NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league lead negotiator Jeff Pash met the media yesterday after the owners voted 31-0 to ratify the new labor agreement deal and were asked if players who made comments during the offseason would be dealt with by the NFL under the personal conduct policy. Goodell said he in regards to the enforcement of the personal conduct policy as a whole, he had not given that any thought to it and deferred to Pash who basically said it is his expectation that the personal conduct policy still remains in effect and added that it is a position they have taken consistently, that the Commissioner’s authority has not been changed by any aspect of the new agreement.
When asked specifically about players comments made during the lockout, Pash said that violations of law are covered by the personal conduct policy, but that he did not see any suggestion in the new deal that there would be action taken on a player on the basis of comments. He recognized the fact that the labor negotiations have been stressful and emotional and may have prompted people to say things that maybe they would not say if they reflected on it more. Basically you can interpret those comments as meaning that Steelers linebacker James Harrison will not be fined or suspended for his comments he made about Goodell in the recent issue of Men\’s Journal.
At this point I would be surprised if anything, including the gay slur and the picture Harrison posing with his guns, gets a fine or suspension. It now seems the issue will be left in the hands of the Steelers organization to choose how they will handle Harrison going forward. That being said, Harrison might get a talking to by Art Rooney II and head coach Mike Tomlin, but that will likely be the end of it. Should Harrison be fined or suspended by the team for his comments, the NFLPA would likely file a grievance on the behalf of Harrison. Good news indeed for Deebo.
You can read the transcript of the news conference following Thursday’s NFL meeting in Atlanta on the Atlanta Falcons website.