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September 7, 2019
Independent Arbitrators are seeing a lot of Antonio Brown
The tipping point for Antonio Brown was an altercation with Raiders GM Mike Mayock in which Brown called Mayock a "Cracker," which to us white folk, is as derogatory as you can get.
The Raiders have shown remarkable patience in dealing with Brown, whoch should give you an indication of just how talented he is... on the field.
Now, the Raiders have cut him with $0.00 dollars due. However, Brown will file a grievance with the NFL to get some money out of the situation. The case will be handled by independent arbitrators. Mike Florio, of ProFootballTalk, posted an excellent article last month about just how neutral and independent the arbitrators who resolve issues like the Antonio Brown situation.
If you've paid attention to how most media (me included) discuss the arbitrators in the Antonio Brown case we always use the terms “neutral” and “independent” when describing them, but most of us don't have a clue whether they are, or not.
Independent Arbitrator means a neutral and impartial arbitrator (i) who is listed on the American Arbitration Association's national roster of arbitrators, (ii) who has not had and does not have any past, current or potential business, professional, or personal relationship with any of the Parties involved in the arbitration proceedings which would interfere with the exercise of independent judgment in carrying out his or her responsibilities as an arbitrator, and (iii) whose conduct is guided by the Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes.
It's a little different in the NFL. Article 43, Section 6 of the CBA shows just how vulnerable each member of the arbitration panel maintained by the NFL and NFL Players Association is to losing the assignment.
The CBA requires the establishment of a four-person pool of arbitrators, with one of assigned (presumably randomly) to handle each non-injury grievance. Every year, in a window that opens on July 10 and closes on July 20, the NFL and the NFLPA have the right to fire any member of the arbitration panel, no questions asked. And if one side exercises that right, the other side has the ability to fire another member of the arbitration panel within the next two days, again no questions asked, per Florio.
This means that, while each arbitrator has independence over every given grievance, there’s a big-picture dance in which each arbitrator must engage in order to keep the job over the long haul. If/when an arbitrator strings together too many rulings in favor of the NFLPA, the NFL may be inclined to pull the , and vice-versa. And if the gets pulled as to one arbitrator who skews too far in the direction of one side, the remaining arbitrator of the four (now three) who is regarded as being the most favorable to the other side ends up on the endangered species list.
While the arbitrators are neutral and independent in each given case, the broader circumstances — influenced by the annual threat of summarily being fired — makes them less neutral and independent than the labels would suggest.
To read Florio's complete article click HERE.
Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News
Some content sourced and verified from: AASNSports; ProFootballTalk; NFLCBA; LawInsider
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