Steelers MMQB: Should players like Ward and Harrison be punished for “violations” of the personal conduct policy during the lockout?

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As the players took another step closer to putting this labor mess behind us all and voting to recertify as a union, the issues of the
personal conduct policy remain to be bargained as they couldn’t have been decided on until the union had reformed.  Goodell is waiting in the wings to drop the hammer down on the players that he will decide effed up enough to draw punishment.  Will Harrison, Ward, or Mendenhall receive any such punishment?  Is it even fair to punish players for actions or situations that occurred during the lockout?

As Steeler fans, we are no fans of Roger Goodell.  Most fans of the NFL that have actually been paying attention shouldn’t be fans of Roger Goodell.  Well, maybe New England fans because he’s their favorite.  Either way, Roger Goodell shouldn’t be cheered for anything anyway.  The longest “work stoppage” in league history occurred under his watch.  But, like him or not, he alone holds all the power in the matters of punishment.  From several accounts, this was one aspect of his and the owners position in the negotiations that he was not willing to bargain.  Before Goodell we had Ray Lewis running around stabbing people with no discipline.  We can’t have that, there’s no telling how high the body count would be by now.

The Steelers had a very busy offseason in the media, filled with Ward donning various costumes and winning a mirror ball trophy, to Mendenhall’s misguided and misinformed tweets, and Harrison’s now infamous interview for Men’s Journal.  Steelers fans await word to see if any of those players will be forced to sit for the very important Game 1 in Baltimore on September, 11th.  Would it be fair to punish any or all of them?

If the players were locked out of the NFL, the owners did not intend to honor their contracts, why would they be subjected to a personal conduct policy that applies to NFL players? They weren’t representing the NFL, they weren’t representing their teams.  These men were all independent members of a trade association lodged in a labor dispute with the NFL.  I don’t like to say the words “free pass” but I’m kinda thinking they all get one.