The Pittsburgh Steelers as a team voted against ratifying the new CBA last summer and now it appears several players across the league wished they had done the same.
Jim Corbett of the USA Today reported on Monday that Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston expressed deep regret to his medium that the NFLPA didn\’t do more to curb the disciplinary and appeal powers of commissioner Roger Goodell in light of the appeal hearings of the players involved in Bountygate.
“Obviously we don\’t want Roger Goodell having absolute power. In a lot of this process, it seems like he does,” said Winston. “It\’s unfortunate. It seems like he\’s running amok with it and deciding to do what he wants and it really doesn\’t matter what the evidence says. Unfortunately, we don\’t have an alternative option to appeal to.”
Winston is not alone as Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White took to Twitter with his disgust on Monday as well. White stated in his social media rant that he never wanted to sign that voting card and that he doesn\’t know why they are all complaining, because they did all of this to themselves. He stated that he blames the NFLPA for failing the players.
Steelers union player rep Ryan Clark must feel like a prophet of sorts as he warned about the power that Goodell would hold moving forward. Clark summed it up back in early August of last year why the Steelers as a team would likely vote against ratifying the CBA. “With Roger Goodell having total control over the fine process, that\’s a deal-breaker for us in this situation.” Clark also added, “We feel like someone else should be on there,” as he talked about the appeals and disciplinary process. “There should be some … type of way — actually someone who\’s not on the NFL payroll. A big issue, for us, especially, as a team, is Roger Goodell … being judge, jury and appeals system.”
Corbett also heard from Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, the team’s union rep, via a text to say that the issue wasn’t considered a deal-breaker at the time. “Yes, the players wish he didn’t have that power, but it wasn’t worth sacrificing CBA [over],” Feely said.
Perhaps it should have been, but it appears to be too late now. Other players and reps may have thought that Clark was over the top with his thinking at the time because of all of the discipline the Steelers as a team had received over the last few years. The NFLPA had a model case of the power that Goodell had right in front of them, but they, as a group, chose to ignore it.
I am not saying what the Saints players did is right as the evidence seems overwhelmingly against them. Regardless of what is real and what is false, I bet all involved wish there was a third party to rule on it and handle the discipline.
One thing is for certain. Whatever happens moving forward over these next 9 years, the NFLPA can\’t say that Clark and the Steelers didn\’t try to warn them.