Potential Legal Mess If Talib Punished

July 18th, 2011

Players are locked out, yet NFL commisioner/hatchetman Roger Goodell has longed claimed he’ll hold players accountable to the league conduct policy during the lockout. That means he’s crack down on alleged offenders whenever the labor mess ends.

It’s the NFL version of dumping your girlfriend and then getting mad her because she was naked in a hot tub with some dude the following night.

Months ago, after Aqib Talib was arrested, Joe talked to a Florida employment lawyer to see if such a move by the NFL could be legal. The attorney gave Joe so many annoying hypothetical scenarios, it was too much to sift through to present simply here. But the overall take from the attorney was that the league didn’t have a stong leg to stand on.

Lawyer and NFL guru Mike Florio, creator ProFootballTalk.com, dives into this point today. Florio, a master at boiling down the boring legal mess of the lockout, isn’t seeing how the NFL and the allegedly disbanded players association can get away with punishing players that stepped out of line since early March.

But we’ll have trouble understanding any understanding that allows the NFL to punish players for arrests occurring during the lockout.  Indeed, a decision by the NFLPA* to expose players retroactively to responsibility for violations of the personal conduct policy could open the door for a fairly potent lawsuit alleging breach of the duty of fair representation, which could open a fairly significant can of worms given that the labor deal will have been negotiated at a time when, technically, the NFLPA* has the power to represent no one.

Common sense applies to Florio’s take. How could the players (non) association negotiate punishments for its members when they’re not being represented? Then there’s still the matter of Goodell playing dictator when he’s closed the door on the players, who are currently without benefits and other terms of their employment.

Joe suspects the legal issues here all but seal that Talib’s situation won’t be addressed by the league until it’s resolved fully by the courts. After that happens, Goodell or the Bucs can always find some sort of loophole to punish Talib, if he doesn’t walk away cleanly from the charges.

11 Responses to “Potential Legal Mess If Talib Punished”

  1. Mauha Deeb Says:

    I agree with you, Joe. If they try to punish an employee via suspension, the legal issue would arise from trying to not pay the suspended players. This will be interesting.

  2. Dave Says:

    It definately looks like talib will get a wait n see approach.

    JOE…. please answer me this though: Why such hatred for Goodell?

    You are always throwing things in like “hatchetman” or “dictator” etc…

    Why? Because he decided to crack down on players who broke the law? I don’t get it.

    Then you say things like “the matter of Goodell playing dictator when he’s closed the door on the players” which is just wrong. The owners locked the players out, not Goodell. He works for them.

    Just trying to understand where the hatred comes from.

  3. Joe Says:


    JOE…. please answer me this though: Why such hatred for Goodell?

    Because of the way he orchestrated and oversaw this asinine lockout, the longest work stoppage in NFL history.

    The owners locked the players out, not Goodell. He works for them.

    And if Goodell wasn’t a puppet, he could have ended this asinine lockout long ago if not prevented it from happening in the first place by both persuasion and arm-bending, the way Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue got things done.

    You are right. Goodell represents the owners. Guess who should get the lion’s share of the blame?

    The longest work stoppage and the lone lockout in NFL history happened under Goodell’s watch.

  4. Macabee Says:

    I commented on this issue in the July 2nd article titled “Innocent until proven Guilty”. Goodell will not incur the legal jeopardy of interviewing Talib before the trial, acquiring information that may be harmful to Talib’s case and risk being subpoenaed by the Dallas County prosecutor to testify because he has no wife/priest/doctor immunity.

  5. OB Says:

    oe this is interesting for a number of reasons. First, in order to do anything to the player they must be paid as per their contract( includes benefits), if not there is no contract.

    Second, if one player is punished does this mean all players will get their pay and benefits?

    Third and to me the most interesting, is the draft, with the lockout does this mean that any draft choice be able to sign with any team when the lockout is over bacuse right now, no one can negotiate with anyone and the rules in effect at the time of the draft are being changed by two organizations that right now have nothing to do with the drafted players since they are unsigned by anyone nor are they being paid by anyone nor are they in the NFL.

    Joe what are your thoughts on this or has anyone ever thought of the draft.

  6. Joe Says:


    Joe what are your thoughts on this

    Joe’s thoughts are he would rather think about Rachel Watson than such weighty issues. Lockout chatter bores Joe.

  7. Macabee Says:

    @Dave, What % of players in the NFL are law-abiding, never get arrested, kind of guys? Since there have been only 22 players arrested since the lockout, would 80-90% be a safe guess? Now, take a poll of all nfl players and see what % supports Goodell. You would think it would be 80-90%, right? WRONG. There is such an overwhelming % of NFL players that disapprove of way the player conduct policy is being administered that one of the remaining issues holding up approval of the new CBA is whether a panel of 3 retired judges will be required to hear any player appeals before fines or suspensions can be enforced – a severe limitation of Goodell’s absolute power.

  8. Jrock Says:

    Anyone know how long Talib is under contract with us? Or is there a site that will reference this information easily…?

    My point being, I -think- Talib is on his last year of his contract with us. If the stuff hits the fan for him it won’t be until he goes to trial, next year, when his contract is up (I think). Looks like we’re in a winning “wait and see” position right now.

    Amirite or Amiwrong?

  9. Joe Says:


    Aqib Talib is under contract with the Bucs through the end of the 2012 season. A good site to monitor contract information is Rotoworld.com.

  10. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Well it looks like Talib will be a Buc for 2011. Third chance guy make the most of it. End of discussion.

  11. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I don’t have a problem with Goddell punishing players for poor conduct. However, I do have a problem with the fact that he is pretty much the sole person making that decision. There is a reason why a trial is judged by 12 people, as opposed to one. Who died and gave him that much power? If you are going to suspend and fine players, then let the penalty be decided by a group of people, not one guy on an ultimate power trip. And under no circumstances is it fair to punish ANY player for conduct that happened during the lockout! That is the most ridiculous argument (except for anything that Thomas 2.2″ says) I have ever heard, and it’s laughable for anyone to try to argue otherwise.