IRVING, Texas - NFL owners moved quickly and unanimously Wednesday to change the league's personal-conduct policy. Now the question is how, or whether, the players union responds.
The league announced it will hire a special counsel for investigations and conduct to oversee initial discipline, but commissioner Roger Goodell will retain authority to rule on appeals. The commissioner also may appoint a panel of independent experts to participate in appeals.
Amid questions over his handling of domestic violence cases involving Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, the union wants Goodell removed entirely from the disciplinary process. The players believe any changes to the personal-conduct policy should be part of labor negotiations.
The union has sought negotiations with the NFL on any revamping of the policy, and said Tuesday it would "reserve the right to take any and all actions" should the owners act unilaterally. The union could consider the vote by owners a violation of the collective bargaining agreement reached in 2011, giving the union cause to file a grievance.
"Our union has not been offered the professional courtesy of seeing the NFL's new personal-conduct policy before it hit the presses," the union said in a statement issued after Wednesday's vote. "Their unilateral decision and conduct today is the only thing that has been consistent over the past few months."