John of Belleville, Ill., is tired of a common refrain from players suspended as part of the New Orleans Saints bounty case. In particular, the "judge, jury and executioner" theory that suggests NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shouldn't both determine the discipline and also hear/decide on the appeal:
If the players didn't want [commissioner] Roger Goodell to have all the power he has, they shouldn't have bargained it away in the CBA. They have no leg to stand on. This is not a legal proceeding, it is a legal structure based on the CBA -- no courts.
Technically, John, you're right. The NFL Players Association agreed to this general arrangement as part of the collective bargaining agreement it signed last summer. But I think what you've seen over the past few days is the beginning of an NFLPA campaign to suggest Goodell didn't follow the spirit of the CBA in handing this issue.
Consider this statement released Monday by attorney Richard Smith, an outside counsel to the NFLPA: "In this matter, the conduct of the Commissioner and his representatives has undermined the fundamental process contemplated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Through this abuse, these players have been denied any semblance of due process and fairness. At a time when some question the safety and integrity of the game, the failure by those charged to act responsibly and fairly have challenged our collective faith and confidence in the league."
I wouldn't be surprised if that statement is a central component of legal action the players might take against the league, one that might be the Green Bay Packers' best chance of getting defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove on the field for more than eight games this season.