With the propriety of Tom Brady’s DeflateGate suspension now set to be resolved in court and many of those in and around the sport expressing the view that the NFL’s system of justice is broken, the players’ union is vowing to address Commissioner Roger Goodell’s power to hear appeals in certain player-disciplinary cases in the next set of labor negotiations.
“It would be hard to imagine any new deal if there’s not a change,” Eric Winston, the veteran offensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals who is the president of the NFL Players Association, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “I can’t imagine taking a new deal back to the players and say personal conduct isn’t going to change.”
I never got around to writing a full article on this, but Winston is correct. As the old saying goes, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Achieving separation of powers in disciplinary matters should be a primary goal for the NFLPA in the future. However, don’t expect the owners’ official representative, of all people, to give that up without a fight. Come 2021, I fear there will be a very lengthy work stoppage that will include regular season games.