Posted on August 4, 2016, by Travis Pulver
If the players in the NFL ever want to get out from under the thumb of commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFLPA is going to have to go to bat for them the next time the collective bargaining agreement is up for negotiation. Recent history has proven that the players can’t count on the legal system for any help.
It certainly didn’t help them during the Tom Brady-Deflategate fiasco, and now it appears that the NFLPA has lost in court yet again. A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the NFL in regards to Adrian Peterson’s suspension (ESPN).
Yes—Adrian Peterson. The mess that was created when the world found out he took a switch to his son’s rear end is still being talked about. Yes, his suspension is over, and he played last season–but the case wasn’t done till now.
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According to their decision, Roger Goodell was completely within the scope of his authority when he suspended Peterson indefinitely and fined him a sum equivalent to six game checks in 2014. The NFLPA had argued that Peterson should not be subject to the league personal conduct policy since the act he was being punished for occurred before the policy was in place. They thought “arbitrator Harold Henderson’s decision was biased, unfair and contrary to the collective bargaining agreement.”
U.S. District Judge David Doty agreed with the NFLPA and tossed out Henderson’s decision.
Many media sources are reporting that the decision bolsters Goodell’s authority, but it doesn’t speak to anything about Goodell. The panel didn’t necessarily rule on whether Goodell acted within the scope of his authority, but that since the two parties had agreed to abide by the arbitrator’s decision, it was binding (USAToday).
So the problem, while Goodell is the face of it, does not lie with him but with the procedures the union agreed to during the last collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
The question many have now is whether this will affect Peterson and the Vikings at all. As far as the team is concerned, it means nothing. Peterson, however, will owe the NFL a little money.
While this decision gives the media and bloggers something else to talk about other than who dropped a pass in practice or strained a brain cell in a meeting, it doesn’t have any bearing on the coming season. It should, however, tell the NFLPA a lot.
The players essentially gave Goodell way too much power in the last CBA. When it was approved, the season was drawing near making it a now or never type of scenario. If they didn’t agree to something soon, the league and players were going to lose money. As a result, the players conceded way too much control and power to the Goodell and the owners.
If they are going to get any of it back without having to take a smaller cut of league revenue, they may have to risk losing some game checks.