SBD/December 12, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Workplace Rules Could See Changes As A Result Of Dolphins Investigation

NFLers should "expect rule changes next year regarding behavior in locker rooms and with teammates in the wake of reports of bullying" in the Dolphins locker room, according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. As special investigator Ted Wells compiles his report on the team's locker room conditions, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league also is "looking at the workplace environment and what changes should be necessary." Goodell: "We’ll be reaching out to players, to clubs, to evaluate them in the next several months. So we anticipate there will be changes in that for next season.” Goodell yesterday said that he did "not expect a report from Wells for at least several more weeks, casting doubt that it would be ready before the end of the year." Goodell said that Wells "had not given him a timeline and had not been asked for one" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/12).

CAP GAMES: USA TODAY's Tom Pelissero cited a source as saying that teams were "informed at the NFL meetings this week the projected salary cap" for '14 is $126.3M. The source said that the number "won't be finalized until late February or early March." If it stands, the $126.3M cap would "represent a 2.68% increase" over the $123M unadjusted cap in '13, but still down from $127.997M in '09, the "last capped year" under the old CBA. But critics of that deal "believe the cap should be rising at a faster rate, given the league's unprecedented popularity and revenue" (USA TODAY, 12/12).

GOING UNDER THE HOOD: Goodell yesterday addressed the idea of the NFL centralizing its replay system and said, "We're going to look at everything. Our No. 1 focus is to make sure we're providing the best officiating. We always think we can improve. Consistency is important, and by bringing it into the league office on Sundays and having one person actually making that decision, you can make an argument there's consistency. This is something that the Competition Committee people will be studying. It's something we discussed with the membership today and they'll come back with a report and we'll make an adjustment from there" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 12/11). ESPN.com's Todd Archer noted any change would "have to be agreed upon by the teams and could be brought up for discussion at the NFL owners meetings in the spring" (ESPN.com, 12/11).

NOT A FAN OF THE COMMISH: Last night's edition of "Jim Rome on Showtime" featured the host moderating a panel discussion about Goodell, and Rome began by saying, “Roger Goodell, always a figure that we’re going to talk about, and it’s been an interesting year in the NFL.” CBSSN's Bart Scott immediately rolled his eyes and shook his head at the mention of Goodell's name. Rome said to Scott, “You’re rolling your eyes already and I haven’t even gotten into it yet.” Rome continued, “He’s never been more powerful. He’s gone to great lengths to make that game safer, he settled the concussion lawsuit. Yet he continues to get pounded by the players and the fans. Bottom line: Is he hurting his sport or is he helping his sport?” Scott responded, “He’s helping the owners. I don’t think he cares about the players.” Scott said of the league’s viewpoint on concussions, “They don’t care. They look at it as a piece of meat.” He noted somebody "has to be the bad guy" and Goodell "doesn’t mind being the bad guy." Scott: "That is why the owners pay him over $20 million a year to be the bad guy, so they can look like the good guy. They don’t care.” Rome asked Scott if he knew the risk of playing football was that great, “would you do it again?” Scott responded, “No, I’d just play baseball. It’s not like I can’t play another sport, an athlete is an athlete.” He added he was going to push his kids “towards another sport” because “we’re going to go to something that you can play for 40 years” ("Jim Rome on Showtime," Showtime, 12/11).
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