Ryan Clark: Too much commish power
LATROBE, Pa. -- Another Pittsburgh Steeler has some strong words for Roger Goodell.
Less than three weeks after linebacker James Harrison made some inflammatory comments about the NFL commissioner to Men's Journal magazine, safety Ryan Clark on Wednesday criticized the power Goodell holds, particularly when it comes to disciplining players.
"How often did you hear (former commissioner) Paul Tagliabue's name throughout the season?" Clark said. "I think (Goodell has) decided to make himself a major part of this game. I don't know if he had some type of high school dreams or Pop Warner dreams of being an NFL football player, but he's made himself the NFL. He is the most popular -- or infamous -- commissioner in sports right now, you know? Maybe that's what he wanted to be. We know he doesn't work for us, he doesn't work with us."
I don't know if he had some type of high school dreams or Pop Warner dreams of being an NFL football player, but he's made himself the NFL.” -- Ryan Clark on Roger Goodell
Despite Clark's concerns, it appeared Goodell's power to make those decisions would remain undiminished under the new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players' union. League sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Goodell would retain exclusive control over the personal conduct policy when the new CBA is ratified, which is expected Thursday.
However, players likely will be able to appeal suspensions under the drug policy to an independent arbitrator, league sources told Schefter.
Clark stated that Steelers players likely will not vote to ratify the new agreement unless Goodell's power is limited when it comes to fines or suspensions.
"With Roger Goodell having total control over the fine process, that's a deal-breaker for us in this situation," Clark said.
Goodell saw it differently from Clark, but indicated to NFL Network on Wednesday there were no plans to take disciplinary action against Harrison in the wake of his recent incendiary comments.
"We have a personal conduct policy that's developed with the players that's part of our negotiations. It's important to the players in the league as well as the clubs," Goodell told the NFL Network. "I think it's one of the reasons why we continue to have the reputation that we have, which we're going to conduct ourselves the right way and reflect well on what we do and the people who play this game and the fans who deserve that respect. So we're going to continue to make sure we do things the right way on and off the field."
The Steelers have been one of the most-fined teams in the league, particularly Harrison, and they have been vocal about what they see as unfair treatment by the NFL.
"We feel like someone else should be on there; there should be some ... type of way -- actually someone who's not on the NFL payroll," Clark said. "A big issue, for us, especially, as a team, is Roger Goodell ... being judge, jury and appeals system."
Clark took issue when he was asked if he had spoken to Steelers president Art Rooney II about lobbying Goodell on the players' behalf. "I'm talking about the commissioner -- not my owner," Clark said. "Our owner is a good owner."
The line of questioning ultimately led Clark to become agitated with the reporter who asked it, a Pittsburgh radio talk-show host. The two exchanged words and stood chest-to-chest before team personnel and players broke it up.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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