Officials from the NFL and the NFLPA are closer to deal which would strip commissioner Roger Goodell of his power regarding off-the-field player discipline.
The Wall Street Journal reports a deal hasn’t yet been reached and won’t be for some time as there’s still many hurdles to overcome, but NFLPA executive director DeMaruice Smith said there’s common ground for a deal to be struck.
“We’ve been talking about changes to the personal conduct policy since October and have traded proposals,” said Smith, as he traveled to the Players Association’s annual meetings in Hawaii. “We looked at the league’s proposal for neutral arbitration. There is a common ground for us to get something done.”
Goodell has been widely criticized for his punishments in regards to DeflateGate, SpyGate and the domestic violence among many other suspensions. Goodell has given uneven, inconsistent suspensions and faced public scrutiny for being too soft on some issues such as Ray Rice’s inital suspension, and being too heavy-handed and personally involved in others, such as DeflateGate.
Brian McCarthy, spokesperson for the NFL said they are addressing the subject seriously and will continue to have discussion with the union until a decision is made.
WSJ reports a potential solution suggested would be having three neutral arbitrators serve as hearing officers. Those arbritators would be lawyers or former judges who have some background in football – although it hasn’t yet been decided how they would be selected. The concept still has some work, but a neutral path sounds like the best process for both the NFL and its players.