NFPLA president: Goodell’s credibility ‘definitely lacking’ with players

SHAFAQNA – NFLPA president Eric Winston says that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s credibility is “definitely lacking” with current players in light of a federal judge’s recent decision to overturn the league’s ruling, making running back Ray Rice eligible to play immediately.

“Now that the judge has said that [Goodell’s] discipline was wrong, that he made it up as he goes [along],” Winston said on SportsCenter on Sunday morning. “This isn’t a one-off, now we’re starting to see a pattern. A couple years ago, we had the unfortunate case of bounty gate, and that was a situation where the commissioner was overruled twice, one by a system arbitrator, and then again by the former commissioner, who had to tell him how to do discipline.

“So this is a pattern that now has formed. And I think it’s important for people to understand that this isn’t a one-off situation, that unfortunately, this is something that has continued on and I think the players look at that and they’re confused, they’re angry, they’re frustrated because they know that if unfortunate circumstances do arise, they might be subject to this unfair process.”

Winston also maintains that the league’s promise to create a “clear, fair, comprehensive” personal conduct-policy without input from the union isn’t good enough.

“It’s not good enough for the players, either,” Winston said, “and that’s what’s important. I think every player wants a transparent, fair process. We’ve said from the beginning that we’re not against discipline. We’ve never been against discipline … but if you want the players to buy in, if you want the players to believe in the process, to believe in what we’re doing at the NFL level with disciplines across the board, than you have to [collectively] bargain these issues out.

“You have to take into account the other side’s positions on what they might consider very important, just like we did everything else. … But for whatever reason, and I have my suspicions, now all of a sudden the league doesn’t want neutral arbitration in an area where they keep getting overturned in. …

“The problem is, the NFL hasn’t tried [to fix these problems].”

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