Sporting News — The NFL Players Association has long fought with the NFL over how commissioner Roger Goodell oversees league discipline.
That may no longer be an issue.
The NFL and NFLPA are working toward a deal that would strip Goodell of his authority over off-the-field player discipline.
“We’ve been talking about changes to the personal conduct policy since October and have traded proposals,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Monday. …
Goodell has come under fire over the past several years with his disciplinary decisions in high-profile cases involving Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, which have either been overturned by a federal judge or reduced by an arbitrator.
Goodell said in September that he was willing to change his role in the league’s punishment process. …
He called the process extremely time-consuming last fall and said removing himself from the process could allow him to focus on other league issues.
So Roger Goodell is willing to talk to the NFLPA about giving up his power to be judge, jury and executioner? How gracious of him. How magnanimous. Of course, it’s not because he’s terrible at it. It has nothing to do with the fact that he’s bungled every case he’s been handed, treats felonies like misdemeanors and minor infractions like capital crimes. This isn’t about how he’s cost his bosses tens of millions of dollars on matters of right and wrong a preschooler could grasp. Or how he gets his ass handed to him every time one of his screw-ups goes before a judge. No, this is all about how little time all this punishing leaves him for the really important issues. Like counting money and adding Thursday night games while pretending to be concerned about brain trauma.
But still, this is a step forward on the slow, agonizing road to true justice in the NFL. Because you’d have to think that any kind of a deal on this issue would involve exoneration for Tom Brady. It’s only logical. You can’t negotiate away a despot’s power to trample the basic rights of others while leaving those others’ basic rights trampled, can you? Otherwise, what’s the point.
This is 1215 all over again. The barons of England are sick of King John pushing them around and taxing them back to the 1100s so they’re dragging him kicking and screaming to sign the Magna Carta. They’re going to strip away his absolute power and make Roger I have to do business with a parliament. They’ll be the ones to decide if being at least generally aware that it’s more probable than not someone let air out of some footballs in a bathroom is a far worse crime than cold-cocking your wife in an elevator, not this weak, ineffectual monarch with no moral compass. And this time, there won’t be a Pope Innocent III around to tear up the agreement and start a war.
Granted, the players were beyond stupid to allow Goodell that power in the first place. So it was inevitable that he would abuse it, and he has. At least they’re finally getting around to doing something about it.