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In the last couple of weeks of the NFL lockout, there were a lot of Ts to cross and Is to dot before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement could finally be ratified by both sides. And now it turns out the new CBA may cost eight players significant playing time this season.One of the last minute issues was how much authority Emperor Roger Goodell would have to discipline players that misbehaved during the lockout.
A player’s union source claims that Goodell originally wanted the power to punish “approximately two dozen” players for tainting the NFL shield during the lockout. As a compromise, the NFL Player’s Association instead gave Goodell the power to go after the eight players deemed “repeat offenders,” which may have been all Goodell wanted all along.
Rather than challenge the legality of being able to discipline players that did not have any rights as players during the lockout and were in effect not league employees at the time of their transgressions, the NFLPA just handed the eight players to Goodell on a silver platter.
Among the eight repeat offenders, Kenny Britt of the Tennessee Titans and Aqib Talib of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have already been called before Judge Goodell’s court. Penalties for the two players have yet to be announced, but speculation is that both players could face lengthy suspensions.
Jake Scott, the Titans’ player’s representative said the NFLPA is prepared to challenge the league if players are disciplined for actions during the lockout. But if the DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA already conceded on the eight repeat offenders, it is hard to imagine they would have much of a fight.
The new CBA was supposed to bring the league and players closer together. And maybe giving up eight players was ultimately deemed a small price for the greater good. But if Goodell reinforces his Judge Dredd reputation and hands down lengthy suspensions for actions during the lockout, it could push the two sides farther apart.