Ray Rice Appeal: NFL's New, New Conduct Policy

Written by  Cedric Hopkins November 29, 2014
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Sometimes in my life I see things and then look around confused like, “Am I the only one seeing this shit?!?” I had that exact thought when I read the NFL’s statement following Judge Barbara Jones’ overturning Ray Rice’s discipline. Here’s a portion of the league’s statement:

“Judge Jones’ ruling underscores the urgency of our work to develop and implement a clear, fair and comprehensive new personal conduct policy. We expect this policy to be completed and announced in the weeks ahead. Our focus is on consistently enforcing an improved policy going forward.”


If you’re a parent, you’re the CEO of a small company: your family. Let’s take a look at how this looks if you were implementing a “conduct policy” for your children.

First, you have rules that you know are ineffective—the kids are receiving insufficient punishments that don’t deter the bad behavior whatsoever. Your extended family let’s you know your rules suck and your kids are out of control, so you change them overnight.

And you change the policy only after one of your family members posted a video on Facebook of your children peeing in grandma’s fridge, trying to flush the cat down the toilet and hogtieing the neighbor’s dog.

Not only do you change the rules overnight, you tell little Timmy that the new, impulsively changed rules apply to the stuff he did a couple of months ago and that he’s punished again for giving the cat a swirly.

Well that doesn’t make sense to little Timmy, so he goes and tells grandma all about it. Grandma overturns the punishment for obvious reasons and scolds Timmy’s parents, letting them know they need to be fair and consistent. “Get a backbone!” grandma tells them.

So Timmy’s parents sit up tall and immediately announce that they will be working on a “new, new” conduct policy and pinkie promise it’s going to be implemented fair and square.

That’s what the NFL did by making the statement they are going to “work to develop and implement a clear, fair and comprehensive new personal conduct policy” following the Rice decision.

They already did that on August 28 with the letter sent by Roger Goodell. That letter was the new personal conduct policy. Now, after having its bottom spanked by Judge Jones, the league wants to create a bright and shiny, new, new personal conduct policy. I wonder what’ll happen if they lose the Adrian Peterson appeal. Maybe a new, new, new personal conduct policy will be announced.

NFL, I like your focus, you just gotta change your aim. The problem isn’t the policy (any of them), it’s the guy implementing it.

That's you Goodell. Just stop it. You don’t get it. Now go sit on Uncle Adam Silver’s lap so he can teach you all about running a league and executing a conduct policy. 

Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins Bio

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).

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