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Roger Goodell says he’s ‘very open’ to handing off some of his NFL disciplinary duties

Roger Goodell

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell leaves Federal Court in New York on Aug. 31.

(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

Roger Goodell is a busy guy.

A big reason for that is all the time he spends handling disciplinary issues.

So if sometime in the near future someone else ends up having a voice in such matters, that’s why. Not because the NFL Players Assn. thinks the commissioner has too much power or anything like that.

That’s what Goodell seemed to say during a radio interview Tuesday morning when asked about his role in the league’s discipline process.

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“I’m very open to changing my role in that,” Goodell said. “It’s become extremely time-consuming. I think I have to be focused on a variety of other issues. And that’s what I’ve discussed with many owners over the last couple of years.

“We believe a discipline officer or some type of a panel, who could make at least the initial decision and then a designee of mine on some type of appeal would be a better system.”

He added: “But we also have some resistance to a third-party arbitration. We believe the standards of the NFL are important to uphold. We believe you don’t delegate that responsibility or those standards. We believe someone with a deep knowledge of the game and our policies and our rules are important, particularly when it relates to competitive violations.”

Last week, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman on Thursday erased the four-game suspension Goodell had given to New England quarterback Tom Brady for his role in an alleged football-deflating scheme.

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As Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer wrote at the time: “The decision undermines Goodell’s authority to hear the appeals of penalties he has imposed, and could lay the groundwork for a fundamental change in the way the league punishes players.”

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