Roger Goodell retains authority to punish Aqib Talib, others
When the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement was ratified Thursday, commissioner Roger Goodell scored a victory that could impact Bucs star cornerback Aqib Talib.
Goodell will retain his authority to discipline players at his discretion for off-field behavior, perhaps even for players’ conduct during the NFL lockout. Goodell has in the past issued suspensions for arrests even before cases were adjudicated or in cases where there was not a formal finding of guilt. Talib was suspended for one game last season after a 2009 arrest resulted in a deal with prosecutors.
Talib was one of a handful of players arrested during the league’s four-months long work stoppage and faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Garland, Texas. His trial is set for March, after the completion of the NFL season. It was expected the players union would challenge Goodell’s wide latitude on discipline, with suggestions including using a panel of former judges to oversee disciplinary matters. But Goodell and the league showed no intention of backing down on the issue.
“I’m not going to hand off the brand . . . of the NFL to somebody who is not associated with the NFL,” he said Wednesday according to the Associated Press. “I promise you that.”
The Bucs had been privately expecting this outcome during final CBA negotiations, though it’s still very unclear when and if Goodell will act.