Goodell and NFL to meet with Smith and players' union about personal conduct policy

SportsAssociated Press

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and players' union chief DeMaurice Smith will meet Tuesday to discuss the league's personal conduct policy.

Goodell and NFL officials will be joined by Smith, the NFL Players Association's executive director, and Eric Winston, the union president.

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At last week's owners meetings, Goodell said two major topics were potential changes to NFL policies to make them more effective, and making decisions in a more timely manner.

"We've had meetings with the union, we've discussed alternatives," Goodell said. "We discussed alternatives internally well in advance of this. We've been looking at it over the last year or so. Are there different alternatives that would make it more efficient or effective?"

Winston told The Associated Press last week that the league needs to "bring in the players in the process and collectively bargain a comprehensive and transparent personal conduct policy."

Goodell previously said he hoped a revamped policy would be ready by the Super Bowl.

"We are working consistently on this. Nonstop on this," he said. "We continue our meetings with outside experts, people that can give us perspective, whether they are in the military or law enforcement, with former players, the union.

"So we are continuing our work with the intention to do this as quickly as possible. But most importantly, we want to make sure that this is thorough, that this is done right. We won't let perfect get in the way of better. But we certainly want to make sure that we get the right kind of policy in place as quickly as possible. I have no reason to believe that we will exceed the timeline I gave you. I think we will beat it, but we'll see."

One potential hang-up: Goodell's role in the disciplinary process. The union favors a neutral arbiter in all such decisions, but the commissioner has been reluctant to cede power in those matters.

"I come back to the point and I can't get past it: Our game is worse off because Roger has held all this power," Winston said. "Instead of collectively bargaining a personal conduct policy, instead of bringing in the players, it is, 'We know best and you don't.'

"The game is worse off because of choices they have made. We're hoping they will recognize there are flaws in the system."

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