Roger Goodell slapped down some pretty serious suspensions on the players involved in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. The penalties ranged from an entire year for Jonathan Vilma to three games for Scott Fujita, with other numbers and player names sprinkled in between. NFL players as a whole were none to pleased about the suspensions, and, in response, the NFLPA has filed two separate grievances challenging Roger Goodell’s authority to hand down these types of penalties.
In the first, filed with arbitrator Shyam Das, the NFLPA argues that Goodell is prohibited from punishing players for any conduct prior to Aug. 4, when the current collective bargaining agreement took effect.
“In connection with entering into the 2011 CBA, the NFL released all players from conduct engaged in prior to the execution of the CBA, on August 4, 2011,” the grievance says.
The NFLPA further argues that even if that argument fails, the appeal of the player suspensions should be heard by Ted Cottrell and Art Shell, the hearing officers for on-field conduct violations, rather than by Goodell as an off-field conduct issue.
In the second grievance, the NFLPA argues that arbitrator Stephen Burbank, who serves as the “system arbitrator” for the league and its players’ union, has the authority to rule on the players’ conduct, rather than Goodell. [ESPN]
[Roger Goodell is sitting in his office at NFL headquarters. His desk is three times the size of a normal desk, and is covered with voodoo dolls of his adversaries, both real and perceived. The room is dark, and Goodell is sitting perfectly still, waiting. A representative from the NFLPA enters.]
NFLPA Representative: Hi, Mr. Goodell. Just dropping off that paperwork we told you abou-
Roger Goodell: [erupting] FOUR GAMES!
NFLPA Representative: Uh, what?
Roger Goodell: YOU’RE SUSPENDED FOR FOUR GAMES!
NFLPA Representative: But, I … I don’t play football. I’m just a repre-
Roger Goodell: SIX GAMES AND A $50,000 FINE.
NFLPA Representative: [terrified] I … I don’t have $50,000, Mr. Goodell. I’m a first-year associate with the Players Associa-
Roger Goodell: EIGHT GAMES AND $75,000.
NFLPA Representative: Mr. Goode-
Roger Goodell: COMMISSIONER GOODELL.
NFLPA Representative: I’m sorry, Commissioner Goode-
Roger Goodell: ONE YEAR SUSPENSION. $300,000 fine.
NFLPA Representative: [urinating in dress pants] I … I have student loans, sir. My parents did all they could, but between college and law school, I’m ov-
Roger Goodell: [narrows eyes]
NFLPA Representative: NO PLEASE LET ME FINISH. Between college and law school, I’m over $180,000 in debt. I can’t afford a $300,000 fine.
Roger Goodell: GIVE ME YOUR SHIRT.
NFLPA Representative: What?
Roger Goodell: GIVE ME YOUR SHIRT.
NFLPA Representative: But … but … you have a shirt. You have lots of shirts.
Roger Goodell: FIVE YEAR SUSPENSION, $4,000,0-
NFLPA Representative: [hurriedly removing shirt] OK OK, here you go.
Roger Goodell: THANK YOU. LEAVE.
NFLPA Representative: [shirtless and confused] Where should I leave the paperw-
Roger Goodell: TEN YEAR SUSPENSION. TENFINITY DOLLAR FINE.
NFLPA Representative: Tenfinity isn’t even a numb-
Roger Goodell: TWELVEFINITY.
NFLPA Representative: [grabs paperwork, runs out of room]
Roger Goodell: [pushes intercom] HELEN, SEND IN A TIGER. I WANT TO FIGHT SOMETHING.
Helen: A tiger? Where am I supposed to find a ti-
Roger Goodell: FOUR GAME SUSPENSION!
I want more like this!
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