The NFL Players Association filed a non-injury grievance against the NFL on Thursday, challenging the December adoption of the new personal conduct policy and seeking a cease and desist order to prevent the league from implementing it.
The union's letter argued that the league's new policy is inconsistent with the CBA in 10 specific ways, among them that it imposes a new form of player discipline outside of the CBA (via the Commissioner's Exempt List), a new process for assessing discipline and a new probationary period as part of the discipline for detrimental conduct.
When reached for comment, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello issued this statement: "The league's revised conduct policy was the product of a tremendous amount of analysis and work and is based on input from a broad and diverse group of experts within and outside of football, including current players, former players, and the NFL Players Association. We and the public firmly believe that all NFL personnel should be held accountable to a stronger, more effective conduct policy. Clearly, the union does not share that belief."
The union presented a proposal for a new conduct policy to the league in November. The league presented its own policy to the owners at the December league meeting in Dallas, where it voted on and passed the proposal.
The union and league have been at odds over the issue of paid leave. The new policy allows the league to put a player on paid leave while his case is going through the legal process, and that issue is addressed in the NFLPA's letter.
Among the other disagreements outlined by the union are the imposition of discipline based on whether a player seeks counseling or treatment; the use of community service as a form of punishment (which the NFLPA claims was never a previously approved penalty); changes to the Commissioner's role in the discipline process and their ability to appoint a disciplinary panel; and the addition of third-party advisors to the discipline process, an inclusion the NFLPA asserts was "improperly" introduced.
The union did not immediately hear back from the Management Council on the matter.