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NFLPA Response To Saints' Player Suspensions Could Challenge Goodell's Authority
Published May 4, 2012
POWER STRUGGLE: In Pittsburgh, Ron Cook writes one thing just about “everybody in the NFLPA agrees on is that Goodell has too much power with league discipline.” Cook: “Here's the thing, though: The players allowed Goodell to keep his power when they did the new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL last summer. Only the Steelers can complain about him without being hypocritical. They were the only team to vote against the CBA, in large part because the players felt Goodell had too much say, not just in handing out discipline, but in the appeal process” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 5/4). ESPN.com’s Andrew Brandt wrote the relationship between the league and the NFLPA “is still fractured.” The “lack of coordination and communication between the two sides here is a microcosm of the mistrust that did not subside with the new CBA and has continued through the HGH testing issue as well.” Goodell’s power “appears to be stronger than ever regarding player conduct.” The NFLPA had “ample opportunity to address the fact that the commissioner had power to act as both judge and jury about such discipline” (ESPN.com, 5/3). YAHOO SPORTS’ Michael Silver writes, “Unless and until the NFL produces unassailable evidence that these men actively participated in a pay-for-injure operation that caused tangible consequences to Saints opponents … I'll be somewhat skeptical about the depth of their involvement.” Saints LB Scott Shanle on Wednesday said, “If you have actual evidence of money changing hands and guys actually getting injured -- if that exists -- then all the suspensions are justified." He added, "I think they have nothing to show. If you have evidence to show, at this point, wouldn't you show it? I don't think they have anything" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/4).