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Vilma a scapegoat?

Discussion in 'All Other Team Discussions' started by cupacker, May 3, 2012.

  1. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    In retrospect, sure. But at the time when your boss is telling you to lie and that boss can terminate your employment contract on a whim, it muddles the situation...

    In 2010, the NFL didn't have the same whistleblower protections that it's now touting...

    In the absence of a system offering protection to players that report such activity to the league, I think we should temper our expectations about how truthful these players should have been. The four suspensions seem harsh.
     
  2. packa7x

    packa7x Cheesehead

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    Before I answer your questions, I must preface by stressing that this is purely speculation. However, one can come to many logical conclusions concerning this matter.

    Let's thing logically here. After Hurricane Katrina, the Saints rebuilt and it finally culminated with a SB title in 2009-2010. The Saints were darlings of the public. The "ain'ts" whomhave been perpetual basement dwellers became heroes to a whole country by personifying the American Dream....rags to riches. Drew Brees is a class act. The Saints had tons going for them and the NFL had every reason to enjoy the ride.

    Then they discover the bounty scandal. They discover 22-27 players were involved. It was run by respected DC Gregg Williams. They nudged the Saints to stop like they did with the Pack in 2007. The Pack listened, the Saints didn't. The NFL did 3 years of research and it culminated with the main culprits being Fujita, Vilma, Hargrove, and Smith from the players side. The NFL determined that those 4 were not coaxed into doing anything. It was WILLFULL. A key term to remember when speaking about legal matters is also, "degree." What degree were they involved? Vilma put down $10,000...is that the same as a 2nd string DB who knows about ghe bounty system but doesn't report it? No!

    The punishments come and its only those 4 guys punished, the biggest offenders. 18-23 guys go free, why? 2 theories. 1. They provided valuable information to the league to rat the others out. Or.. 2. The league determined suspending 27 guys would be unfair punishment to a team that already lost draft picks, coaches, and cash. It would negatively affect the NFL by putting an extremely horrific product on the field. The NFL is better off going after bigger offenders.

    The NFL has no reason to lie about this and the NFLPA has every reason to lie about it. I'm not taking sides, but the NFL is required to police itself...the NFLPA is required to defend its constituents. Which side do you think would benefit from lieing?
     
  3. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    I feel like I'm beating a dead horse at this point, so I'm just going to respond with a few points:

    (1) Everything you've said above is speculative; much of what I'm going to say is speculative. This is speculative because the NFL's discipline process has occurred behind closed doors. Neither players nor fans are able to review the evidence against a player and make their own determinations about each individual's degree of culpability.
    (2) The NFLPA has a legitimate gripe about the secrecy of this NFL discipline process. It's very draconian for a unionized industry and far more opaque than that which most private sector employers offer its professionals. In the public sector, it would be unconstitutional. (Perhaps the union should have bargained for a better system in the CBA but that would have come at the cost of concessions in terms of the players' share of gross revenues and off-season practices/training camps.)
    (3) Contrary to your suggestion above, the NFL has plenty of reasons to lie or at least exaggerate its evidence in order to make an example of these players. There is a growing public awareness and concern for head injuries in football (highlighted by the recent tragedy with Seau). Faced with a growing number of lawsuits from former players, it is very important that the NFL appear to take this issue seriously (nevermind the reality). The Saints bounty scandal provides a PR opportunity for the league to look responsible by punishing a handful of players while deflecting from the incredibly violent nature of the sport as a whole.
    (4) In fact, it's rather clear that the NFL has lied, or at least grossly exaggerated its evidence against Hargrove. See Mike Florio's article or Mike Seifert's blog. Seems unlikely that this would occur if the discipline process were more transparent. Such secrecy should engender skepticism, not passive acceptance.
    (5) I also think you haven't given thoughtful consideration of what constitutes "willful" participation. When your boss at work tells you to do something, you're generally under enormous pressure to comply. It was no different for many of these players, who might be cut by the Saints on a whim. When you review the Hargrove's statement (linked here), it becomes rather clear that his professional future was being implicated by Williams and Vitt when they instructed him to stonewall the league. The circumstances suggest that if he told the truth, he would be dropped in the depth chart or cut entirely. Not a good situation for a player coming off suspension the year before with only a few contract offers. This should mitigate Hargrove's punishment.

    I encourage you to review the discussion in this related thread. My comments there are along the same lines but they may elaborate on some of my points.

    It's hard to lose much sleep over this: the four suspended players all participated in the Saints bounty program to some degree and they deserve punishment. However, I think the league's process in determining who to punish and the length of those suspensions is deeply flawed because it occurs without any sort of transparency or oversight. Why should the league oppose a more open process if its determinations are valid?

    With regards to Hargrove, I think eight games is too severe. Obviously, I'm biased as both a Packer fan and a bleeding heart that thinks employers should offer some degree of due process. Cheers.
     
  4. packa7x

    packa7x Cheesehead

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    (1) I don't know why fans are getting upset that we don't get to see the evidence. The NFL has never been obligated to be transparent. We didn't hear this outcry with Spygate. Did you see those videos? We didn't even hear this outcry when Gregg Williams was possibly banned for life. We only heard this outcry when the players union got involved. The NFL is likely withholding its information to protect the players who provided information. I don't know if you've ever played football, but being a snitch isn't the best thing to be.
    (2) The issues are "conduct detrimental to the game" and "salary cap circumvention" which are both considered, "off-the-field" which is considered to be Roger's jurisdiction. That is what the players agreed to. He's allowed to punish as he sees fit. Case in point, Big Ben. Dude was never criminally charged with anything, but was initially stuck with a 6 game suspension. That was reduced to 4 games.
    (3) Absolutely off-base. This has ZERO to do with head injuries and it wouldn't help them at all in court in that matter. The issue with concussions is NOT from today. Goodell helped avoid that years ago. The issue is whether or not the NFL knowingly (they did) prevent the players from knowing the risks of concussions. Now, since Goodell has admitted to concussions being an issue and taking proactive steps to combat them, they're an assumed risk. Players know what concussions are, how to treat them, how to avoid them, etc. If they suffer one, it's on them. The league has never needed to fabricate something under Goodell to appear to be seriously policing its own. Let's just go through some of the big situations...Spygate, Big Ben, Pacman, Plaxico, Michael Vick, James Harrison...and its never been afraid to show change toward a safer game...moving kickoffs up, less practices, independent neurologists, emphasis on head-to-head shots. With all of that, it'd be silly and useless to build a mild correlation to concussions by way of exaggeration or fabrication. You have a union whose entire job is to throw a wrench in the gears of anything the NFL tries to do to its constituents. That's not a stab at the union, that's just saying what they do.
    (4) Okay, Mike Florio is a horrific choice of a person to side with. When he posts facts without a slant, then reference him. You're leaving out the part where the NFLPA gave that letter to the NFL. What happened there? The union knows it won't get the info unless they go to trial (think: open your books!) and this is really just a sham to win over public opinion. After the lockout, the NFLPA gave in to 48% revenue without getting to see the books. They knew the NFL had financial problems due to rising player salaries, they didn't need to see the books. Now we have a signed document by Hargrove given to the NFL by the NFLPA which is being used against the NFL because of the vagueness of a line or two. This some Bill Clinton BS. "Hargrove, did your coaches tell you to lie?" "Define...tell."
    (5) This is laughable. It would matter in a business setting where you're supporting a family on a salary of $50-60K. If you told anyone that Will Smith, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, or Jonathan Vilma wouldn't find work if they were mysteriously cut, they would call you crazy. It's something that was clearly in violation of league rules and those guys, according to the NFL, didn't just fall in line, they helped establish it and they were large contributors to the fund. They differ from the others when you consider the amount they put in and also their involvement with setting the thing up. There are ways to deal with these things and the players chose not to do it. They chose to get in line and play along.

    Nice summary at the end. Here are my thoughts about the situation in general. If you recall, the NFL asked the NFLPA to assist in the player punishments. They declined. Red flag No.1 for me. The NFL DID offer transparency. We got zero transparency with the coaches punishments. We were okay with Mickey Loomis vicariously receiving a suspension. Gregg Williams being suspended "indefinitely" (side note, most teams won't hire him again, if a player for his team takes another player out on a cheap shot, you'll open up a can of worms for negligent hiring). Sean Payton is out a year. These guys have families and need money too. Their involvement in the bounty situation will be far more detrimental for future employment than the players. We all sat there and accepted it as 100% truth. Then the players get suspended, and we start to become skeptical because they vocally denied it. But some never gave the idea that the NFL has no reason to exaggerate thought. The NFL got Mary Jo White to look over it's evidence twice. They knew a legal mess was coming. People are skeptical of her? Why the hell would an accomplished attorney stake her reputation on a silly employer-employee conflict? If the NFL doesn't have the evidence, that would unnecessarily tarnish her reputation. The NFL claims to have 18,000 documents and testimony from people. There are tons of privacy issues involved with releasing the info. If an agreement was made to speak privately, the NFL is obligated to uphold that.
     
  5. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    I feel like I've touched on all of your points elsewhere:

    -You're right: the NFL isn't obligated to be transparent. But if it isn't going to be open with its process, then it's natural for the NFLPA to seek further information on behalf of players. The union has a legitimate interest in obtaining a clear understanding of exactly what these players did wrong so that players understand where the line is and not to cross it in the future. The evidence used to determine suspensions in all of the other episodes you mention above (Big Ben, Vick, etc.) was far more public- often in police reports- than it was here. Spygate did not involve NFL players or the union.

    -You make some great points about the salary cap circumvention but ignoring the larger context in which this bounty scandal has happened is like wearing blinders. Bounties were commonplace in the league until a few years ago and this has everything to do with the growing awareness about head injuries, the growing number of lawsuits by former players, and mounting public concern (e.g., "Would you let your children play football?"). The NFL has a significant interest in making the game safer and preventing bounty programs that incentivise targeting specific players is part of that interest.

    -The NFLPA is not winning over public opinion by challenging this. In fact, this places them in a ridiculous position. On the one hand it's important they protect the safety of its members while on the other it is defending players that have participated in a bounty program. The NFLPA's concern here is with the process.

    -You should actually check out the Seifert link above (since you don't like Florio). It makes it rather clear that when Williams and Vitt told Hargrove to stonewall the league, his prospects of getting picked up by another team if cut were weak. The guy was coming off a one-year suspension for violating the league's substance policy. When he returned, he had few offers before signing a cheap deal with the Rams. It's presumptuous to assume he would have simply latched on elsewhere, especially after turning on his handlers (blacklisting is a very serious and legitimate concern amongst pro athletes in all sports).

    -The Seifert link (like the Florio link) also makes it rather clear that Mary Jo White misrepresented the evidence against Hargrove. There's nothing in Hargrove's statement establishing his participation in or contribution to the bounty program. As an attorney myself, I think White crossed the line based on the information I've reviewed and the idea that she's somehow independent is naive. Guess who's paying her bill.
     
  6. packa7x

    packa7x Cheesehead

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    Jay, I feel like we agree more than we think. I apologize if I came off a bit confrontational, you're much more levelheaded than others I have had this conversation with.

    I'm not arguing the NFLPA shouldn't be asking for more. They should be. It's their job to exercise every option in order to protect its constituents. I just think we should stop and think about why the NFL would fabricate or exaggerate a story like this and what they'd stand to gain by this compared to why the NFLPA would lie or try to muddy the waters. It's pretty likely that the union is lying, bending the truth, being intentionally deceitful, etc.

    I truly don't think the focus on bounties comes ftom head injuries. I'm a sports management major at Rutgers University and I've done research on head injuries in football and have even sent proposals to the NJSIAA about ways to reduce concussions in football. The new awareness on head injuries fascinates me. I played 4 years in high school and suffered 3 concussions. Honestly, there's no relationship between the two. Goodell wants to stop bounties because it's bad for the image and the competitive nature of the sport.

    The NFLPA is winning support for their cause. Go to any forum or football site with commenters and you'll see it's about 50/50. Half believe the NFL is truthful, the other half do not. Some people are natural skeptics and the NFLPA is giving them enough doubt to make them believe the NFL is lying.

    If you're a capable NFL athlete, you'll latch on. Do you know why a Babe Ruth card with no autograph, bent corners, a crease, and discoloration sells for ten times what a Joe Montana autographed card does? Because it's rare. People with that size/speed combo are rare. There would be a place for him. If guys like Randy Moss and Pacman Jones aren't blacklisted, Hargrove wouldn't be either.

    As for White, I'm sure she saw other evidence too. I understand she's paid by the NFL, but she wouldn't publicly affirm the NFL without being sure that there's at least a good chance of it standing up. Reading the actual Hargrove document, it predictably falls between where the NFL and Hargrove says it is. It doesn't confirm or deny outright that he was involved or knew about it. It says he lied about a bounty program. That's up to interpretation. To me it says that he knew a bounty system existed and covered up for his coaches in hopes of a promotion.
     
  7. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Thanks, packa7x. You strike me as very level-headed and intelligent yourself. You weren't confrontational so much as I'm just a quibbling MFer.

    It would be nice if the league and the NFLPA were able to agree on a more transparent discipline system, where the process is open to the public and we could make informed evaluations instead of relying on leaks or statements by one side or the other. This is an unusual case, however, where witnesses may need to be kept anonymous. Without any reliable third party information (e.g., police reports), it's difficult to get a accurate sense of what happened and the extent of each player's involvement.

    It's about time I got off my due process soapbox anyway. Hargrove was clearly involved to some degree; it's just that eight games seems severe if all he was doing is stonewalling. Cheers.
     
  8. packa7x

    packa7x Cheesehead

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    I agree that more transparency would be nice, but the inherent nature of a $9.5 billion business and a frivolous yet powerful union makes that impossible. They're at odds with each other at all times. I just find it silly that some people buy the players denying any involvement. There was an admission by Williams that the system was in place. He needs players to do that :roflmao: IMHO though with the appeals, these guys will get the suspensions reduced by a couple games. Maybe Fujita just gets fined a game check.
     
  9. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    The reason this $9.5 billion dollar business lacks a more transparent discipline process is because the NFL has been unwilling to budge from the current system. When the NFL and the NFLPA sit down to negotiate the CBA, the league has always been savvy in treating improvements to its discipline process as a concession. And it won't make a concession in this area unless the players make concessions elsewhere. Why volunteer such a bargaining chip unless something can be extracted in return? Despite the fact that the league's discipline policy is relatively draconian and antiquated, the union had other priorities in the last set of negotiations.

    The players union is neither frivolous nor that powerful. We're talking about a league where owners still receive the majority of gross revenues. Last time I checked, the owners aren't the ones risking debilitating injury under non-guaranteed contracts. I'm not normally a big union guy but within this sport I think your characterization of the NFLPA lacks perspective. This isn't MLB...
     
  10. packa7x

    packa7x Cheesehead

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    Do you blame them? They're a business and they want to uphold their standards, rules, etc. It is a concession. A HUGE one. They're giving up control. Power. Influence.

    I think the NFLPA is frivolous and way too powerful. Now is the NFLPA totally frivolous? No. They do have some merit on occasion. But my big gripe is the whole idea that the players are somehow being unfairly treated because the owners are making money on their own frickin business. That's an attitude created by the union (remember De Smith when he turned down an NFL proposal calling it, "the worst deal in sports history"). I understand that these guys do put their bodies at risk, but so do tons of other professions. That's not why they make the money they do. It's because they're talented and they have a rare body type.

    The NFL is a business and 32 teams are franchised. The league itself is not-for-profit, but the teams are for profit. What people always forget is the investments owners have to make into a team. They have an entire front office staff, stadium employees, maintenance crews, practice facilities, insurance, COGS for the merch they sell, training staff, scouts, equipment, player benefits, travel, etc. Let's not forget the fact that they're not the whole labor force in the NFL either. 1,696 men comprise 48% of the TOTAL revenues. The players enter a system created by owners to monetize the sport. They take great financial risk to run an NFL team (whether you believe it or not) and if it weren't for their investments, there's no football. I know if you take away the players, there's no football, but ANY business is the same. Take away all the front of the house staff at a restaurant and the restaurant can't run. Take away all the firefighters and the house burns down. Does that mean the NFL should have an unsustainable system where player costs grow while profits shrink because people don't like seeing the guys that monetized a childrens game making money off of it? The players already get compensated handsomely. Just think about it like this...

    You're an NFL player...not a very good one, but good enough to float around on different active rosters and spell other guys on the field when they're tired. You career lasts 3 years. You'd make $1,395,000 MINIMUM for those 3 years. That's $465,000 a year. Now say there's a construction worker breathing in dust, debris, smoke, etc. He carries 200 pounds up the side of a building risking falling to his death. The physicality and dangerous nature of his job nets him $70,000 a year. He's at risk for tons of injuries, accidents, and death daily. It would take him 20 years to earn what a reserve NFL player would make after 3 years of riding the bench.

    But I get it, I really do. They are putting themselves at risk (though a lot of them also CHOOSE not to save money for potential medical problems and take their pensions out early and then try and sue the NFL) and the players do other things such as act as a PR rep for the test, etc. This is why the league needs to have control over the discipline process, ESPECIALLY off the field stuff. The owners paid for the NFL becoming so big. It's their vision that has led us to the current manifestation of the NFL. They should be able to discipline their employees as they see fit so long as it's truly an infraction according to the employment policies laid out by the NFL and NFLPA. The NFL is a private business, not a court of law. A lot of businesses can fire you for bashing the boss on Facebook. These players and coaches circumvented the cap, created bad press for the league, put other players at extreme risk for injury, and lied about it. If I'm a boss and that happened, i'd be pissed. The coaches all admitted to it, accepted guilt and punishment, etc. If there WAS a bounty system, there HAD to be players involved. We've heard the reports of Vilma dropping $20k in 2 weeks to take Favre and Vilma out. We've read the Hargrove document stating that he lied about the bounty scandal. HE ADMITTED to lying and signed a paper saying so. Even If you still believe there's no bounty system after reading that (I know you believe there was one, just making a point here) you cannot deny he obstructed the investigation. He admits as much. That's bad.

    But now here we are. The NFLPA was asked to assist in the punishments, they said no. All 4 players were provided an opportunity to state their case to the commissioner. They said no. It's clear the intention of the NFLPA is to take this to court. The NFL attempted to include the NFLPA and the Players...why did they decline? The NFLPA has some sort of agenda here. That's the only way you actively help guys who actively tried to hurt your constituents.
     
  11. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Your response doesn't really address why the NFLPA is "frivolous" or "too powerful."

    Instead it glorifies owners, exaggerating their sacrifice and risk. NFL ownership is an extremely lucrative venture. Forbes reported that in 2009 the average profit for NFL owners was $33 million annually. That's after all the ownership expenses you list above (front office staff, stadium staff, facilities, etc.). Last year, when Wayne Weaver sold his Jaguars- perhaps the feeblest franchise in the league- he had no problem finding a ready buyer. In LA, there is not one, but two investment groups looking to establish franchises. There are plenty of people lining up to become owners, yet you somehow manage to make it sound like the league's owners are doing us a favor. Please. These are wealthy, sophisticated businessmen that obtain great profit and personal enjoyment from their investment. Let's stop painting them as benefactors that are solely responsible for the current popularity of the league.

    Of course owners are entitled to profit from their investment, but fans aren't buying Jerry Jones jerseys and they aren't cheering on Robert Kraft at Gillette Stadium. If players decide to leverage fan support by organizing to bargain for their interests, they're well within their rights. Simple fact is that your NFL largely operates in violation of this country's antitrust laws (see Radovich v. National Football League and subsequent rulings). So the league is subject to suit and players are going to leverage that in order to obtain better working conditions (Reggie White filed such a class action in the early nineties). Since the 1950s, the NFLPA was instrumental in establishing league-wide minimum salaries, continued pay for players that are injured (including medical treatment), the modern free agency system, and pension programs to help former players. None of these items strike me as "frivolous." Is the union "too powerful?" I don't think so, if the owners' willingness to dissolve the 1993 CBA after the 2009 season is any indication. This obviously reflects owners' confidence about negotiating a new agreement more favorable for the league. Amongst other things, they sought an 18 percent reduction in the players' share of revenues- that's an aggressive starting position.

    It's difficult to discuss the salary hypothetical you've outlined above. Let's keep in mind that your player making the league minimum over three years (approximately $1.4 million) will lose about half of that in taxes because he suddenly joins one of this country's highest tax brackets. Regardless, it's difficult to criticize the fairness of player salaries when that's what the market system has given us. Perhaps your construction worker above deserves a better salary and a safer work environment: He's free to seek better compensation with other companies, he might go to night school to enter a different profession, or he might try to organize with his fellow workers to demand better compensation and protections. Whatever the case, it's going to be difficult for this construction worker to demand improvements when his labor can be easily replaced. That's the nature of free markets.

    You attitudes seem shaped by the notion of all NFL players as irresponsible, unable to manage their money properly (as though a player earning the league minimum for just three years is supposed to have saved enough to cover future medical expenses and retirement). A million dollars doesn't go as far as you seem to think it does and if you're frustrated that the market has produced such relatively high salaries for professional athletes, I recommend you find another outlet for your consumer dollar. But if you're going to watch games on Sunday afternoons, purchase merchandise, and follow your team on ESPN.com, you're contributing to an entertainment industry that has produced generous salaries for players and enormous profits for owners.

    The bounty scandal is a black eye for the NFLPA as well as the NFL and neither organization wants to be associated with this kind of thuggish behavior. But these groups are still kicking the tires on the new CBA and there are legitimate questions about how the discipline process should have been handled. For example, salary cap circumvention issues (as you've characterized this bounty program repeatedly) are supposed to be resolved by an independent third party arbiter under the current agreement (this is probably why you never hear the NFL refer to this as a salary cap circumvention issue in the media).

    No, the NFL is not a court of law, but it is held together by contractual agreements. When the terms of these contracts are disputed, the parties go to court. This will play out. Deal with it.
     
  12. packa7x

    packa7x Cheesehead

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    I forgot to reply to you! My apologies!

    It's frivolous in the sense that it's a $9billion industry and the workers aren't being treated unfairly. Unions were necessary back when people weren't allowed to take bathroom breaks on their 16 hour shift. When its main duty is to just bust balls, it becomes frivolous to me. I understand the reasons why it exists, but please understand my position. Things aren't dire for NFL players.

    Owing a franchise is very lucrative. Not debating that. But why shouldn't the guy who owns the business make money on it? Because he doesn't play a children's game? I dislike that attitude towards ownership. Without owners, there would be no monetization of football. It's a fact. If it's not profitable, they wouldn't do it. So why is it a crime to not hand over more than 50% of their profits to a portion of the labor force? The owners are vital to the entire operation and THEY made it profitable. YES we go to see the players but we go to see them play in the game the owners set the rules for, wearing the owner's uniforms, playing in the owner's stadiums, playing in the schedule the owner set, being broadcast on TV, the Internet, and radio through broadcast deals the owner negotiated. Without any of that, the players don't sacrifice their bodies. I don't think it's out of line to need 1/2 of the revenue to fund the teams and I don't think that they should be looked at negatively for doing so.

    The problem with unions is people focus on the past when talking about them. They've negotiated plenty of positive things for players. I'm not debating that healthcare, minimum salary, etc are frivolous. What I'm saying is "how much is the union needed NOW?" I understand the CBA is needed to prevent the NFL from antitrust suits, but when the minimum salary is close to $400,000 for rookies with little talent, I just don't see the need for a union this obnoxious. De Smith called the league's proposal last year "the worst deal in sports history" AP, Leonard Weaver, and a couple others all characterized the NFL as modern day slavery. It's the culture in America to bash business and get behind unions because it's somehow noble to hate power and authority. This culture has spread to the NFL where it's cool to trash Goodell and the owners. FRAUDger GODell. I'm not saying blindly fall in line, but what I am saying is nobody even has respect for their bosses in the league. The attitude has spread to fans. Suddenly the guy who admitted that concussions were a problem after decades of denial, cleaned up the game via harsh punishments, and continues to guide the game to be MORE profitable (just look at ESPN, they get worse games every year for MNF and they're paying astronomical amounts) is a villain???? How? The union. They paint him to be a player hating corporate big-wig who just wants to squash the little guy. THIS is why I think the union is frivolous. They've moved on from real issues and they just nag, trash, and impede the league.

    Before you launch off on a pro-NFLPA rant, I must reiterate that I understand the concept of a union IS necessary for the NFL. Players do need representation and protection because of the inherent violence of the game. I'm saying the current manifestation of the union is frivolous.

    I'm not frustrated that NFL players make the salaries they do. I'm obviously a free market guy and I'm happy that the players who deserve more money generally get it whether it's with their team or a new team. My problem is the bellyaching I hear from them and the union about the salaries. They're making "only" 48% on over $9Billion. 1,696 players split $4.3 billion. That's $2.5 million AVERAGE per player. I just can't grasp how that's not fair. I do think that most, not all, players blow through their money carelessly. Warren Sapp, Mark Brunell, TO, Travis Henry...these guys are dead broke. Henry couldn't pay child support and is in jail. Brunell got involved in a bad business deal and is broke. Sapp and TO...who knows. During the lockout, a huge percentage took out a loan from other players, the NFLPA, or 3rd parties. Some loan interest rates from banks for the players was 25%+! It was the biggest concern for the NFLPA. Most players couldn't withstand the lockout even with a war chest and tons of warning for an impending labor strike. I think my opinion is well grounded in fact here.
     
  13. morningwood

    morningwood Cheesehead

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    Unfortunately, if this episode proves anything it is that the culture to blindly accept anything those in authority say. Real journalism is next to non existent. The overwhelming majority of people seem to be incapable of critical thought. The NFL throws up a statement of accusations and people think they have actually seen facts. A power intoxicated tyrant says, "trust me, I have the goods" and most everyone says, "well, okay then" even though the NFL's conclusory statements should raise questions to anyone who slows down long enough to think about what was said.

    Ironically, even Florio and Mike Freeman, two sports journalists who are notoriously anti Saints, are questioning Goodell.

    Hopefully, whether it is a in a courtroom or an arbitration hearing, Goodell's evidence will be subject to genuine scrutiny.
     
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  14. packa7x

    packa7x Cheesehead

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    Florio is just pro-page hits. I do respect Freeman, though. Look at Florio when Sapp revealed Shockey as the whistleblower and look at him now. Big difference.

    But, may I ask, what motivation does Goodell have to make this up?
     
  15. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Basically, everything you've said above boils down to your subjective evaluation regarding the continued necessity of the players union...

    And I understand where you're coming from. I'm a big proponent of free markets myself and in most contexts I believe that unions are no longer "necessary" (in the sense of ensuring minimally-adequate working conditions/ compensation), though the threat of unionization remains a necessary and important deterrent for employers that overreach in a variety of industries.

    My view on the NFLPA has less to do with its continuing utility or some kind of moral righteousness. It has more to do with what players can do. Regardless of your opinion concerning the NFL's current revenue split, the laws of this country permit professional football players to organize and campaign on behalf of their interests. You may not like it but they're free to do it anyway. Again, I suggest you deal with it (as owners have for the most part).

    I continue to find your glorification of owners a bit perplexing. Not because I have a problem with people making money, but because you extend them too much credit in the big scheme of things. They didn't invent the game. From ticket sales to merchandizing to TV contracts, professional baseball provided the model. And hell, it's taxpayers that are building the stadiums nowadays.

    You shower these guys with praise for monetizing "a children's game" without acknowledging the basic principles of free market capitalism you claim to champion: where there's a void in the market, someone will step in to fill it. If it weren't Dan Snyder or Arthur Blank, it would have been someone else. I'm glad for the NFL, I just under no illusion that professional football wouldn't have evolved in some form or another without the current collection of NFL owners. The starry-eyed adoration is a bit ridiculous and the league certainly doesn't need you to rally to their defense when it's employees seek greater wages/benefits.
     
  16. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Good question. So why oppose a more open hearing before an impartial judge? -If Goodell's suspensions are warranted by the evidence, they will be confirmed.

    There's a difference between saying Goodell made all this up and saying that the punishment should be determined by a neutral party after each side is allowed to present its case...
     
  17. morningwood

    morningwood Cheesehead

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    Well I don't respect Freeman. I sincerely can't believe the guy can find a job with a newspaper with a circulation of over 15k. In addition to his history of getting fired for resume' fraud, he is an awfull writer. The guy is dumb as hell, extremely biased and childish.

    As for Goodell, I think it's incredibly naive and dangerous to assume that alleagtions must be true or they would not have been made, Nonetheless, I don't think the question why would Goodell make all of this up out of whole cloth. I am not suggesting that is what happened.

    What I do believe is that Goodell has grossly mischaracterized what occurred and the strength of his evidence. Now I don't know exactly what his motivation was, but I suspect it was a combination of things. There are a number of factors that could have serve as motivation for that:

    With some reports of a pay for performance system Goodell decided to "get ahead"of the story. He did not want to run the risk of the story developing in the press as something more sinister than his investigation showed which could have lead to accusations that he covered up the extent of what occurred.

    Goodell decided to put an end to the pay for performance motivation tool that has been fairly widespread throughout the league. In short, he dedided to use the nuclear option on one team. In order to do that, he needed more than the equivalent of helmet stickers for big plays. He needed a systematic pay for injuries system.

    It was not enough to just nail Gregg Williams for hyperbole. He wanted to take down the "captain of the ship," hence his use of the e-mail to SP from a close associate pledging $5k on Rodgers. Forget the fact that the e-mail was not sent from Ornstein to Payton or that there is absolutely no reason to believe that anyone took Ornstein's e-mail seriously -- Goodell needed that evidence. After all, he reviewed over 50,000 pages of documents, he needed something to report as the result of that search and he needed to tie SP in on this in 2011.

    Goodell did not want to face questions that the league failed to stop the program. Remember, the NFL did some form of investigation in early 2010. Apparently the league walked away from that investigation. Easy enough, rather than run the risk of facing questions of a botched investigation in 2010 and a second investigation in 2012, Goodell simply characterizes this as one three year long investigation. This works out great since it also creates the impression that this is a deliberate, thorough investigation similar to what one would expect in an investigation into an organized crime family.

    I could go on, but I think I will conclude with this overeaching by Goodell is the very type of thing you can expect when someone has too much power. With no one to second guess him, it is possible that he is, to some degree, a vicim of his own tyrrany.
     
  18. packa7x

    packa7x Cheesehead

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    I don't oppose that, I just oppose many inherently believing Goodell is probably lying. By law, everything he did is legal.
     
  19. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    It's not a matter of whether Goodell's actions were legal; it's a matter of whether they were in breach of contract (the CBA). That is what's being disputed right now.

    Although, the league's refusal to embrace a better discipline process in this case certainly invites the speculation that is has exaggerated its evidence...
     
  20. packa7x

    packa7x Cheesehead

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    @Jaybadger, I feel like we're both missing what the other meant.

    All I'm saying with the owners is...you take them away and there's no football like it is. Guys being great at football wouldn't make money without people funding it. At the same time, guys with money can't have football without great foootball players. Fans aren't watching for the owners themselves, I know that. What they are doing is watching a game aired at a carefully planned time in a carefully planned location on a carefully planned network. Yes, the public helps fund the stadium, but without the team's ability to make money, the owners wouldn't be able to get cities to help them out. The city gets tons of added benefits from a stadium. They play in uniforms designed by the teams specifically to create brand recognition. They play on beautifully maintained grass. They're taught by team employees how to improve their game and ascend. Some get there on a team bus or plane. They go to the game after their free meal at the team hotel.

    The current manifestation of the NFL is because of owners, like it or not. They found ways to makevthe game popular and exciting. How fun would it be to go see an untelivised NFL game? Now change the stadium from an 80,000 seat stadium to an 8,000 seat HS stadium. Now change the uniforms from these sleek, shiny, beautiful uniforms, to old, ratty, loose fitting jerseys. The grass has rough patches. The gameplay is exactly the same, though. Could you honestly say you'd shell out $150 a ticket to go see it? I saw an NY Red Bulls soccer game a couple weeks ago and it was horrific. I paid $20 for the ticket, the 20,000 person stadium had MAYBE 7,000 people in it. This is the most popular sport in the world and in an area with extremely high immigration rates, we can't sell out a 20k stadium? I went to a Nets game back in HS. They gave away free tickets to people who showed "acts of kindness" (I still to this day don't know what I did to get the ticket :D)...the Nets won their conference that night to a crowd of maybe 18,000 at Continental Airlines Arena. I paid $5 to see one of the last 20 or so games at Yankee Stadium before they built the new one. The team with 27 titles couldn't come close to selling out their game.

    I went to a Jets-Bills game, both teams were around 4-11 or 3-12. The stadium was packed on New Years Day. It was below freezing. Neither team had a shot. But without fail, the stadium was packed. Why? Everyone could watch it on TV. Why drive out? It's the experience the owners built. You can have the best talent in the world and not have anywhere to show it off and never make a dime off of it.

    Believe me, I know the players deserve tons of money too. Their skill and their bodies are the main product, but it's not the only product that they put out and there are tons of things the owners do/have done that make the skills of the players relevant. It's not insane that they have 52% of the revenue. It will go into improving the game and making it more profitable. It has in the past and it will continue to do that.
     
  21. packa7x

    packa7x Cheesehead

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    The league allowed all of the players to meet with Goodell. They chose not to. Why not?

    That's not how an innocent person acts. Look at the Bountygate reaction by the Saints compared to the wiretapping accusation. There was a resounding "NO!!!". Here we have conflicting statements...

    Williams/Payton/Vitt/Loomis/Benson: There was a bounty system, we're sorry.

    Players: Well, Hargrove was told to say he had no knowledge of a pay-for-performance system. That's not lying and pay-for-performance doesn't mean bounty.

    I guess as the "no evidence" part smells a little fishy to you, the twisting of words seems a little fishy to me.
     
  22. packa7x

    packa7x Cheesehead

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    morningwood, I think you're missing a few pieces in that theory.

    Goodell knew about the Bounty system in 2009 and asked them to stop. They didn't. He spent 3 years gathering evidence. The evidence was reviewed by one of the best attorneys in the county, Mary Jo White, whose job isn't to lie. It's to advise. If she reviewed the evidence and said, "Roger, you can't win this. We have nothing.". Goodell woulsnt have Pursued it. We're talking a woman who has zero interest in lying here. She's a successful attorney already.

    You're assuming one HUGE thing and that's....Goodell as well as an entire team of investigators and outside legal counsil and inside legal counsil all gathered evidence and then found out it wasn't good enough and still conspired to charge the players and lie about it. Fans had no recollection of the investigation in 2010 and if the Saints were NEVER nailed, none of us would have known about it. Pay-for-performanc DOES happen frequently...the Packers got busted for it in 2007...but pay-for-injure does not.

    You're also taking Jonathan Vilma, a guy who had a bounty program at Miami U, at his word. I don't get that at all.
     
  23. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Conceptually, you seem to have a difficult time following the nature of the dispute being litigated here. Try to follow along: the players contend that Goodell lacks authority under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement to weigh the evidence and issue suspensions over the bounty scandal. The players' refusal to meet with Goodell probably stems from the fact they don't recognize his authority to adjudicate the matter.

    Goodell is not a neutral arbiter, which is called for under certain circumstances in the CBA. The players are saying this bounty scandal represents one such circumstance. The lawyers are fighting this out and we'll see what happens.

    Once again, you're confusing the issue of guilt with the issue of fairness in punishment.
     
  24. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    You need to stop referencing Mary Jo White as some sort of credible independent support for the suspensions.

    White grossly exaggerated the nature of the evidence against Hargrove and it's naive to suggest that she has no interest in the matter when the NFL pays her retainer. As an attorney myself, I hardly count her among the best attorneys in the country and her characterization of the Hargrove statement was highly irresponsible. Those are facts.
     
  25. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Again, if you want to celebrate owners for their instrumentality in shaping football as it is, that's fine. I just think it's a bit deluded. It's inevitable that someone would have monetized the sport. The things you credit them for above are the relatively basic tasks that any CEO must undertake run a profitable enterprise. Today's owners didn't invent the wheel; they just happen to be riding an incredible wave of popularity for the sport.

    I'm not particularly bothered when the player's union seeks a larger share of the revenue split. The owners can always lock them out... With regards to this bounty program suspensions, as an interested fan I would love to see the league's evidence against these players considered by a neutral arbiter.
     

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