The NFL was forced to scramble early this season when domestic violence incidents were brought against Peterson, Baltimore’s Ray Rice (who was subsequently released) and Carolina’s Greg Hardy. The NFLPA has argued for the last several months that the use of the Commissioner’s Exempt List as a form of punishment outside the scope of typical suspensions was the result and that the league was violating its own collectively bargained system of imposing punishment.
The players association maintains that the new policy deviates from the current collective bargaining agreement in 10 different ways, including a new policy for handing down suspensions, the use of the Commissioner’s Exempt List to create a new form of punishment and a new probationary period as part of punishment for “detrimental conduct.”
Other points of contention by the union is that discipline can be lengthened or shortened based on whether a player seeks treatment or counseling, using community service as a form of punishment/restitution (which typically is only imposed by a court in a criminal proceeding), creating its own disciplinary panel, increases in the power wielded by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the addition of outside advisors to be included in the disciplinary process.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello released a statement: “The league's revised conduct policy was the product of a tremendous amount of analysis and work and is based on input from a broad and diverse group of experts within and outside of football, including current players, former players, and the NFL Players Association. We and the public firmly believe that all NFL personnel should be held accountable to a stronger, more effective conduct policy. Clearly, the union does not share that belief.”
The NFLPA presented a proposal for a new conduct policy to the league office in November. When the owners met last month in Dallas, the league’s own proposal was submitted and ratified by the owners.