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NFL, union discuss deal to remove Goodell from discipline process

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.AP file

The NFL and the NFL Players Association are discussing a deal that would remove commissioner Roger Goodell from the process of disciplining players for off-the-field transgressions, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

However, an agreement “will not happen soon” as “significant obstacles remain,” according to the Journal.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said the sides have brainstormed about alternatives to Goodell serving as judge and jury, which is the way things stand under the current collective bargaining agreement that expires in 2020.

“We’ve been talking about changes to the personal conduct policy since October and have traded proposals,” Smith told the Journal. “We looked at the league’s proposal for neutral arbitration. There is a common ground for us to get something done.”

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Other takeaways from the report:

■   One of the alternatives discussed is a three-person arbitration panel. Each side would pick one judge or lawyer, and those two parties together would choose a third member. The arbitrators ideally would have a football background.

■   Smith said a deal would have to include the settlement of ongoing appeals, including the dispute between Tom Brady and the league over the Patriot quarterback’s four-game suspension. “It’s a player decision with what they want to do, but I can’t imagine there is any appetite to agree with any proposal that doesn’t wrap up all the litigation,” Smith said. “We can either continue to litigate or reach a collectively bargained conclusion.”

■   If players want a deal like this to get done, the NFL will likely ask them to agree to an extension of the current CBA. That would wipe out, for now, any chance they have of getting a larger share of league revenue in CBA negotiations.