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Old 11-08-2010, 08:58 AM   #1
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Default NFLPA vows to challenge NFL discipline

NFLPA vows to challenge 'unfair and disproportionate' discipline by NFL
02:13 PM
Nov 07, 2010

NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith lent his support to the criticism Pittsburgh Steelers S Troy Polamalu heaped upon commissioner Roger Goodell last week.

Smith joined Polamalu in protesting the league's nearly unchecked power to discipline players for on-field conduct and vowed to fight the league over the issue.

"We will challenge and appeal any disciplinary decision that is unfair and disproportionate," Smith told ESPN. "The players want to be part of a league and business that doesn't just fine its way to health and player safety."

The NFL issued two major fines last week -- $50,000 to Philadelphia's Ernie Sims and $20,000 to Pittsburgh's James Harrison -- for illegal hits as part of its promise to increase discipline for such violations. Harrison's punishment came two weeks after he was fined $75,000 for an illegal hit in Week 6.

Polamalu said last week that Goodell has too much power and he called for more input -- including some from current players -- in the process of metering out discipline and then hearing appeals.

Goodell gets input from assistants such as VP of football operations Ray Anderson and director of football operations Merton Hanks -- a four-time Pro Bowler during his career -- in the discipline process.

Harrison appealed his $75,000 fine and Sims vowed to appeal his fine, which he called "outrageous."

The discipline issue could arise as an issue in the talks for a new CBA that the league and union are currently engaged in.

"Players want a fair and transparent disciplinary process, but they also want health care and rights that will protect them from the dangers of the game," Smith told ESPN.

-- Sean Leahy
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