Section 1League Discipline
Notwithstanding anything stated in Article 43;
All disputes involving a fine or suspension imposed upon a player for conduct on the playing field (other than as described in Subsection (b) below) or involving action taken against a player by the Commissioner for conduct detrimental to the integrity of, or public confidence in, the game of professional football (other than as described in Subsection (e) below), will be processed exclusively as follows: the Commissioner will promptly send written notice of his action to the player, with a copy to the NFLPA. Within three (3) business days following such written notification, the player affected thereby, or the NFLPA with the player’s approval, may appeal in writing to the Commissioner.
Fines or suspensions imposed upon players for unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct on the playing field with respect to an opposing player or players shall be determined initially by a person appointed by the Commissioner after consultation concerning the person being appointed with the Executive Director of the NFLPA, as promptly as possible after the event(s) in question. Such person will send written notice of his action to the player, with a copy to the NFLPA. Within three (3) business days following such notification, the player, or the NFLPA with his approval, may appeal in writing to the Commissioner.
The Commissioner (under Subsection (a)), or the person appointed by the Commissioner under Subsection (b), shall consult with the Executive Director of the NFLPA prior to issuing, for on-field conduct, any suspension or fine in excess of $50,000.
The schedule of fines for on-field conduct will be provided to the NFLPA prior to the start of training camp in each season covered under this Agreement. The 2020 Schedule of Fines and Aggravating/Mitigating Factors, which have been provided to and accepted by the NFLPA and are attached hereto as Appendix U, shall serve as the basis of discipline for the infractions identified on that schedule. The designated minimum fine amounts will increase by 3% for the 2021 League Year, and each League Year thereafter during the term of this Agreement. On appeal, a player may assert, among other defenses, that any fine should be reduced because it is excessive when compared to the player’s expected earnings for the season in question. A player may also argue on appeal that the circumstances do not warrant his receiving a fine above the amount stated in the schedule of fines.
Fines or suspensions imposed upon players for violating the League’s Personal Conduct Policy, as well as whether a violation of the Personal Conduct Policy has been proven by the NFL, will be initially determined by a Disciplinary Officer jointly selected and appointed by the parties. Unless the parties mutually determine otherwise, the Disciplinary Officer shall serve a minimum two-year term. Thereafter, the Disciplinary Officer may be discharged by either party at any time upon 120 days’ written notice. Upon notice of intention to discharge or notice of intention to resign, the parties will each identify a minimum of two successor candidates. All timely candidates will then be promptly ranked by the parties. Within sixty days, the top two candidates will be interviewed by the parties. Absent agreement on a successor, the parties will alternately strike names from said list, with the party striking first to be determined by the flip of a coin. Should a party fail to identify, rank, interview or strike candidates in a timely manner, that party will forfeit its rights with respect to that step of the appointment process, including selection of the ultimate successor if that party fails to participate in alternate striking.
The Disciplinary Officer will be responsible for conducting evidentiary hearings (pursuant to the procedures of Section 2 below), issuing binding findings of fact and determining the discipline that should be imposed, if any, in accordance with the Personal Conduct Policy.
At least ten (10) calendar days prior to the hearing, the NFL shall inform the NFLPA, player and Disciplinary Officer of the recommended terms of discipline.
The NFL will have the burden of establishing that the player violated the Personal Conduct Policy. The NFL also will publish mitigating factors for discipline which shall include acceptance of responsibility and cooperation, engagement with clinical resources and voluntary restitution.
The Disciplinary Officer’s disciplinary determination will be final and binding subject only to the right of either party to appeal to the Commissioner. The appeal shall be in writing within three business days of the Disciplinary Officer’s decision, and any response to the appeal shall be filed in writing within two business days thereafter. The appeal shall be limited to arguments why, based on the evidentiary record below, the amount of discipline, if any, should be modified. The Commissioner or his designee will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute and will be binding upon the player(s), Club(s) and the parties to this Agreement.