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Friday, July 10, 2020

Report: NFL, NFLPA working on deal to modify Roger Goodell’s disciplinary role

Roger Goodell

The NFL and NFLPA are making slow progress on a deal that would redefine commissioner Roger Goodell’s role in player discipline.

According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the league and the union are making “slow progress” toward a deal that would revise the disciplinary system and likely amend Goodell’s role in it. No deal is close, a source cautioned, but the expectation is that the two sides will eventually strike some sort of agreement. There is also no word on what Goodell’s revised role would be.

Goodell currently acts, essentially, as judge, jury, and executioner on matters of player discipline, as the league’s personal conduct policy makes Goodell or a Goodell appointee the sole authority on appeals. The NFLPA has railed against this, desiring a neutral arbitrator to hear such appeals. Goodell has been opposed to anything that would compromise this authority.

There were three major instances where Goodell flexed his muscle via this system: Tom Brady in Deflategate, Adrian Peterson for child abuse, and Ray Rice for domestic violence. In the case of Peterson, his season-long suspension in 2014 was upheld by a Goodell-appointed arbitrator, much to the chagrin of the NFLPA. Rice was ultimately reinstated on appeal thanks to the ruling of a neutral former federal judge, and Brady’s suspension was overturned in court and is currently the subject of an appeal by the league, so every time Goodell’s authority has been taken out of his hands, he’s lost. It’s only fair that a neutral party and not Goodell or one of his cronies hear these appeals, so we’ll see where this leads.

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