In the aftermath of the 2020 collective bargaining agreement, things were as good as they have been in years between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. All good things, however, come to an end.
According to a source familiar with the situation, the Deshaun Watson the case drove a major wedge between the league and the union. The relationship has deteriorated, significantly, due to the NFL’s decision to appeal the decision handed down four days ago by the jointly hired disciplinary officer under the Personal Conduct Policy, Federal Judge retired Sue L. Robinson.
The union should not be surprised that this is so. The 2020 CBA changed the disciplinary procedure, but it allowed the league to retain full authority over the appeals process. Did the union really think the league would choose not to wield the power it bargained for?
Beyond the potential consequences of not being tough enough with players who violate women’s rights, the NFL generally doesn’t have a habit of sacrificing its power. He exercises his power to remind that: (1) he has the power; and (2) if the union wants to change the situation, there is a way to do it — by giving up something else in return.
At the end of the line ? The NFLPA let the league retain control over the appeals process. It would be foolish for the union to think the league was just going to throw him out on purpose – especially in a case like this.