NFL approves new personal conduct policy
Roger Goodell announced a new league personal conduct policy Wednesday at NFL owners meetings. The NFLPA is expected to challenge the policy.
Roger Goodell announced a new personal conduct policy at the NFL owners meetings Wednesday. The new policy will make several changes to how policy violations are handled. For example, accused players are expected to immediately be placed on paid leave after they have been charged. In addition, the policy will apply to league personnel and team owners.
The NFL Players Association has raised several objections to proposed changes in the months leading up to Wednesday’s announcement, and is expected to challenge the new policy.
The NFL has been working on a new policy since September, when Goodell announced the policy needed improvements in the wake of the Ray Rice controversy. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Goodell has sought counsel on the new policy from outside sources, including NBA commissioner Adam Silver and New York City police commissioner William Bratton.
Expected terms of the new policy, as reported by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport:
- The creation of a Special Counsel for Investigations and Conduct, a position that would handle the initial disciplinary action
- The formation of a new owners committee in charge of revising the personal conduct policy
- The NFL will no longer rely solely on police investigation in disciplinary matters, and will do its own fact finding
The NFLPA laid out its objections Tuesday, countering many of the league’s proposed changes to the personal conduct policy.
The players union advocated for punishment only in cases where players are accused or convicted of felonies, not misdemeanors, and that discipline be handed out only after the legal process has been resolved. The proposal would not punish players who win acquittals or have charges against them dropped. The union also objected to players being placed on paid leave without their consent or the consent of the NFLPA.
In August, the league increased the penalty for first-time domestic violence abusers from two games to six, a change to which the NFLPA took exception. The players’ union has butted heads with the league on a number of issues, perhaps most notably the need for neutral arbitration on disciplinary rulings.
The Rice drama, which came to a conclusion when a judge ruled that the running back had served his suspension and was immediately eligible to return to the field, was one of several high-profile personal conduct incidents that the league has come under fire for this year. Vikings star Adrian Peterson was placed on the NFL’s commissioner’s permission/exempt list in September after being indicted on child abuse charges. The league suspended Peterson after he pleaded to a misdemeanor, and the running back remains inactive pending the result of his appeal.