NFLPA, NFL at odds over new personal conduct policy
The NFL owners unanimously approved a new personal conduct policy, but the NFLPA has blasted the league for being unwilling to negotiate.
NFL owners are meeting in Dallas on Wednesday to discuss a final version of the league’s new personal conduct policy. On Wednesday morning, the Wall Street Journal released a behind-the-scenes report covering commissioner Roger Goodell’s journey to this point, telling the story from Goodell’s perspective. It’s filled with highlights about just how seriously he takes his duty to The Shield, from long nights without pizza to dutifully checking in on America’s little people who clearly benefit from the NFL and the example it makes.
The NFL turned away a proposal for thorough domestic violence training last year
A national non-profit group approached the league last year about conducting a domestic violence education program for players and personnel. The NFL turned them down.
An NFL executive told Esta Soler, president of Futures Without Violence, that the league preferred a short primer, she said.
The new policy, hashed out with owners in some of Manhattan’s finest restaurants, is portrayed as one similar to the previous outside proposal, focused on education and prevention as much as player discipline. However, the NFLPA says differently. The union was mostly left out of the process to come up with the new policy.
Nobody gets pizza until Roger gets pizza
On Sept. 10, two days after the second Rice tape was released, Goodell’s team huddled into the night in an effort to figure out “ways to prove the commissioner wasn’t covering up” for Rice. They ordered pizza, but nobody ate any because they waited for their boss to eat first. Not a good idea. Goodell was obviously more concerned with saving himself to eat, so nobody ate.
During a subsequent meeting, the WSJ reports that Goodell called his daughters to tell them that he would be home for dinner, which makes you wonder if they got to eat that night.
Goodell can call you anytime he wants
Hungry and desperate for an answer, Jeff Pash, the NFL’s general counsel, floated Robert Mueller to run an independent investigation to
clear Goodell get to the bottom of the league’s handling of the Rice case. It was late in the night. Goodell insisted they call Mueller anyway.
Other CEOs tell Goodell what to do
Remember the commissioner’s rambling press conference apology that was heavy on filler? The CEO of General Electric, Jeff Immelt, suggested he do that.
Mike Singletary is helping shape NFL conduct policy
Goodell got former players to weigh in on what the league should do … not the NFLPA, the legal representation for players, just some former players, including Mike Singletary, also a former head coach. Samurai Mike made a very strong point during a meeting with the commissioner, suggesting The Shield take a heavy-handed approach, slapping the NFL logo on the conference table and saying,
“This means excellence. If a player isn’t living up to that standard, he shouldn’t be part of the NFL brand.”
We can only assume Singletary kept his pants on to make that point.
Roger Goodell occasionally checks in on the salt of the Earth
Chastened, the commissioner traveled to Austin to see the National Domestic Violence Hotline in action. He heard one caller’s story about being abused, and it shocked him enough that he couldn’t even take a glass of wine with his dinner that evening. Instead, he told the waiter, “I need a stiff drink.”
He really is sorry, really
The story makes it clear that Goodell regrets not doing enough in the past when a player was involved in a domestic violence incident.
When you consider the report from Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg of ESPN’s OTL released back in September hours after Goodell’s Frank Luntz-engineered mea culpa press conference, with the Ravens owner pushing to keep Rice’s suspension minimal (it involved golfing at Augusta!), it sounds like the CYA version of saying you misunderstood the power and reach of TMZ.