This new policy where Goodell doesn't want to pass the final judgement, unless he wants to say "psych" and pass the final judgement, is really something else.
In fact, it’s the same system, with a minor caveat that @Cellar-Door
ably raises below, but which I think is functionally moot, which is why it was a great “concession” on the part of the league.
The NFLPA basically bargained for something that sounds like it would make things less arbitrary with respect to disciplinary power by the league, but in fact the league’s power was maintained but with a shiny coat of paint.
I really wonder what that “concession” cost the NFLPA in the negotiations, because if it was anything of any significance, the league negotiators probably strained their backs high-fiving each other after it was over.
Even Kafka thinks the NFL’s system is a little wacky. It’s a great flex for Goodell though - here’s your due process unless I have a different opinion, then I’ll just descend off my throne and do whatever I want.
It really is the epitome of a facade of justice, isn’t it?
And this is the improved
version under the new CBA!
Why does last year not count as part of the suspension? Did he get paid to sit out? The guy is a scumbag and I don’t care if he ever plays again, but it seems disingenuous to say it’s only a 6 game suspension when he already sat out a whole season.
This may be your point, but for anyone unaware, this was a significant part of the independent arbiter’s decision.
I wonder if the NFL wants to use this as a test case.
I wouldn't so sure of the injunction. As I mentioned before, the parties bargained for this system and while I don't do a ton of labor law, it is my understanding that courts generally defer to collectively bargained agreements.
. . .
If the NFL wants to set a precedent about how much power they hold here, this might be a good case to do.
I’m sure it was. Brady was test case 1.0, and they established their authority under the CBA, yeah? So 2.0 is getting a legal determination that that authority is absolute.
And, as you and others pointed out, it’s about what was bargained for, which is what the Brady
Unfortunately for the NFLPA, these aren’t valid legal arguments. I mean, we just went through this with the Second Circuit’s ruling in Brady’s case.
If it came to it, a federal court would likely tell the NFLPA to pound sand/negotiate a more favorable suspension structure next time. And the NFL may not hate having that fight given the facts here.
. . .
The NFL holds the cards here, and the NFLPA again acquiesced to that in the latest CBA. They could’ve negotiated an entirely different procedure for player discipline, even down to jurisdiction/venue of any lawsuits disputing a disciplinary ruling, but they didn’t.
In the Brady case, Troy Vincent made the initial decision on punishment with the Commish standing as the ultimate appeal authority. Now it's the independent arbiter making the initial decision on punishment, but the Commish is still standing as the ultimate appeal authority.
In both cases the Commish has the power not just to decide on the appeal request, but also to actually increase the punishment handed out. The legal eagles will have to check in here, but this time around the NFL will still control getting any dispute from the player/NFLPA routed to its preferred court circuit, where said court will once again ratify the Commish's powers under the CBA's Rule 46. Am I wrong?
Well the new process the arbiter's decisions on the facts are binding to both sides, so some real difference there, if for example the Judge here had said "I don't find that he violated the Player Conduct Policy" then that is that, if she found that the preponderance of the evidence did not show he had violated it in 1 or 2 of the examples before her that would be binding. What isn't binding is her discipline recommendation. Also interesting is that the NFL tightened up the language about both sides agreeing that the appeal decision was final. They were trying to tighten it up for any lawsuit. We'll see if it succeeded, but I'd much rather be representing the NFL here than Watson if they impose a longer suspension and he sues.
Thank you for this clarification, as I’d been looking for what the hell the NFLPA might have thought they were bargaining for besides swapping a league lackey like Vincent for a respected retire judge which actually offers the league greater legitimacy without making any real functional difference.
In terms of that functional difference, as per your clarification, making the arbiter’s finding of fact binding, which has the added influence on the sense of legitimacy by making the process more mirror our legal system, well, I wonder if it actually makes a real, meaningful, substantive difference, for the vast majority of cases anyway.
Like, by analogy, I’m thinking of how the Exclusionary Rule appears to be a strong line against police misconduct, but in reality it’s not because it only applies to the small fraction of cases that will go to significant pre-trial negotiations; it doesn’t prevent bad behavior in the vast majority of cases where that’s not the intent. Similarly, very few cases in the NFL get to this point, and for the vast majority of them, fact finding is sorta pro forma because the league only goes this far when things are certain—it’s not like the league actually cares about intrinsic morality and justice, yeah? In this regard, a factual dispute in Brady
is kinda sui generis
, but as a factor in the negotiations, it seems to me that the league bargained away fact finding to an independent arbiter when they didn’t actually care about it because they almost never go this far if there is real factual dispute that they can’t overcome, but they got to make a big deal out of it in negotiations because Brady
was on everyone’s minds.
Given that Roger is final decision-maker, Watson's attorneys probably should have advised him to take the settlement offer.
I have questions about the people the union and the players use for counsel…