Eric Winston: Players regret giving Roger Goodell “absolute power”

In nearly every critique of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s punishment of the Saints players involved in an alleged bounty system, you’re apt to hear the phrase “judge, jury and executioner.”

Another player’s now saying it’s their own fault Goodell has all those titles. Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston told Jim Corbett of USA Today he regretted the fact the NFLPA didn’t push harder against it during CBA negotiations.

“Obviously we don’t want Roger Goodell having absolute power,” Winston said. “In a lot of this process, it seems like he does. It’s unfortunate. It seems like he’s running amok with it and deciding to do what he wants and it really doesn’t matter what the evidence says. Unfortunately, we don’t have an alternative option to appeal to.

“In that CBA bargaining process, you’re not going to get everything you want. That’s not to say we weren’t trying to curb some of that (power). To say we weren’t trying to do something about that is false. Just from what’s been told to me, there were attempts made. And there’s a tradeoff. To do that, we probably looked at sacrificing playing less games, so you always look at the risk and reward. And try to juggle that.”

So Winston thinks taking away some power from Goodell would have resulted in more regular season games? Linking those two directly seems like a stretch, but there is the fact that the players had the opportunity to curb some of that authority and chose not to push it.

Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, the team’s union rep, said in a text to Corbett the issue wasn’t considered a deal-breaker at the time.

“Yes, the players wish he didn’t have that power, but it wasn’t worth sacrificing CBA [over],” Feely said.

Roddy White might have been among the first to complain about the failure to negotiate some of that power away, but he apparently won’t be the last.

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