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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
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Default League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

League Discipline and Legal Reality -- MMQB/SI
As it reels from one decision to the next, the NFL and its teams are finding out just how hard it is to come up with a consistent and coherent policy of punishment for players beyond the justice system
By Stephanie Stradley @StephStradley

Quote:
I am a lawyer in Texas and an unabashed follower of the Houston Texans. I was asked to write this for The MMQB because of the strong response to a post on my personal blog, “What is sensible discipline for NFL player misconduct?” To try to move the discussion forward, I wanted here to specifically address how the league and the public should be thinking about player discipline. These issues are not easily reduced to a sound bite, a press conference, a 140-character tweet or debate-rage TV.

No one feels good about the reactive, inconsistent way in which the NFL and its teams have dealt with player discipline in recent days, or even recent years. But should we be surprised that the league’s disciplinary decisions have felt random and haphazard? It’s hard enough for criminal justice professionals, who look at a variety of factors beyond simply the nature of the offense, to determine appropriate punishment. For sports leagues that are embracing the role of moral arbiters on an ad hoc basis, it is nearly impossible to come up with one-size-fits-all disciplinary scheme without sacrificing a measure of integrity or fairness.

Every reasonable person agrees that...
Our own Stephanie Stradley, a.k.a. as TexansChick, on SI/Peter King's MMQB
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

I don't know why football players should be held to any different standards than regular working people.

If you work for a Fortune 500 company, getting arrested can get you fired, even before you have your day in court.

In my industry, just getting arrested for a DUI can cause you to lose your employment if you deliver cargo, for instance. No proof of guilt, but the arrest itself is often enough to be terminated. Drivers don't get paid while they sit home and wait for a court date.

Why do we, as a society, put these athletes on a pedestal and accept double-standards that are not afforded to the rest of us? Simply because they entertain us?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

Good article by Steph as always. Can one of our resident legal experts or law enforcement members expound on this quote from a response to her article: "Being arrested has a standard of evidence that is higher than simply being accused."
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

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Originally Posted by Double Barrel View Post
I don't know why football players should be held to any different standards than regular working people.

If you work for a Fortune 500 company, getting arrested can get you fired, even before you have your day in court.

In my industry, just getting arrested for a DUI can cause you to lose your employment if you deliver cargo, for instance. No proof of guilt, but the arrest itself is often enough to be terminated. Drivers don't get paid while they sit home and wait for a court date.

Why do we, as a society, put these athletes on a pedestal and accept double-standards that are not afforded to the rest of us? Simply because they entertain us?

In my industry you do not get in trouble for DWIs so long as you report it to your manager. I'm sure if my job was to drive around a deliver things it would be different but there are plenty of cases that arrest don't equal termination and in plenty others even convictions do not equal termination.

In my opinion the nfl is being held to a different standard
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

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Originally Posted by Double Barrel View Post
I don't know why football players should be held to any different standards than regular working people.

If you work for a Fortune 500 company, getting arrested can get you fired, even before you have your day in court.

In my industry, just getting arrested for a DUI can cause you to lose your employment if you deliver cargo, for instance. No proof of guilt, but the arrest itself is often enough to be terminated. Drivers don't get paid while they sit home and wait for a court date.

Why do we, as a society, put these athletes on a pedestal and accept double-standards that are not afforded to the rest of us? Simply because they entertain us?
Does the fact that it happens in some industries make it right? Call it a double standard if you want, but innocent until proven guilty is the better standard in my book star RB or trash hauler.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

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"Being arrested has a standard of evidence that is higher than simply being accused."
No legal eagle, but I assume they're talking about probable cause vs. finger pointing.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

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Originally Posted by playa465 View Post
Good article by Steph as always. Can one of our resident legal experts or law enforcement members expound on this quote from a response to her article: "Being arrested has a standard of evidence that is higher than simply being accused."
They're wrong. There is no standard of evidence for an arrest. Everybody would like there to be probable cause but you're cuffed and stuffed regardless.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

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Originally Posted by infantrycak View Post
Does the fact that it happens in some industries make it right? Call it a double standard if you want, but innocent until proven guilty is the better standard in my book star RB or trash hauler.
When a player's behavior reflects negatively on the the league and potentially affects the bottom line, I think the league has a right to do business however it desires.

As you've said in other threads, standards for court are not the same standards for private businesses.

"Right" and "wrong" are purely subjective in these situations where a company is protecting it's brand.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

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When a player's behavior reflects negatively on the the league and potentially affects the bottom line, I think the league has a right to do business however it desires.

As you've said in other threads, standards for court are not the same standards for private businesses.

"Right" and "wrong" are purely subjective in these situations where a company is protecting it's brand.
Totally agree. Personally I err on the side of letting the proof come out.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

All of this can really be reduced down to a simple mistrust of the justice system. We've all seen too many athletes treated differently and get away with whatever it is they allegedly did. From a corporate standpoint, the NFL would be better off disciplining a player for a conviction. Players accused, indicted, and/or arrested have not committed a crime, necessarily. But for we fans (and sponsors) to accept that policy, we have to have faith that the justice system will do the right thing.

People don't.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #11
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

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Originally Posted by infantrycak View Post
Totally agree. Personally I err on the side of letting the proof come out.
tbh, I don't have a hard opinion on this like I do with say, child abuse.

My initial post was just gut reaction stuff after reading Steph's blog.

I would tend to agree with you, though, that proof might be the ultimate indicator, simply because getting arrested can stem from a variety of parameters that does not equal guilt/proof.

I certainly do not have concrete answers for the entire situation. The league finds itself between a rock and a hard place, trying to balance reactionary measures to appease fans/sponsors while also not going overboard with it.

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Originally Posted by eriadoc View Post
All of this can really be reduced down to a simple mistrust of the justice system. We've all seen too many athletes treated differently and get away with whatever it is they allegedly did. From a corporate standpoint, the NFL would be better off disciplining a player for a conviction. Players accused, indicted, and/or arrested have not committed a crime, necessarily. But for we fans (and sponsors) to accept that policy, we have to have faith that the justice system will do the right thing.

People don't.
Well said, man. And really highlights some of the inherent flaws with a justice system that clearly favors better representation. Of course, paraphrasing Churchill, our judicial system is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #12
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

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Well said, man. And really highlights some of the inherent flaws with a justice system that clearly favors better representation. Of course, paraphrasing Churchill, our judicial system is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried.
That was well said eriadoc.

But you bring up the key point - it's one thing to beotch about a system not being perfect and entirely another to come up with something better.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #13
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

I'd really rather have all these guys still playing until they've been through the process and then have the NFL decide what their convictions (assuming they were convicted of something) and/or the evidence that was presented in their trials merit.

In the case of Ray Rice we've all seen evidence that to me justifies the league dropping the hammer on him. With Peterson it's the same thing. The video of Rice's punch, the pictures of Peterson's sons cuts and welts are enough to justify sitting them down and in the case of Rice sending him packing (Peterson might be heading down that road too). Absent those bits of evidence I'd prefer that the league and the teams wait until the process plays out to respond. Allegations alone aren't enough. They raise a huge flag but at some point an angry wife of a player who just found out he's been screwing around is going to go ape-shit crazy on him and he's going to do something stupid like push her down. Next thing you know it's going to be police report/arrest/inactive and he's going to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions) over it. I guess I'm saying allegations are enough for law enforcement to act and investigate but the league needs to be careful about how they proceed and consistent in how they respond.

As for the players I think they should be held to a higher standard and see nothing wrong with that. They're role models whether they like it or not and are also very well compensated. I think a very high standard of character/behavior isn't unreasonable to ask of them.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #14
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

Quote:
Originally Posted by eriadoc View Post
All of this can really be reduced down to a simple mistrust of the justice system. We've all seen too many athletes treated differently and get away with whatever it is they allegedly did. From a corporate standpoint, the NFL would be better off disciplining a player for a conviction. Players accused, indicted, and/or arrested have not committed a crime, necessarily. But for we fans (and sponsors) to accept that policy, we have to have faith that the justice system will do the right thing.

People don't.
Excellent point.
Remember those college guys (from NC maybe??) who were convicted by the court of public opinion for molesting a female student but eventually found totally innocent..?
Let the justice system do it's job - without misinformed or under-informed talking heads prejudging the case before it has run its course.

Another thing that bugs me about this issue is that the root cause hasn't been addressed by anyone that I've heard. And to me, that issue is anger management. Suspending these guys isn't getting them the help they need. Now they're just unemployed large human males who can't control their anger.
Will suspending/cutting these guys make them better fathers/boyfriends/husbands/citizens??
I don't see how
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Old 1 Week Ago   #15
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

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Originally Posted by infantrycak View Post
innocent until proven guilty is the better standard in my book.
Our justice system is built around due process .... and our constitution guarantees that right.


Without due process and adherence to our constitution .... we may as well be North Korea.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #16
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

I thought that Drew Brees thoughts were quite interesting.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11...-roger-goodell

Last edited by StarStruck; 1 Week Ago at 08:55 PM.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #17
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

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I thought that Drew Brees thoughts were quite interesting.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11...-roger-goodell
I have to say Brees has a point...
Quote:
And Brees said he hopes the NFL's latest controversies will finally lead to a new disciplinary system that is fair, transparent and includes the NFL Players Association and independent experts instead of the "unilateral" system that has been in place with "no checks and balances."
"Too many times, I'd say especially over the last few years, a punishment's been handed down and nobody has really seen the evidence except for those in the league office -- supposedly," Brees said. "So decisions were made in kind of a, 'Hey, trust us.' But did the public see any of the facts? Did the accused see any of the facts? In most cases, no."
I know where I work there's a standard process where it's known that transgression X can and will get you punishment Y. And there's an appeal process where HR, the employees' union and independent management types are brought in to hear the he said/she said of the transgression and the circumstances.

In the NFL, not so much.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #18
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Default Re: League Discipline and Legal Reality -- Steph Stradley for MMQB

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Originally Posted by Double Barrel View Post
I don't know why football players should be held to any different standards than regular working people.

If you work for a Fortune 500 company, getting arrested can get you fired, even before you have your day in court.

In my industry, just getting arrested for a DUI can cause you to lose your employment if you deliver cargo, for instance. No proof of guilt, but the arrest itself is often enough to be terminated. Drivers don't get paid while they sit home and wait for a court date.

Why do we, as a society, put these athletes on a pedestal and accept double-standards that are not afforded to the rest of us? Simply because they entertain us?
Because we pay them well enough to hire good lawyers.
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