A string of questionable punishments handed out by the NFL recently has forced the NFL Players Association to take legal action.
Troy Vincent works for the NFL and is in part responsible for these punishments. But that didn’t stop him from criticizing the NFLPA for its spending habits.
“Look at the amount of money being spent on legal fees for a handful of people,” Vincent, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, recently told ESPN’s Ashley Fox. “It’s millions and millions of dollars, and we’ve got players that are hurting. We’ve got young men who don’t know how to identify a good financial adviser. Men are in transition who aren’t doing well, and yet $8-10 million a year is spent in court fees about who should make a decision on someone, who in some cases has committed a crime.”
Vincent, who once served as the NFLPA’s president, was referencing the high-profile cases of players such as Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and Tom Brady, all of whom filed appeals after receiving varying degrees of discipline from the NFL.
“Think about that logically,” Vincent added. “Wouldn’t it be better to spend our time and resources on the issues that are vital to our players — past, present and future — such as the players’ total wellness and growing the game together?”
It certainly would be better, but unfortunately Vincent and the league have forced the NFLPA’s hand by dispensing discipline without following specific guidelines, which must be appealed to protect players’ rights.
Brady’s case is the latest example. While his case certainly differs from those of Rice, Peterson and Hardy, Brady’s four-game Deflategate suspension — which Vincent handed down himself — was an unprecedented punishment that the New England Patriots quarterback and the NFLPA had little choice but to challenge.
The NFLPA does need to spend less money on legal fees, but Vincent and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can play a key role in making that happen.
UPDATE (4:09 p.m. ET): NFLPA spokesman George Atallah had this to say after Vincent’s comments to ESPN spread.
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