NFL

NFL AM: League Nears Deal To Remove Goodell’s Disciplinary Powers

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NFL and NFLPA working on deal to remove Roger Goodell disciplinary powers:

The National Football League and the NFLPA are closing in on a deal that would remove commissioner Roger Goodell from his role as judge, jury and executioner when it comes to player discipline.

While the league and NFLPA might be close to a deal, the Wall Street Journal reports that there are still obstacles that could cause the deal to fall apart.

It shouldn’t.

First of all, it’s the league’s proposal, and the NFLPA can’t waste an opportunity to get Goodell out of power when it’s the league’s idea. While they may not agree with all of the terms of the league’s initial proposed deal, it would be absolute insanity for the players to walk away from a deal which would see them get their way in a situation that has been perhaps their biggest gripe.

The players don’t want Roger Goodell in charge of handing out discipline, and they could actually get their way in a proposal handed down by the league. You just can’t screw that up.

“We looked at the league’s proposal for neutral arbitration. There is a common ground for us to get something done,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told the Wall Street Journal.

This is a no-brainer for the league as well. From Goodell to any of his underlings, the ability for the commissioner to be able to levy suspensions and make sure they stick isn’t important enough to let it continue to create the divide it has between its players and the commissioner.

Goodell’s decisions on discipline have created contentious situations between the league and the NFLPA for years now, and a common ground on the issue could go a long way in repairing the commissioner’s relationship with the players.

According to the report, the Commissioner would be replaced by a three-member panel including lawyers and judges with a background in football.

For those of us on the outside of the game looking in, an agreement would have almost no effect on us with the exception of hearing people complain about Goodell being judge, jury and executioner, and that’s a good thing for sure!

NFL finally admits link between football and CTE:

Monday the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy & Commerce held a round table discussion on concussions as part of an attempt to understand their impacts on combat veterans.

NFL executive vice president of health and safety policy Jeff Miller was part of the discussion where he and director of the neuropathology core at Boston University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center Ann McKee were asked if there was a link between football and CTE.

Miller responded in a way no NFL official ever had. He admitted the truth.

“The answer to that question is certainly yes,” Miller told Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) who asked the pair, adding that he believes that there are “a number of questions that come with that.”

Of course, the questions Miller is likely referring to revolve around the NFL’s culpability in players’ brain injuries. Clearly NFL players’ football careers don’t begin in the NFL, and the injuries sustained by repeated blows to the head likely didn’t begin there either.

The NFL would certainly like to show that they are not the sole reason for the injuries, and that they shouldn’t be fully responsible for the injuries either.

Miller’s comments are a step in the right direction. The league needs to acknowledge this issue, and it needs to hit it head on instead of tip-toeing around it. The reality is that the issue is there, and ignoring it will only hurt the game further.

Yes, there will be a response from those who will say this is proof football needs to go away. Those people are idiots.

NFL football is a very violent and dangerous game, but there isn’t a groundswell of people trying to suggest that boxing should be abolished. Certainly many more men play football, and many more children grow up playing football, but that doesn’t change the fact that boxers are probably every bit as likely to sustain brain injuries than football players. Yea, there’s probably a study on that too, but let’s just assume it’s pretty inaccurate anyhow.

Yes, men who decide to play NFL football will put their lives at risk by the repeated bashing their heads take inside of a football helmet, but it’s just one of many dangerous professions.

If people want to suggest that football should go away because it’s a dangerous game, they should look around at other dangerous professions as well. Where is the line? When is a job important enough to let a man risk his life to do it?

There have been reality shows created around crabbing ships where the job is so dangerous that someone dies on a fairly regular basis. However, men still take those jobs because the money is really, really good. However, the money isn’t NFL player good. The risk is much greater for these crabbers (is that what you call them?) than it is for NFL players, yet there aren’t groups screaming to shut down the crab industry.

Why?

Are crabs really delicious enough for us to send men to their impending death so we can eat them? Is coal important enough to send men into caves to guarantee them future respiratory problems?

Dangerous jobs are anywhere, yet for some reason people have singled out football as if the game is the only profession where men could be putting their lives at risk. The reality is that there are many jobs as dangerous as playing NFL football, but there probably isn’t another that can allow a young man to set up his family for generations or enjoy many of the other perks of being a professional athlete.

Yes, playing NFL football is very dangerous, but suggesting the game shouldn’t be played anymore, and that guys shouldn’t have the opportunity to make that decision are absolutely absurd. It’s important that we know the truth about the link between football and CTE, but if you believe those links are proof that football should go away, you should probably get off your high horse already.

BJ Raji to take hiatus from football:

Free agent defensive tackle BJ Raji was one of the more recognizable defensive tackles in football. Was, because Monday Raji announced he’s walking away from football, for now.

The now-former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle made the decision in part, because of his mother and aunt are dealing with serious health issues. Monday, Raji spoke to The Green Bay Press Gazette, and explained how they affected his decision.

“Their situation escalated horribly (after the season),” Raji said. “That got me thinking, talking to my aunt who’s literally fighting for her life with breast cancer.”

Raji went on to talk about how a conversation with his aunt really changed his prospective and provided a “shift” in his thinking which led him to the decision.

“When you’re on your death bed, you’re not going to wish that you worked more,” Raji remembered his aunt telling him. “You’re not going to wish that you made more money. You’re going to wish that you followed your heart, and that you lived and experienced the things you wanted to experience.”

Whether it was the inspiration he received from his ailing family members, or a desire to be there for them, or a combination of the pair, it’s clear that this wasn’t a decision Raji took lightly. As he said in his statement, it’s also not a final decision, because while Raji says he won’t play in 2016, he wouldn’t rule out a return to the game either.

“I am taking a hiatus from the NFL and will not play during the 2016 NFL season,” Raji said. “This decision was made after hours of conversation with close family members and mentors and considerable self-introspection and is one in which I am absolutely certain. I cannot rule out a return to the NFL in the future, but I will definitely not be playing during the 2016 season.”


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.