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NFLPA president: Goodell's 'random suspensions' hurt competitive balance

Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports

NFL Players Association president Eric Winston believes commissioner Roger Goodell's approach to discipline has impeded the NFL's attempts to cultivate competitive balance.

"I think the one thing that has been lost in this conversation is how much it's affected competitive balance throughout the league," Winston said Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. "The NFL is always so big on competitive balance but you see these random suspensions that have been handed down over the last two, three years, it's definitely affected competitive balance."

The Cincinnati Bengals guard, who's acted as NFLPA president since 2014, suggested some teams gain unfair advantages through scheduling and the placement of suspensions.

"Your team might be playing with a guy who should have been out there but wasn't out there. You know how it is with the schedules in the league," Winston said.

The most prominent example of Winston's criticism is the suspension of Tom Brady. The first four opponents of the New England Patriots will face a Jimmy Garoppolo-led team, while the rest will be tasked with stopping a presumably revenge-fueled superstar.

The New York Jets should feel particularly aggrieved. The rest of the AFC East plays the Patriots during the first quarter of the campaign, but the Jets' two contests versus New England are scheduled for the Brady portion of the season.

NFLPA president: Goodell's 'random suspensions' hurt competitive balance
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