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NFL Discipline Policy Challenged

nfl1Sports attorney David Cornwell is attempting to change the way the NFL hands down discipline to NFL players who breach the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The NFL, unlike the NBA or MLB has a system in place in which discipline handed down by the commissioner may not be challenged.  Cornwell is arguing that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s rulings should be able to be appealed to an outside arbitrator who will make a binding ruling.  Any new discipline policies must be included in the new CBA as the NFL has opted out of the current CBA agreement which expires at the end of the 2010 season.

NFL players would definitely benefit from having a new system in place in which they could appeal commissioner rulings.  The hard part will be trying to get the NFL to agree to the changes so that they can be included in the new NFL CBA.  For the new policy to be included in the new CBA the NFL Players Association will have to make some concessions and it should be noted that if an agreement is not reached by the end of the 2009 season, then the 2010 season will have no salary cap.  This means that owners would be free to overspend on players and NFL athletes would be the beneficiaries.  It would be most beneficial to the players association to hold out until the end of the 2010 season to reach an agreement on a new NFL CBA.  However the NFLPA could use the new disciplinary policy as a bargaining chip to getting a deal done before the end of 2009.  For instance they could say in exchange for us agreeing to a new CBA early, you have to include a new disciplinary policy.

I would look to see this policy being implemented in the new CBA in 2011 since the players association has a big incentive not to come to terms until after the 2010 season is finished due to the lack of a salary cap.


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