Goodell may be stripped of player discipline power (it’s about time)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media during a news conference Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media during a news conference Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has held onto his job this long because he makes a lot of money for his bosses, the NFL’s 32 owners. But there are a number of tasks he has failed miserably at, one being player discipline, and that part of his job description may soon be taken away from him.

The NFL and NFLPA are moving toward an agreement that would effectively strip Goodell of all off-field discipline decisions, players union executive director DeMaurice Smith told the Wall Street Journal (subscription). It would be an astounding reduction in power for Goodell, who has alienated players with arbitrary decisions on discipline and has botched several high-profile cases, notably the Ray Rice domestic violence incident. He also took liberties in the Tom Brady/”Deflategate” saga, which is still being appealed.

Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s vice president of communications, acknowledged the league’s negotiations with the NFLPA, telling the Wall Street Journal, discipline “is an important area that deserves to be addressed thoughtfully and with full consideration for everyone’s interests — players, clubs and fans.”

Smith told the WSJ, “We’ve been talking about changes to the personal conduct policy since October and have traded proposals. We looked at the league’s proposal for neutral arbitration. There is a common ground for us to get something done.”

A union proposal calls for three neutral arbitrators serving as discipline hearing officers.

There’s only one reason Goodell still has a job: He has helped negotiated television deals worth several billion dollars. Most recently, CBS and NBC agreed to pay $450 million per year combined for Thursday night games alone. But these deals and other issues come in the face of player safety issues.

Goodell and NFL officials will tell you they’re concerned about head injuries but they schedule weekly Thursday games even though the majority of players and medical experts on injuries and concussions say players don’t have enough time for their bodies to recover to play mid-week games.

Most recently, Goodell stepped in it during his state-of-the-league address when he fielded a question about shortening careers and an increasing number of parents keeping their kids from playing football.

“There’s risk in life. There’s risk in sitting on the couch,” Goodell responded.

And jaws dropped.

Goodell has been a divisive figure for too long. If he is stripped of his power, it could be the beginning of the end for him. Because if the question is, “Would the NFL be better off with a new commission?” the answer seems pretty obvious.

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13 comments
NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

It would be interesting to see a comparison of the sports media's Goodell takes in the year 2016 compared to their Goodell takes from when he first came to power as the so-called "law and order" commissioner handing down season long suspensions to Michael Vick and Pacman Jones. I seem to recall many of y'all describing him in much more positive terms back then, even though he was every bit the overreaching authoritarian empty suit 10 years ago as he is now. 


And it takes very little specialized skill to negotiate billion dollar TV contracts for a league whose popularity has skyrocketed mainly because of fantasy football and gambling, which the NFL played little to no part in establishing. 

HotDawg
HotDawg

NajehDavenpoop....

How many billion dollar contracts have you negotiated?

You're a LOSER.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Goodell is the best. Makes more money for owners and in turn the players.

Put the criminal athletes in prison and cleanse the League.

Edgar
Edgar

When did I finally just get enough of Roger Goodell? When they found the books were short, turned them over to forensic accountants and the teams were 1.5 M short on cap money. Where was that money going? Into the owners pockets. The folks in St. Louis just lost a team and for the most part the league could have moved one team from Jacksonville to LA and helped the city of Oakland build a new stadium. Hell, they rebuilt the Superdome in New Orleans. They can do the same in Oakland. St. Louis had a proposal for a new stadium but but the team owner wanted it back in LA. San Diego held out as long as they could but finally gave in. Now they have a proposal for a new stadium.

Now, back to discipline for the players. The proposal for 3 neutral abitrators should easily be acceptable to the owners and the players. That's a win/win and it keeps stupid crap like deflated footballs out of the courts. Thursday night games should be played, period. Work it out in the schedule to skip two weekends for a bye week. But maybe that's too simple.

But the first and before any of those items get worked out is the owners need to fire Roger Goodell. then get to work on the stuff that needs to bring this game back to fans. When Paul Tagliabue's name was on the football.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Commissioner works for the owners, not the players. Who hires him? Owners, you DumbA--.

GT71
GT71

Schultz: A tragedy in ink.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Yeah....that bad man should let all the entitlement babies do what they want.

No repercussions for bad behavior at any company. It's cruel to discipline. Sets a bad tone for good behavior.

Nah, most should be in the criminal justice system instead.

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

@HotDawg No bigger entitlement babies than the billionaire owners, half of whom accrue their fortune via inheritance, and yet go begging for taxpayer dollars to build their stadiums. At least the players work for their money.

JSSN
JSSN

@NajehDavenpoop

What is sad is that someone throws a term like "entitlement" not realizing that it means literally that you've "earned" the privilege to a resource! You have it right, on the other hand, that blowhard doesn't even understand that the owners are enabling a sorry COO.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

I hate Goodell so much I buy old footballs on eBay so they don't have his signature. And I'm not alone. There was a piece on Amari Cooper and Derek Carr of the Raiders before a game last season and the whole time they had old balls with Tagliabue's signature.