Roger Goodell's desire to protect "the shield" apparently is strong as ever.
The Washington Post's Mark Maske recently spoke to several NFL owners and high-ranking officials about the league's negotiations with the NFL Players' Union before the collective bargaining agreement expires in 2020.
Among Maske's insights: The NFL commissioner isn't interested in relinquishing the power that allowed him to suspend New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games over deflated footballs.
Some of those within the sport say that Goodell is open to having the commissioner’s authority reduced in cases of off-field misbehavior by players, but is adamant that the commissioner’s disciplinary authority should not be curbed in matters that affect the integrity of the game, such as the Deflategate case that led to Brady’s four-game suspension.
Goodell is enabled under the current CBA to both enforce discipline and resolve appeals of that discipline, essentially serving as judge, jury and executioner. He did just that in Brady's case, upholding the QB's four-game suspension upon appeal and sending the matter to U.S. court, which reinforced Brady's punishment after his suspension initially was vacated.
It appears Goodell is willing to make concessions in personal misconduct cases like that of Ezekiel Elliott, who was suspended in 2017 as a result of domestic violence allegations. But domestic violence incidents and other criminal offenses seemingly aren't as important to Goodell as protecting the "integrity of the game."
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