|Talib and Britt were two of the eight names on the NFL's suspension list. (AP/Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Earlier this week, the NFL suspended Bengals running back Cedric Benson for three games for player-conduct violations that happened during the lockout. It seemed peculiar that Benson would face sanctions while Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib and Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt -- two players who found plenty of trouble this offseason -- had avoided NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's wrath.
Turns out, Talib and Britt aren't in the clear yet. According to Yahoo.com's Jason Cole, "Talib, Benson and Britt are among eight players who the NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed could be suspended under the league’s personal conduct policy for incidents during the NFL lockout."
The other names, according to two Yahoo.com sources: Albert Haynesworth, Clark Haggans, Brandon Underwood, Johnny Jolly and Adam "Pacman" Jones.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined to discuss the report with Yahoo.com. NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said in an email that “I don’t believe any of those players received any discipline, correct?” but Cole writes that Atallah didn't answer when pressed about the NFLPA's involvement.
But Atallah tweeted Sunday that "[S]tory that De(Maurice Smith)/NFLPA agreed to a list of players being disciplined for stuff during lockout is false." Which prompted ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio to tweet in response, "@GeorgeAtallah..., George, I have the letter. De's signature is on it. He agrees to allow 8 players to be disciplined."
During a July radio appearance, former NFL safety Darren Sharper was asked whether Steelers linebacker James Harrison should be suspended for disparaging comments he made about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, even though those comments were made during the lockout. Sharper said the NFL Players Association "would have an issue if (Harrison) were suspended or fined."
While Harrison wasn't one of the eight players listed above, we're guessing Sharper's general point still holds: the NFL's overreaching its authority when it starts disciplining players during a lockout.
PFT.com's Florio wrote in July that "one source with general knowledge of the dynamics recently suggested that Goodell and NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith already have come to an understanding on the point."
Two months later, that now appears to be the case.
Florio added: "But we’ll have trouble understanding any understanding that allows the NFL to punish players for arrests occurring during the lockout. Indeed, a decision by the NFLPA* to expose players retroactively to responsibility for violations of the personal conduct policy could open the door for a fairly potent lawsuit alleging breach of the duty of fair representation, which could open a fairly significant can of worms given that the labor deal will have been negotiated at a time when, technically, the NFLPA* has the power to represent no one."
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