NFLPA Fearful of Unilateral Changes to League’s Personal Conduct Policy

Now that the situation has been resolved with the former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice winning his appeal against the NFL, there are reportedly signs out there that the NFL Players Association “currently fears” the potential that Roger Goodell and Co. will make changes to the league’s personal conduct policy without seeking an opinion from the union itself (via Pro Football Talk).

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL Players Association currently fears that the league will unilaterally implement a new personal conduct policy over any union objections and without collective bargaining after the next ownership meetings, which will occur on or about December 10.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was agreed to in 2011, enables the league office to change the personal conduct policy unilaterally. That’s an example of NFLPA Executive Director caving in when there was a work stoppage back in 2011.

For its part, the NFL released a statement about Rice’s appeal and what it might mean moving forward.

Judge Jones’ ruling underscores the urgency of our work to develop and implement a clear, fair and comprehensive new personal conduct policy,” the league office said in a statement released Friday evening. “We expect this policy to be completed and announced in the weeks ahead. Our focus is on consistently enforcing an improved policy going forward.

As I indicated in an article over at Forbes, this could create a power play between the NFLPA head honcho and the union in the lead up to an election between DeMaurice Smith and a challenger in the form of former NFL player Sean Gilbert next March.

The writing is on the proverbial wall here. If the league does indeed move forward with its own plans for a personal conduct policy that includes commissioner Roger Goodell playing a central role in the appeals process, it will create a rather interesting divide between the league and the players association. We all know how that has turned out in the past.

Photo: Cleveland.com