NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stressed the need on Wednesday for everyone to understand one's right to a due process but also the interest of owners in protecting the game, according to a report from Michael David Smith of NBC Sports.
The comments come on the same day that NFL team owners met for five hours to discuss domestic violence issues and a possible restructuring of the league's personal conduct policy.
Goodell said one challenge the league is facing is how to deal with players who stand accused of a crime and are subsequently forced to sit out from playing despite not being afforded a fair trial in court. He said in the report that players are owed their due process rights but owners want the ability to keep a player from appearing in a game if the player under investigation stands accused of a crime:
“They obviously understand the balance between due process and protecting the integrity of the game, and sometimes that puts you in a difficult position. When there is strong evidence to the fact that a violation occurred, the question is whether there should be some type of interim step, like a paid leave.”
Possible changes to the personal conduct policy include an option to put a player on a paid leave until a verdict is reached in the legal process. A second potential change would remove Goodell's power as the sole decider on disciplinary issues.
- Marc Weinreich