According to a Monday report by Mark Maske of The Washington Post, the NFL and the players’ union are debating the future role Commissioner Roger Goodell should have in the player discipline process.
According to Maske, the league is willing to revise Goodell’s role in player discipline rulings and limit it to appeals only.
“We are prepared, as we have previously advised, to discuss modifying Article 46 [of the sport’s collective bargaining agreement] to provide that the initial disciplinary decision would be made by someone other than the Commissioner or his designee,” Jeff Pash, the league’s chief counsel, wrote in a letter Sunday to the NFL Players Association, according to Maske. “We would be prepared to consult with the NFLPA on the identity of such a disciplinary officer. Any appeal would continue to be to the Commissioner or his designee, as currently provided for in Article 46.”
This is indeed big news and it’s a result of the fallout stemming from the cases this season that involved Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy. Because of that aftermath, the union has reportedly expressed the need to have appeals of player disciplinary decisions heard and resolved by a neutral arbitrator.
Currently, Goodell serves as the judge, jury and executioner for the most part and it’s indeed time for some of his power to be stripped. If Goodell is not going to be removed and replaced by the owners, at least this is a step in the right direction.