In the wake of the Tom Brady suspension, and the resultant negative publicity for the league, National Football League owners have decided to reign in some of the commissioners responsibilities. The focus will be on disciplinary actions and whether current NFL commissioner Roger Goddell will play any future role. Up until now, the commissioner has been the final say with regard to player discipline around the league.
The decision by the league owners, reported by The Wahington Post, comes on the heels of a decision by a federal judge to overturn Goddell’s four game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for actions he allegedly took part in during January’s AFC championship game. Brady, and others, had been accused of adjusting the air pressure in the game balls in defiance of league regulations regarding the proper air pressure in game balls.
What the owners will eventually decide is unknown but many experts feel that Goddell’s disciplinary responsibilities will be reduced, if not eliminated. There is also talk that the league owners may open talks with the players union regarding the future process regarding player discipline. The players union has long held that discipline should be removed from the commissioners office and placed in the hands of a non-aligned and impartial arbitrator. The owners will meet again in October.
The commissioner and the league are currently appealing the decision by the federal court in the Brady matter. This will not, however, affect Brady’s playing time. He is expected to open the season at quarterback for the Patriots on September 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank publicly stated that the owners need to look at the commissioners role in discipline as the league simply can’t abide any more of the constant litigation that has plagued the league in recent years.