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NFLPA president: Goodell’s discipline hurts competitive balance

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Press Conference

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 05: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a press conference prior to Super Bowl 50 at the Moscone Center West on February 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

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NFL Players Association President Eric Winston says Commissioner Roger Goodell’s approach to discipline leads to unfair scheduling around the league.

“I think the one thing that has been lost in this conversation is how much it’s affected competitive balance throughout the league,” Winston said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “The NFL is always so big on competitive balance but you see these random suspensions that have been handed down over the last two, three years, it’s definitely affected competitive balance.”

With the suspension everyone is talking about this summer, Tom Brady’s four-game ban, that means the Cardinals get to play against Jimmy Garoppolo in Week One, but the other three NFC West teams will have to play against Brady later in the season. And the Bills and Dolphins each get one game against Garoppolo, but the Jets will have to play twice against Brady later in the season.

“Your team might be playing with a guy who should have been out there but wasn’t out there. You know how it is with the schedules in the league,” Winston said.

Of course, that happens all the time with player injuries. And it’s always going to be true any time a player is suspended in the NFL. But Winston worries that Goodell’s approach to suspension is making it a particularly big problem, giving some teams advantages and some teams disadvantages, based on the schedule and Goodell’s whims.