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Volume 27 No. 7
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NFL Owners: Player Discipline, Marijuana Fair Game In CBA Talks

Many NFL owners are "still willing to reduce" NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's "authority in player discipline and to make concessions to the players' union on the sport's marijuana policy as part of a push for an agreement on a new labor deal by March," according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. Sources said that the "level of support for such concessions to the players in the labor negotiations was characterized as strong." It is "not clear if such concessions would lead" the NFLPA to "agree to other changes, such as the owners' push for a 17-game regular season or the overall division of revenue between the two sides under the salary cap system." Sources said that a "large number" of owners "remain willing to allow players' appeals of discipline for off-field misbehavior to be resolved by a neutral arbitrator." Goodell would "retain the authority to resolve appeals of discipline related to integrity-of-the-game issues." However, it is "not clear ... how important the discipline issue is to the players' side in the CBA negotiations." In previous sets of labor negotiations, that issue has "not been enough of a priority to lead the union to make significant concessions in other areas." It also is "not clear how meaningful any concessions on the marijuana policy would be at the bargaining table." Sources said that the owners are "willing to make that policy less punitive" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/19).

BREAKING IT DOWN: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio wrote a 17th game "provides another opportunity to inject more parity into the schedule." With every team already playing all four teams from one division in the other conference, the 17th game "would involve a team from one of the other three divisions in the other conference, based on where the teams finished in those divisions in the prior year." With a 17-game schedule "allowing teams to play eight true home games, eight true road games, and one neutral-site game, that 17th game that breaks from the current formula also should be the neutral-site game" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 10/19).