‘Don’t stick your finger in the light socket, Johnny, you’re going to electrocute yourself……. I told you so.’
‘You’re going to get stung if you poke that hornets nest, Jimmy……. I told you so.’
‘You drive too fast around that curve, and this car is going to go right off that cliff….. I told y….’
These statements are pretty easy to define as cause and effect scenarios. They are also followed by that dreaded ‘I told you so’ that usually some schmuck, who thinks he’s smarter than you, decides it’s the best time to point out the obvious outcome of the situation when you are in your most dire straights. Usually it follows with a punch in the neck to that jag – but he’s only a jag because he was right. With regards to the Steelers and this whole Bountygate thing, they can collectively fold their arms in front of their chest and tell the rest of the NFLPA, ‘We told you so.’
A year ago, the NFL, NFLPA and fans across the world were entrenched in a lockout that lasted four and a half months. Does anyone really remember what even the sticking points were during this whole process? It’s hard to forget that this was mainly about revenue sharing between owners and players, but it is easy to forget some of the minor details that resulted from both sides coming to terms to a new CBA. One that tends to fall under the radar, even in a year when punishments were far from sparse, is that the Commissioner, Rodger Goodell, has unilateral control over doling out punishments to players.
The Steelers, as a unified team of athletes and members of the NFLPA, were the only players to refuse ratification of what became the new CBA. Their sticking point? There was no way in hell that they were going to agree to give Rodger Goodell the power to be judge, jury and executioner. Most of the media and fans other than Steeler Nation all saw this as the Steelers just grandstanding and whining because some of their defensive players had a history of illegal hits and other offenses. Far from it. Could it be that the brilliant management tendencies of the front office trickled its way down to the Steelers’ locker room? Because after the revelation of Bountygate and the fallout that has corresponded, that sure seems what actually took place back in late July 2011.
Appeals by all four Saints players were filed last week. The NFLPA, on Thursday, filed two grievances against the NFL and the Commish. Those grievances challenge the imposition of suspensions on the four players guilty of participating in the Saints’ bounty program by Commissioner Roger Goodell, and, more specifically, argue that Goodell should not be the person who presides over the appeals. I haven’t seen the exact language of the CBA, so perhaps the players have a leg to stand on in their grievance. The NFLPA knows that Goodell is going to stay cemented in his decision, so any appeal towards the punishments handed down is practically fruitless. Especially, since Saints coach Sean Peyton was denied appeal .01 seconds after he filed his. Ok, it wasn’t that quick, but an appeals process usually takes a few days of litigation. Peyton was practically denied in 24 hours. It doesn’t bode well for the players, and now they are wallowing in a situation that stems from all the way back to the dog days of summer in 2011.
It reminds me of a classic Homer’ism – ‘Well it seemed like a good idea at the time.’ Indeed, giving Goodell the power to hand out punishments and preside over all proceedings involving them seemed like a very light handed thing to give up when the NFLPA was looking to get more $$$ with a larger slice of the revenue pie. Just don’t do anything illegal, and you’ll be fine. That’s all well and good, until you get caught. Yeah yeah, I know – where’s the evidence? Well the NFL isn’t entirely full of morons. There’s no way they would impose such huge penalties without some shred of evidence that isn’t concrete. The players didn’t come out to defend their honor until only after the punishments came out. Strange. And, their whole ‘side’ smells somewhat fishy. Now we’ve learned that Anthony Hargrove was told by Saints coaches to lie about the existence of the programs. So, it’s hard to believe anybody who was involved. Bottom line – a bunch of players got wrapped up and caught in a shady deal, they’re being punished for it, and now they don’t like that one man can have that much power. Boo freakin’ hoo.
The NFLPA had their opportunity to keep the Commish out of the spanking department altogether – or at the very least denied unilateral power – and they blew it. The Steelers were the only players to see the writing on the walls with a condition such as that and decided ‘thanks but no thanks.’ Unfortunately for the NFLPA, the Steelers didn’t count as a majority. I seriously doubt the NFLPA is going to win their grievances. If it’s within the contract, T.S. friends. On top of all of that, it will set a huge precedence with what Goodell can and can’t do. A full time ban (potential), two full season suspensions, and a handful of other multi-game suspensions…. what’s next?
‘You shouldn’t agree to allow the Commissioner of the NFL to have unilateral power over discipline…. we told you so.’ ~ Sincerely, The Pittsburgh Steelers