Inside The Bills

Goodell on his authority as Commissioner

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2016 – 3:41 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was on hand at the Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic as it celebrated its 30th year and had some clear comments on where he and the league stand on his authoritative capacity as the NFL’s ruling figure on player cases.

When asked about all the court litigation the league has had to handle, most notably with the Tom Brady Deflategate saga, Goodell calmly explained that the CBA spells out the authority granted to the NFL Commissioner.

“The CBA is very clear. The Court of Appeals made that clear,” said Goodell. “It’s what we negotiated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. That authority of the Commissioner has been granted. It’s been litigated. More independent judges have had an opportunity to look at it. It’s the reality of the world we live in right now. It’s unfortunate, but if we can find a better system… we’ve said that since we structured our CBA. If there’s a better system let’s do it.

“But when it comes to the integrity of the game that’s the responsibility of the Commissioner. We’re not going to hand the integrity of the game off to somebody who doesn’t have any involvement in the league. That’s for somebody who understands what is important and making sure we maintain that and maintain the competitiveness of our game. And the reality is our rules apply to everybody. They apply to every player and every team and that’s something we’re going to work hard to maintain and not hand that off to somebody else.”

When asked about how long the Brady case has taken with appeals made on both sides, Goodell didn’t deny that the length of time it has taken has affected their game.

“I think that there is a system in place. We moved quite quickly last spring. The judge made a determination last August that the Appeals Court has reversed and said was an incorrect judgment,” he said. “They have the rights to appeal. The legal system is deliberate if you want to put it bluntly because it does impact our game. But we don’t encourage that obviously and we’d like to get that resolved and move forward.”

When asked if there is any avenue for settlement talks for Brady, Goodell gave indication that the Brady case is probably beyond that as an option.

“We’ve had all those discussions,” he said. “We’ve had several discussions over the past year. At this stage no, but right now we’re moving forward, but the courts will make their decisions and we’ll move forward on that basis.”


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