Saints' Player Suspensions Underscore Power of Roger Goodell
By: The Football Girl | Posted: May 02, 2012
Today’s long-awaited announcement of the Saints’ player suspensions involving Bountygate sent a shockwave throughout the NFL zeitgeist. Four players – Scott Fujita, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Jonathan Vilma – received suspensions of varying lengths, but it was Vilma’s yearlong suspension that caused the most outrage. It also underscored an undeniable truth of the NFL: Roger Goodell is the all-mighty and powerful one.
As NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora pointed out earlier, one of the biggest regrets of the NFLPA in negotiating the new CBA was not limiting the power of the Commissioner when it comes to disciplinary action. The Commissioner’s office single-handedly hands out punishments, and also acts as the arbiter for appeals. I don’t have that much control over my half of the closet, let alone a $9 billion business.
At an NFLPA event last winter, I asked DeMaurice Smith just how much input he had when it comes to player fines and suspensions. Smith indicated he had Goodell’s ear and some say. But considering the NFLPA put out a statement today angered they had seen no evidence in advance of today’s suspensions, Smith’s response was probably a stretch.
The CBA does not expire for another nine years. Roger Goodell’s contract has already been extended through March 2019. His term is longer than that of a senator, a U.S. President and pretty much any job other than a Supreme Curt justice, which is a lifetime appointment.
Brace yourself NFL, the Era of Roger Goodell and unilateral rule has only just begun.
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