the commish despite if we like him or not does have the authority to institute punishment in the league.

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