NFL seems to be more willing than ever to strike deals over Personal Conduct Policy suspensions

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The NFL finally has figured out how to keep off-field distractions from becoming even bigger off-field distractions.

After several years of unnecessarily picking fights that became protracted legal battles (most recently with Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott), the NFL has realized that the best approach to player suspensions is to obtain an agreement from the get-go that the player will accept the punishment without any appeal. That’s what happened with Jameis Winston last year, and that’s most likely what happened with Kareem Hunt today.

Although it’s technically possible that Hunt would have accepted whatever punishment was imposed on him because he was videotaped committing acts of violence against a woman last February in Cleveland, the nothing-to-lose quality of the internal appeal process makes it sensible for any player who is suspended to roll the dice on getting a better deal after the Commissioner’s designee reconsiders the Commissioner’s decision.

So instead of, for example, suspending a guy like Browns running back Kareem Hunt 10 or 12 games and then creating the appearance of lenience or compassion by reducing it to eight on appeal, the NFL likely decided to offer a deal to Hunt: Accept an eight-game suspension, agree not to appeal, and then everyone avoids multiple stories about the inevitable flaws and inequities of the NFL’s investigative and decision-making processes.

It’s smart. It’s long overdue. And it’s likely a technique the NFL will continue to employ with similar cases in the future.

10 responses to “NFL seems to be more willing than ever to strike deals over Personal Conduct Policy suspensions

  1. Sounds a lot cleaner.
    I wonder which underling the decision-makers listened to on this one, as they deserve the credit.

  2. Yeah, so what’s in it for – in this case – Hunt?

    Why is he motivated to help the NFL “avoids multiple stories about the inevitable flaws and inequities of the NFL’s investigative and decision-making processes.”

    There’s gotta be more to it than that.

  3. Permanent bans on players who beat up women are not being considered. Why is that? Why doesn’t the Commissioner say, “You have forfeited your right to play in the NFL?” Yes, the CBA imposes some limits, but even if a lifetime ban isn’t upheld, it shows the league is actually serious.

  4. Matt Bille says:
    March 15, 2019 at 12:01 pm
    Permanent bans on players who beat up women are not being considered. Why is that? Why doesn’t the Commissioner say, “You have forfeited your right to play in the NFL?” Yes, the CBA imposes some limits, but even if a lifetime ban isn’t upheld, it shows the league is actually serious.

    ———
    I agree. Playing in the NFL is a privilege not a right. If a player is confirmed to have assaulted a woman or anyone in anything other than self-defense he should lose the privilege of playing in the NFL. It’s not all that much to ask.

  5. That works great until the player didn’t actually do what the league thinks they did, and the league has no proof to support their position, a la Elliot. Hunt had no leverage, so why would he fight it?

  6. Wrote awhile back in here Hunt would get an 8-10 game suspension. These suspensions would be more palatable if along with the obligatory apology, the player would pledge to donate 10% of his year’s salary to organizations that help the victims.

  7. I can’t wait for this to backfire. Either you enforce rules or you eliminate them. Misdemeanor offenses should be handled differently than felony ones – even on the accusation level – felony situations should be immediate suspension with pay until the process is over or the current player contract runs out – whichever comes first.

    There should be no exceptions. Period. The line of the decision is whether the offense is of misdemeanor or felony level. Period.

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