SBD/Issue 50/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NFL Forms Player Advisory Forum For Players To Discuss Issues

Dungy Will Be Special Advisor To
Goodell As Part Of New Forum
The NFL has formed a Player Advisory Forum spearheaded by NBC's Tony Dungy and designed to "include players' opinions and perspectives" on various issues, according to Steve Wyche of NFL.com. Dungy's title will be Special Advisor to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Broncos S Brian Dawkins, Ravens LB Ray Lewis and Cardinals QB Kurt Warner have been "enlisted to help arrange and execute meetings" for the Forum, which grew from the Player Advisory Council that Goodell and the NFLPA implemented in '06 (NFL.com, 11/19). Goodell in a taped segment on NFL Network prior to Thursday night's Dolphins-Panthers game said the top thing the league wants to get from the Forum is "input from our players on what's going on in their lives and what they feel about the game and what they feel about issues on and off the field." Goodell: "That's incredibly valuable to me as I go through thinking about different issues that we have to deal with at the league level." Goodell added, "We don't want to just hear, 'Everything's going great.' We want to hear from the players on what's not going well, what we need to work on, what we can improve on, how we can do things better. And the players are very vocal and they have always given me great input. ... We want them to set the agenda to a large extent and Tony will help shape that with the players. Then I'll be able to hear their feedback and we'll be able to take that." Goodell said he hopes to hold the first meeting by mid-December, and they likely will take place on Tuesdays "when it's the players' off day, and we'll come to the players." Goodell: "We'll probably do it someplace in the Baltimore-Washington area where we can get three, four or five teams that can conveniently get there. We want to make it convenient for the players since they’re taking their personal time to participate." Goodell added he mentioned the Forum to NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith and "asked if he wanted to participate and I would welcome that." Goodell: "We'd be glad to have him sit in, either De himself or his representative" ("Thursday Night Kickoff," NFL Network, 11/19).

CHANGING DIRECTION: In N.Y., Alan Schwarz reports the NFLPA is "calling for the removal of Dr. Ira Casson as co-chairman of the league's committee on concussions, saying that he is too biased to lead the research and policy group." NFLPA Assistant Exec Dir of External Affairs George Atallah: "Our view is that he's a polarizing figure on this issue, and the players certainly don't feel like he can be an impartial party on this subject." Schwarz notes as the issue of the "long-term effects of football brain injuries has risen in prominence, Casson has dismissed every outside study finding links to dementia and other cognitive decline" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/20).

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