In news that’s sure to make Bill Simmons smile, it appears NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may be in the process of losing some power within the league.
According to The Wall Street Journal the NFL Players Association, led by executive director DeMaurice Smith, is pushing towards an agreement with the league that would absolve Goodell of the power to administer off the field player discipline. It’s no surprise that the NFLPA would be looking to strip Goodell of his power but somewhat shockingly the league appears on board with the change. In fact it was the NFL who proposed neutral arbitration rather than Goodell acting as judge and jury for player discipline.
“We’ve been talking about changes to the personal conduct policy since October and have traded proposals,” Smith told WSJ. “We looked at the league’s proposal for neutral arbitration. There is a common ground for us to get something done.”
One current proposal would see three arbitrators overlooking each case, one chosen by the league, one by the NFLPA and the third chosen by the two initial arbitrators. The WSJ notes that the league backing the decision may be a result of Goodell dishing out punishment to players only to see them overturned by an independent arbitrator or the U.S. Court Of Appeals.
An actual agreement between the two sides is a ways off and “significant obstacles remain, and any potential deal will not happen soon,” but it appears that the league and the NFLPA are in agreement that the system is flawed and Goodell is the variable that can be removed.