[LOCKED] 2019 AB Watch: Non-legal Views Only

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BaseballJones

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Suspending him for PR purposes is really a doubled edged sword. No one argues that if there is hard evidence of wrongdoing (rape or otherwise), there should be consequences appropriate to the scope of his actions. But suspending him without conclusive proof while there is a potential that this is extortion would open the door for other similar scenarios repeating themselves. Relationships gone bad, revenge via civil suits, and resulting suspension without firm proof? Can you imagine the leverage these people who were in past relationships with players would have over them? I fully favor throwing the book at him if he committed rape. But "innocent until proven guilty" is an important principle. Action prior to that creates precedent for chaos. Investigating takes time, but getting it right is the best PR approach.
And honestly, consider the gambling factor. Someone might not be interested in throwing their own reputation under the bus, but imagine if wealthy people with a lot of money to win on a sports bet got involved. Maybe pay a woman a lot of money to make an accusation. Goodell, based on precedent, has to suspend the guy, which changes the likely outcome.

I mean, yes this is, uh, speculation, but isn't something like this totally realistic if we go down this road?
 

TomTerrific

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Suspending him for PR purposes is really a doubled edged sword. No one argues that if there is hard evidence of wrongdoing (rape or otherwise), there should be consequences appropriate to the scope of his actions. But suspending him without conclusive proof while there is a potential that this is extortion would open the door for other similar scenarios repeating themselves. Relationships gone bad, revenge via civil suits, and resulting suspension without firm proof? Can you imagine the leverage these people who were in past relationships with players would have over them? I fully favor throwing the book at him if he committed rape. But "innocent until proven guilty" is an important principle. Action prior to that creates precedent for chaos. Investigating takes time, but getting it right is the best PR approach.
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Really, it's quite refreshing to find there still are people who believe Roger Goodell would feel beholden to following precedents he has set when he finds them inconvenient.

There is no precedent. There's exempt, or do not exempt. Determined according to Roger's finger in the wind.
 

Harry Hooper

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If the NFL does an investigation and takes no action, aren't they (despite however they couch their language) dinging the credibility of the accusations? If that's true, then the promised cooperation with the NFL by the plaintiff may not happen next week.
 

joe dokes

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I find it laughable that the NFL finds a need to investigate civil and criminal matters. Leave them to the people whose job it is to investigate such things.
So the NFL should only investigate things that *aren't* in court?
As a practical matter, that's the only way they find out about some stuff.
 

Reverend

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AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Really, it's quite refreshing to find there still are people who believe Roger Goodell would feel beholden to following precedents he has set when he finds them inconvenient.

There is no precedent. There's exempt, or do not exempt. Determined according to Roger's finger in the wind.
He’s not arguing that the league will be consistent. He’s arguing that if the league does that, it establishes that they can and may suspend a player in such instances. By definition, that is a precedent even if the league is not consistent.

Specifically, that opens up the possibility of extortion or, in cases where it’s legal, massive leverage for any accuser in civil negotiations in that the mere filing of the suit coupled cost the player significant money.

The reason criminal cases are being treated different isn’t just a matter of severity, but also based on evidence. Criminal charges meant that there was a government process that concluded a certain level of possibility or probability that the act (crime) occurred. No evidence is required for an initial civil filing.

Basically, even if AB did it, there is a strong argument that suspending him based on the current situation could have really fucked up consequences.

That doesn’t mean the league won’t do it, of course. Just that this is another example of why it’s good to have well developed institutions and processes for such things, although we know the NFL doesn’t have them.
 

RedOctober3829

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So the NFL should only investigate things that *aren't* in court?
As a practical matter, that's the only way they find out about some stuff.
Investigate matters that happen within the parameters of the league. When it gets to things involving things that players/staff do outside of work, leave it to law enforcement to do what they have to do and then if you want to suspend/fire/etc. based on their findings then fine. But the NFL is not an arm of law enforcement.
 

GlucoDoc

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I agree that the words "Goodell" and "precedent" probably should not be used in the same sentence. But others will see it as such and there is the risk of more and more of these types of things, some maybe based on real events but many bogus for revenge or gambling manipulation. Goodell has been close to that precipice through his decisions based on the direction the wind is blowing (using Trump's hurricane map) and not doing this right will inch him closer.
 

RedOctober3829

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There is no investigation with a civil suit, FWIW, so that wouldn’t be the case here.
Why do they need to open an investigation on their own before this runs through the court system? This is a matter between Brown and the accuser. If it comes out that he is guilty in a civil trial and it extends to a criminal matter, then they have grounds to discipline Brown.
 

Reverend

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Why do they need to open an investigation on their own before this runs through the court system? This is a matter between Brown and the accuser. If it comes out that he is guilty in a civil trial and it extends to a criminal matter, then they have grounds to discipline Brown.
I didn’t say they did. I was just pointing out that in the absence of a criminal investigation, there would be no investigation and if, for example, the case settles, nobody ever finds out what happened. Many people seem to find such outcomes unsatisfying, and the league would most likely decide whether or not to investigate based on the demands of the people or the PR department.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fucking amateur hour and I hate how they deal with discipline. I was just pointing out that in situations like this, letting the professionals do the investigation and then work with it’s findings isn’t in play here because that’s not what they do in civil cases.

The reality is that the government can manage uncertainty in case closings even if they’re unsatisfying, because they’re the fucking government. The problem is people putting pressure on a private entity such as the league to act, even if it isn’t very good at it.

We need Batman.
 

cshea

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My guess is he plays this week. NFL gauges which way the wind is blowing and suspends him 1-6 games next week after talking to both parties.
 

Captaincoop

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Investigate matters that happen within the parameters of the league. When it gets to things involving things that players/staff do outside of work, leave it to law enforcement to do what they have to do and then if you want to suspend/fire/etc. based on their findings then fine. But the NFL is not an arm of law enforcement.
Correct. It's a sign of how far out of his lane Roger has gone in the past that we're even discussing this.
 

reggiecleveland

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Obviously it's PR and not justice. The NFL is an entertainment business, not a legal justice system. But, doesn't your last sentence oppose your second? With Zeke, Hill, Hunt, etc. all in the news for violence, does Roger want to keep pushing that stuff into the media? If they just say they investigated and found no evidence either way won't it just fade away?
That is what they will have to weigh. If the think it will go away that is best, if it seems like lingering bad PR they act.
 

Super Nomario

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They don't need him this week and can't imagine he has more than a handful of plays he is comfortable with at this point. If Dorsett or Gordon goes down early would people rather see Myers or Brown out there? Not to mention Brown doesn't offer much in the run blocking game it what is likely to be a run heavy game plan given the injuries on the OL.
I think Brown is inactive come Sunday, for entirely on field issues.
I think a run-heavy game plan is even trickier with the OL injuries. They couldn't run block at all Sunday night and that was with Cannon for most of the game. They're going to have a hard time moving people with two starters out.

If Brown is active for like 15-20 snaps, I think it takes away from the circus a little bit next week. If he sits, we'll get "was it because of off-field or on-field? Will he be active Week 3?" stories. If he's active, that stuff gets put to bed.
 

Shelterdog

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I think he plays and plays a ton--like half the snaps or more. First it's a weak opponent so you can get away with a WR who doesn't quite now the offense. Second you want to start establishing the Brown/Brady connection asap. And third, it's kind of a message--both to the team and to the world at large--that the Pats are going to do what the Pats are going to do and they signed Brown so STFU media.
 

RedOctober3829

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I didn’t say they did. I was just pointing out that in the absence of a criminal investigation, there would be no investigation and if, for example, the case settles, nobody ever finds out what happened. Many people seem to find such outcomes unsatisfying, and the league would most likely decide whether or not to investigate based on the demands of the people or the PR department.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fucking amateur hour and I hate how they deal with discipline. I was just pointing out that in situations like this, letting the professionals do the investigation and then work with it’s findings isn’t in play here because that’s not what they do in civil cases.

The reality is that the government can manage uncertainty in case closings even if they’re unsatisfying, because they’re the fucking government. The problem is people putting pressure on a private entity such as the league to act, even if it isn’t very good at it.

We need Batman.
Was not directing my question at you. Just in general.
 

j44thor

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I think a run-heavy game plan is even trickier with the OL injuries. They couldn't run block at all Sunday night and that was with Cannon for most of the game. They're going to have a hard time moving people with two starters out.

If Brown is active for like 15-20 snaps, I think it takes away from the circus a little bit next week. If he sits, we'll get "was it because of off-field or on-field? Will he be active Week 3?" stories. If he's active, that stuff gets put to bed.
PIT DL had a lot to do with NE not getting the running game going. MIA DL is significantly worse than the PIT DL. I think Michel has a huge game this week.
 

Van Everyman

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Few things would surprise me less than the NFL issuing some last minute injunction putting AB on the Commissioner's Exempt List. Possibly as late as Sunday under the guise of "due diligence."

And notwithstanding Belichick's perennial FU stance and Kraft's problem, my guess is that there are a number of folks in the organization--Stacey James, but also Jonathan--who probably would welcome it and breathe a sigh of relief if it happened. They're not immune from PR pressures -- and whatever else they knew about AB, they didn't exactly sign up for rape allegations.
 

tims4wins

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PIT DL had a lot to do with NE not getting the running game going. MIA DL is significantly worse than the PIT DL. I think Michel has a huge game this week.
PIT D loaded up when Sony was in the game. White and Rex had nice games against PIT. Rumor is that White may miss this week. But the Pats killed PIT out of play action with Sony on the field so all wasn't lost. This post is probably better suited for the pre-game thread. But if teams load up when Sony is on the field expecting run, they're going to get burned by play action all game.
 

bankshot1

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To the extent this situation can get "normalized" and reduce the freak show atmosphere, sooner is better than later. And assuming a normal week, with no additional distractions (within reason its AB after all) , breaking the ice on the road may be better than at home.
 

SMU_Sox

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PIT D loaded up when Sony was in the game. White and Rex had nice games against PIT. Rumor is that White may miss this week. But the Pats killed PIT out of play action with Sony on the field so all wasn't lost. This post is probably better suited for the pre-game thread. But if teams load up when Sony is on the field expecting run, they're going to get burned by play action all game.
We've seen some research lately that your effectiveness and frequency running the ball doesn't relate to your success with play-action. They had a lot of success with PA last week and I imagine going forward (it is one of the best plays across the league). I agree with your post.
 

DrewDawg

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Few things would surprise me less than the NFL issuing some last minute injunction putting AB on the Commissioner's Exempt List. Possibly as late as Sunday under the guise of "due diligence."

And notwithstanding Belichick's perennial FU stance and Kraft's problem, my guess is that there are a number of folks in the organization--Stacey James, but also Jonathan--who probably would welcome it and breathe a sigh of relief if it happened. They're not immune from PR pressures -- and whatever else they knew about AB, they didn't exactly sign up for rape allegations.
It would be surprising because a player can only go on Exempt List if there’s been criminal charges or the NFL has investigated. Neither has happened.
 

Van Everyman

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It would be surprising because a player can only go on Exempt List if there’s been criminal charges or the NFL has investigated. Neither has happened.
You say that like the NFL doing something that goes against the rules of the CBA would be out of character. I think the NFL would love little more than to take that fight to court and even lose.
 

Reverend

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You say that like the NFL doing something that goes against the rules of the CBA would be out of character. I think the NFL would love little more than to take that fight to court and even lose.
I think AB would likely get an injunction and then even if the NFL prevails in court, he doesn’t get suspended until next year. Like with Brady.

I expect he plays.
 

dcmissle

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You say that like the NFL doing something that goes against the rules of the CBA would be out of character. I think the NFL would love little more than to take that fight to court and even lose.
Why poke the bear in CBA negotiations just to keep him off the field Sunday? They could put him on the Exempt List week 3 or 4 after conducting preliminary “investigation” based on interviews the next couple of weeks.
 

joe dokes

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Why do they need to open an investigation on their own before this runs through the court system? This is a matter between Brown and the accuser. If it comes out that he is guilty in a civil trial and it extends to a criminal matter, then they have grounds to discipline Brown.
If he's found liable in a civil trial AND it extends to a criminal matter is a really high bar.
If your employer gets wind that you did something non criminal, but really terrible, to another human being on Saturday, couldn't your employer ask you on Monday to explain why it should still associate with you?
 

RedOctober3829

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If he's found liable in a civil trial AND it extends to a criminal matter is a really high bar.
If your employer gets wind that you did something non criminal, but really terrible, to another human being on Saturday, couldn't your employer ask you on Monday to explain why it should still associate with you?
It could ask questions, but they should not be allowed to put me on leave or terminate me without a criminal charge. I would think that would open the employer up to a wrongful termination suit if they fired someone because they were sued.
 

sonofgodcf

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If he's found liable in a civil trial AND it extends to a criminal matter is a really high bar.
If your employer gets wind that you did something non criminal, but really terrible, to another human being on Saturday, couldn't your employer ask you on Monday to explain why it should still associate with you?
No? Unless you're violating some sort of company policy, I don't think that companies should be in the business of policing morality outside of the workplace - especially if/when there is no impact to the business itself by one's actions.
 

Jimbodandy

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I think a run-heavy game plan is even trickier with the OL injuries. They couldn't run block at all Sunday night and that was with Cannon for most of the game. They're going to have a hard time moving people with two starters out.

If Brown is active for like 15-20 snaps, I think it takes away from the circus a little bit next week. If he sits, we'll get "was it because of off-field or on-field? Will he be active Week 3?" stories. If he's active, that stuff gets put to bed.
This.

If the team has decided to go forward with Brown, then they will do what they can to eliminate distractions. 15-20 snaps, a few targets probably. Cuts down on the noise. Nobody will wonder why he wasn't more involved, because he just got here. They will wonder if he doesn't play. And they sure as fuck don't need him to contribute against Miami.
 

BunnzMcGinty

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It could ask questions, but they should not be allowed to put me on leave or terminate me without a criminal charge. I would think that would open the employer up to a wrongful termination suit if they fired someone because they were sued.
In most states and in most situations, employment is AT WILL. Your employer can fire you for any reason EXCEPT discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, pregnancy. Also can't fire as retaliation. Otherwise they can fire you because they don't like the look on your face. They literally do not need a reason. In this situation, of course, players have contracts, but any concept of "wrongful termination" won't protect anyone unless they were terminated for one of the above discriminatory or retaliatory reasons.
 

lexrageorge

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In most states and in most situations, employment is AT WILL. Your employer can fire you for any reason EXCEPT discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, pregnancy. Also can't fire as retaliation. Otherwise they can fire you because they don't like the look on your face. They literally do not need a reason. In this situation, of course, players have contracts, but any concept of "wrongful termination" won't protect anyone unless they were terminated for one of the above discriminatory or retaliatory reasons.
What an employer can legally do, and what they should do, and what most employers actually do, are three separate questions.

I cannot control if someone files a civil lawsuit against me. It's been noted throughout this thread and others that the bar for civil litigation is very low. Someone could probably make a case in front of an attorney to file a lawsuit against you or I for some nonsense reason.

My employer could theoretically fire me without cause any time. But they cannot do it "with cause" solely because I was subject to a lawsuit.

If I did get sued, my employer probably wouldn't even know about unless I told my boss I need some time to meet an attorney, or appear in court. They probably wouldn't care unless I started to need time off all the time because I was getting sued regularly (that would indicate a possible issue).

There is a post in a different thread from a poster that got falsely accused of various misdeeds in a lawsuit; you may want to read it.
 

BunnzMcGinty

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What an employer can legally do, and what they should do, and what most employers actually do, are three separate questions.

I cannot control if someone files a civil lawsuit against me. It's been noted throughout this thread and others that the bar for civil litigation is very low. Someone could probably make a case in front of an attorney to file a lawsuit against you or I for some nonsense reason.

My employer could theoretically fire me without cause any time. But they cannot do it "with cause" solely because I was subject to a lawsuit.

If I did get sued, my employer probably wouldn't even know about unless I told my boss I need some time to meet an attorney, or appear in court. They probably wouldn't care unless I started to need time off all the time because I was getting sued regularly (that would indicate a possible issue).

There is a post in a different thread from a poster that got falsely accused of various misdeeds in a lawsuit; you may want to read it.
I understand the distinction between what they can, should and often do or don't do. To clarify I am not an attorney but I did work for several years in an employment law firm. My point in reply to the previous post was that, absent specific protections in a contract, being fired for being sued in a civil trial is generally NOT grounds for a wrongful termination suit. And while you are correct that that affects whether the termination is for cause or not, outside of filing for unemployment benefits or claiming a contractually agreed severance, whether or not you were terminated "for cause" is a matter of semantics.
 

jose melendez

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I’ve been thinking about this, and I don’t think there’s a team in the league that cuts him at this point. Teams would cut meh players for this, but I don’t think there’s any history of a team cutting a good or certainly great player with this level of evidence. In a lot of ways, I think boston press is among the least likely to let this stuff slide, thinking back to Christian peter and will Cordero. (Though they went easy on Derek Lowe).

If there’s more concrete evidence, particularly video, then things will change fast though
 

Jimbodandy

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I understand the distinction between what they can, should and often do or don't do. To clarify I am not an attorney but I did work for several years in an employment law firm. My point in reply to the previous post was that, absent specific protections in a contract, being fired for being sued in a civil trial is generally NOT grounds for a wrongful termination suit. And while you are correct that that affects whether the termination is for cause or not, outside of filing for unemployment benefits or claiming a contractually agreed severance, whether or not you were terminated "for cause" is a matter of semantics.
This whole line of conversation is a red herring. The PA has a deal in place with the owners. The player has a deal in place with the team. Whether you and I might get whacked for being named as a defendant in a civil proceeding is a diversion.
 

Reverend

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This whole line of conversation is a red herring. The PA has a deal in place with the owners. The player has a deal in place with the team. Whether you and I might get whacked for being named as a defendant in a civil proceeding is a diversion.
We have this conversation every time this happens in the NFL, don’t we?

Of course, the NFL is, however oddly, apparently the primary discursive vehicle through which Americans discuss social issues, so maybe that makes sense.
 

DrewDawg

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You say that like the NFL doing something that goes against the rules of the CBA would be out of character. I think the NFL would love little more than to take that fight to court and even lose.
There's a difference between the NFL acting idiotic on things like air pressure by lumping it into vague things like "equipment violations" and running afoul of a rule that literally spells out the 2 things, one of which must be present, for a player to go on the exempt list.

And since they've said the investigation starts next week when they interview the 2 parties, unless AB somehow gets arrested between now and kickoff he is likely going to play.
 

BunnzMcGinty

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We have this conversation every time this happens in the NFL, don’t we?

Of course, the NFL is, however oddly, apparently the primary discursive vehicle through which Americans discuss social issues, so maybe that makes sense.
This is essentially what I’m getting at. Part of my job when I worked for the law firm was to screen calls from potential clients for promising cases. As such I was trained on the general ins and outs of employment law, employment contracts and CBA’s. In my admittedly anecdotal experience, most people had a major cognitive disconnect between what is “fair” and what is legal. I heard so many stories from people who were fired for reasons that were absolutely unfair, but unfortunately totally legal. For most people, their only frame of reference is legal dramas on TV and athletes’ labor disputes.

So in the strictest sense of this discussion, yes I grant you this is a tangent, if not a red herring. I was only responding in the context of the previous poster, who was making the common, and understandable mistake of conflating what is fair with what is legal.

That said, I did take pains to stipulate that this doesn’t really apply to AB, as he is covered both by a collective bargaining agreement AND a contract. But it’s important to disabuse people of any notion that “fairness” ever really matters. The American legal system is certainly more established and hews far more faithfully to rules and precedents than the NFL, but is just as prone to capriciousness and vindictiveness as the ginger fuckstick on Park Ave.
 

Reverend

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Antonio Browns being covered by the NBC national news.

In the intro, the showed lots of shots of AB, and then teased, “What does Belichick have to say?” and showed a clip of BB speaking where they cut away after a single indecipherable syllable. It was oddly perfect.
 

Ralphwiggum

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NFL players are public figures, and literally the product the NFL is selling. Most employees are neither. The NFL therefore has an interest in policing employee behavior that most employers don’t care about. In most cases your employer is never even going to know if you are involved in some kind of civil suit. I’m not saying Brown should have been suspended but the analogy to what most employers would do or wouldn’t do is pointless.
 

InstaFace

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There is no investigation with a civil suit, FWIW, so that wouldn’t be the case here.
there's no police investigative team, but there is an impartial finder of fact within the legal system. Why not rely on that?

There's a difference between the NFL acting idiotic on things like air pressure by lumping it into vague things like "equipment violations" and running afoul of a rule that literally spells out the 2 things, one of which must be present, for a player to go on the exempt list.
At the risk of being That Guy, the NFL had explicitly spelled out penalties for equipment violations - and what is a football if not equipment - and that constrained them not at all.
 
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