NFL players union
New Orleans Saints fans are not the only ones who see the glaring problems in Roger Goodell's crusade to crush the Black and Gold. The NFL players union has filed a grievance on behalf of the four current and former Saints players suspended in the bounty scandal. This development could keep the players on the field for years and it may cripple Goodell's power and authority as NFL Commissioner.
I don't intend to turn this article into a legal brief, so I'll only summarize the players' case. The two main aspects of the union's case are that Roger Goodell doesn't have the authority to punish NFL players for misconduct prior to the new CBA going into effect on August 4, 2011. And as Saints fans know, Goodell has not revealed any of his evidence.
Pro sports players unions
The NFL players union has not been one of the most extreme pro sports unions in recent years. Despite playing in the most popular and dangerous sports league in North America, NFL players lag behind NBA, MLB and NHL players in salary. And since the 1987 strike, the NFL players union has made remarkable concessions to the league.
Prior to the New Orleans Saints former and current players' suspensions being handed down, Roger Goodell and the union engaged in a series of discussions, presumably to avoid this action. However, without Goodell releasing his evidence against the Saints, the NFL players union had no choice but to defend its members.
Also, I wasn't aware of the aforementioned clause granting immunity to NFL players who engaged in misconduct prior to the new CBA. One can assume that New Orleans LB Jonathan Vilma received a year-long suspension for his alleged large contributions to the 2009 Saints bounty pool. This would be a gross abuse of Roger Goodell's authority.
In a related story, Jonathan Vilma has hired New York attorney Peter Ginsberg to defend him in this matter. Ginsberg has successfully defended NFL players before. He was the attorney who helped Minnesota Vikings players defeat the NFL in the "Starcaps" case. That case took years to settle before the players finally won.
I'm also glad to see that the union wants someone other than Roger Goodell to hear the players' appeals. The idea of Goodell handing out punishments and also hearing appeals is something you'd expect to see in a totalitarian government. I only wish Sean Payton had a coaches' union as strong as the players' union to take up his cause.
There are only two reasons why Roger Goodell could be on a mission to destroy New Orleans. He either wants to keep the Saints out of the Super Bowl in New Orleans or he wants the NFL to look like it protects player safety in light of the concussion lawsuits.
But the Saints and the city of New Orleans have overcome stronger obstacles than Roger Goodell. Now that the NFL players union has stepped up to defend Saints players, maybe New Orleans can have a fair fight against Goodell.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick's favorite Saints season was 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl 44.
Barry Wilner, "Union files grievance in bounty case," yahoo.com
Jason Cole, "Courts could delay player suspensions in Saints' bounty scandal for months, if not years," yahoo.com
Steve Aschburner, "NBA's average salary of $5.15M a trendy, touchy subject," nba.com
More from this contributorGame summary of Super Bowl 48
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Roger Goodell
- New Orleans Saints
- New Orleans