Why doesn’t the NFL use a Disciplinary Officer for owner misconduct?

NFL: AUG 25 Preseason - Chiefs at Bears
Getty Images

In an effort to inject some degree of independence to the procedure for discipling players, the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed in 2020 to appoint a Disciplinary Officer. (The independence is limited, however, by the fact that the Commissioner retains final say over any appeal.)

As it relates to non-players, there is no such independence.

Although players benefit from the involvement of someone other than the league office, given the past propensity of the league office to hammer players, certain non-players — specifically owners — may actually benefit from the ability of the league to make all decisions in house regarding whether and to what extent owners will be punished for off-field misconduct.

Playmakers contains a full section regarding owners, and there have been multiple instances of owners who arguably should have experienced stronger consequences for off-field misbehavior, especially in comparison to the manner in which players are treated. Making those outcomes even more confusing is the fact that, as plainly stated in the Personal Conduct Policy, “ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline when violations of the Personal Conduct Policy occur.”

Traditionally, owners haven’t been. Thus, maybe independence is needed both to protect players from league-office overreach — and to ensure that, when it comes to those who hire and pay the Commissioner, there won’t be league-office under reach.

It’s a fair point, one that needs to be properly addressed. Chances are it never will be, even though it should be.

8 responses to “Why doesn’t the NFL use a Disciplinary Officer for owner misconduct?

  1. Yeah. Let me see if I can convince the owners to take up a vote on that one. What kind of odds are you giving me?

  2. Seems pretty obvious. You don’t become a multi-billionaire without some kind of shady things in your past, present and future. Owners don’t want to come down hard on owners because they all have things to hide. Better to just let the status quo be, collect the dough, and say nothing.

  3. The man who writes the check can get away with more and not get fired than the man who receives said check. Its the way of the world……

  4. We have no idea who the commissioner consults for these things. As far as we know he talks to several people and advisors about this and comes to a final decision.

  5. Absolutely…you can not discipline DeShaun Jackson and not discipline Robert Kraft. Period

  6. Absolutely…you can not discipline DeSean Watson and not discipline Robert Kraft. Period

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.