consultants are sandburs

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Adrian Peterson saga, making labor understand management is held to different standards because labor/management relations cannot be allowed to get out of their proper God-given balance within their proper Ptolemaic sphere, in harmony as it is, has been, and forever shall be.

A Strib poll result, and you can vote here to add your belief.

Vikings all-star running back Adrian Peterson used a tree switch to discipline his 4-year-old child, leaving welts and lacerations. He entered a nolo plea to a misdemeanor child endangerment charge in Houston, Texas.

Zygi and Mark Wilf were found in court to have defrauded business partners of millions of dollars and in the course of doing so also to have violated the civil RICO statute in New Jersey. Reportedly to the tune of $85 million dollars.

Peterson got a year's hiatus from his job. A big time pay hit. The Wilfs got a highly subsidized stadium built for them which immensely upgraded the value of their NFL franchise.

The Peterson suspension is all about league image? Do you believe Goodell and the Wilfs could care about how Peterson relates to his family, aside from its impact upon image, (and hence upon league and team revenues)?

You decide that one. Decide in terms of the NFL mandated penalty [none] imposed upon the Wilfs for a multimillion dollar fraud upon partners to whom they owed a fiduciary duty of honesty in dealings - a duty of utmost serious scope and impact. They ran things, and the silent partners were disadvantaged greatly by the ethics of how the Wilfs used their holding the reins of power in running a real estate development adventure and accounting for profits thereby made - and Roger Goodell did not even say boo. League image took a hit, but it was not Roger's business.

Now, your decision ...

But there is more. Reusse in an online Strib sports editorial sub-headlined, "His son would be better off with his dad back at work," makes the case that Roger Goodell's actions are more about league image maintenance than player-family substantial best interests; yet, not surprisingly, he declines to juxtapose a Wilf [management] years-long ongoing civil RICO level of misdeed with the Peterson [labor] misdeed because he understands labor/management relations, (possibly as being beholden for his Strib paycheck); or also plausible, he chose not to see any scale of things or any cause to juxtapose Wilf conduct against NFL honesty "standards" with that being a judgment call he made wholly independent of any aspect of his regular paycheck.

Can you say, "Double Standard"?

Sure you can. As many ways as you care to. You can express any opinion you want as long as your facts are correct. Peterson, Wilfs, NFL, Goodell, Reusse all did as they did, and it is opinion how those things square up, and what conclusions or opinions can be drawn from the totality of the factual picture. So, read this, and ask yourself, not me, whether a pack of hypocrites are afoot.

By the way, Developers ARE Crabgrass. A related question worth thought is whether the Wilf developers' conduct left a greater stain and tarnish upon the NFL's precious pure gold image than either the Peterson or Ray Rice off-field conduct. Sure fans don't pay to see the owners own, they pay to see the players play; but nobody has ever questioned the quality of Peterson's or Rice's capability, skill, and dedication on the field.

Don't take off your thinking hats. Here's another one for you. Read this, the [according to the Peterson decision rationale a] not-new policy of personal conduct already in existence but now only fleshed out in detail; one relating to and governing all, ostensibly for the good of all:

This Personal Conduct Policy is issued pursuant to the Commissioner’s authority under the [NFL] Constitution and Bylaws to address and sanction conduct detrimental to the league and professional football.

This policy applies to the Commissioner; all owners; all employees of the NFL, NFL clubs, and all NFL-related entities, including players under contract, coaches, game officials; all rookie players selected in the NFL college draft and all undrafted rookie players, [...]

It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime. We are all held to a higher standard and must conduct ourselves in a way that is responsible, promotes the values of the NFL, and is lawful.

If you are convicted of a crime or subject to a disposition of a criminal proceeding (as defined in this Policy), you are subject to discipline. But even if your conduct does not result in a criminal conviction, if the league finds that you have engaged in any of the following conduct, you will be subject to discipline.

Prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to the following:

- Actual or threatened physical violence against another person, including dating violence, domestic violence, child abuse, and other forms of family violence;

- Assault and/or battery, including sexual assault or other sex offenses;

- Violent or threatening behavior toward another employee or a third party in any
workplace setting;

- Stalking, harassment, or similar forms of intimidation;

- Illegal possession of a gun or other weapon (such as explosives, toxic substances, and the like), or possession of a gun or other weapon in any workplace setting;

- Illegal possession, use, or distribution of alcohol or drugs;

- Possession, use, or distribution of steroids or other performance enhancing substances;

- Crimes involving cruelty to animals as defined by state or federal law;

- Crimes of dishonesty such as blackmail, extortion, fraud, money laundering, or racketeering;

- Theft-related crimes such as burglary, robbery, or larceny;

- Disorderly conduct;

- Crimes against law enforcement, such as obstruction, resisting arrest, or harming a police officer or other law enforcement officer;

- Conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person; and

- Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL personnel.

[italics added] It seems to be saying that a civil court record suggesting extended, intentional dishonesty, even short of a criminal conviction for dishonesty, is prohibited and sanctionable conduct. Does this suggest that the Players Union should be looking at that document and demanding the Wilfs be sanctioned in due proportion to their violation of its express wording [which ostensibly is only fleshing out existing policy]; i.e., sanctioned per the New Jersey court's civil RICO decision making given that "racketeering" expressly is a prohibited action not needing a criminal conviction to be sanctioned as detrimental to the NFL? A Civil judgment of civil RICO breaching conduct surely is "disorderly" conduct in the sense of whether it "undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL." Said another way, defrauding of minority silent partners is surely not an orderly way of business, even for developers, despite whatever is its actual frequency of occurrence.

Or not?

Sauce for the goose IS sauce for the gander, or not? The document does say what it does, and the Peterson decision clearly shows the document was/is intended to have retroactive reach among all of the NFL family members. Wilfs too? Feet to the fire?

Or is the Players Association better off in simply saying "End the Bullshit?"

That's, again, a matter of opinion.

And if a Michael Vick animal cruelty plank is expressly stated, why not also red flag the Paul Hornung - Alex Karras betting on NFL game-outcomes situation? Hornung and Karras were white, like the Wilfs, while Vick is black like Peterson and Rice, but the policy is racially neutral or at least postured that way. Sure the generic rubric of "detrimental to the enterprise" can be invoked, but why do they not say betting on games is Verboten? Do owners from time to time bet, is that a factor? Has an owner ever been sanctioned for anything by the NFL? (The NBA sanctioned Sterling, allowing a fast-track no questions asked sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer for two billion, so you tell me, does that count for much an anything per labor/management standard setting?)

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Is this the NFL ownership/management theme song (on YouTube) - its view of God's proper and established labor/management relationship? One that Peterson's stand-up-for-your-rights intransigence in dealings breached? And is it the intransigence and not the misdemeanor that actually resulted in the severity of the imposed penalty? Despite what the sanction appeal decision of Goodell's appointee wrote? There's a ton of circumstantial evidence that's been reported, and much the public does not yet know.

FURTHER: We do know that contemporaneous August 2013 from-the-courtroom-scene reporting was:

The Wilfs’ business partners claimed family members systematically cheated them out of their fair share of revenues from Rachel Gardens, a 764-unit apartment complex in Montville, by running what amounted to “organized-crime-type activities” in their bookkeeping practices that gave the Wilfs a disproportionate share of the income.

Wilson found that Zygmunt Wilf, along with his brother, Mark, and their cousin, Leonard, committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty and also violated the state’s civil racketeering statute, or RICO.

The partners, Ada Reichmann of Toronto and her brother, Josef Halpern of Brooklyn, the longtime former on-site manager at Rachel Gardens, are entitled to compensatory damages, punitive damages, triple damages under the RICO statute, a redistribution of revenues dating to 1992 and reimbursement for their attorneys’ fees, Wilson said.

“The bad faith and evil motive were demonstrated in the testimony of Zygi Wilf himself,” Wilson said.

Wilf’s “candid and credible” testimony detailed how he felt Reichmann got “too good a deal,” and he “reneged” on the arrangement initiated by his uncle, Harry Wilf, back in the 1980s, when construction began on Rachel Gardens, Wilson said.

It is hard to imagine that the Wilf stuff described in the report is orderly conduct, or conduct enhancing the reputation and public goodwill of the League (even among other apartment developer owner-operators). The judge's language was explicit and excoriating. Did Adrian Peterson do worse? Is the Peterson punishment disproportionate in light of the blind eye Goodell turns toward same-team ownership mischief? (Is the Pope Catholic?)


Wes Volkenant said...

Double standard?

No standard?

Do ducks quack?

Nicely written.

eric zaetsch said...

Wes and others - My brother-in-law as devil's advocate suggested that Wilf misconduct happened before their having any league connection and hence should be outside of any ownership discipline.

Well, it began two decades earlier, but was ongoing remorseless conduct with the major detrimental tarnish to the image of the NFL as elite and pure happening, awkwardly, while the family was lobbying for a new subsidized stadium.

That is when the judge expressed judgment, harsh because of a perception of willful misbehavior on a grand and previously unequaled Wilf-special scale.

They got the stadium, massive subsidy and all, so Goodell might suggest no harm, no foul. (Not that Wes or I would have given the subsidies, but we had no vote.)

As to no harm, no foul, it would be hard to argue Wilf real estate partnership litigation and its surrounding publicity somehow may have enhanced league image - and it's harm to image that seems the entire circus bottom line.

Harm to image IS a strange theme to try to be selling while former players have to sue the NFL for brain-addling hits received in the course of conducting league business for ownership profits.

But labor assumes the risks, like coal miners or soldiers. Or not?

Hypocrisy arguably attaches to the ongoing league officialdom's perception of a "sincere lack of remorse" that was written as a factor in the Goodell letter and the arbitration appeal decision. Wilf hubris immensely dwarfs any supposed lack of remorse on Peterson's part. The Wilfs are dragging things out through an appeal. Showing no remorse at all. Showing an inability or unwillingness to face the music.

Whatever, the players union was wrong in the course of last contract negotiation for leaving discretionary discipline in the hands of a now-proven dolt, one backed up by league ownership.

One expects next contract there will be care shown the bargaining of such an issue.

Beyond all that, shouldn't the league demand the Wilfs endure mandatory counseling, to make them better businessmen and persons?

It seems in vogue, requiring counseling as part of requiring a showing of true and sincere remorse.

Surely there are good counselors aplenty in the region surrounding Zygi's Park Avenue Penthouse. It would be no true hardship imposing such a requirement, league-vetted counselors, for the Wilfs' own good.