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NFL Disciplinary Process Breakdown: Dashon Goldson Reportedly Will Not Be Suspended

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Although there has not been a final confirmation at this point, word from one of the NFL's PR folks indicates Dashon Goldson probably will not get suspended for his fight with Early Doucet. Things can change, but given the precedent set with the Andre Johnson-Cortland Finnegan fight, a sizable fine makes the most sense.

In light of the disciplinary issue, as well as the numerous fines for big hits we've seen this season, the NFL actually put together a breakdown of the disciplinary review process (PDF) they utilize, starting with a post-game review of every play all the through to final appeals. You can read through the PDF, but after the jump I'll break down the process from start to finish.

1. NFL Officiating Department reviews every play of every game.

2. Any play that needs to be reviewed for possible discipline - whether penalized or not - is referred by Officiating to the NFL Football Operations Department.

3. NFL Executive VP of Football Operations, Ray Anderson, and VP of Football Operations, Merton Hanks, make an initial decision as to whether to discipline a player for an on-field violation.

4. Initial discipline is a fine. The PDF linked above breaks down the schedule of fines. For fighting (Dashon Goldson's disciplinary issue), a first offense nets a $25,000 fine while a second offense nets a $50,000 fine. "Unnecessarily entering" the fight area results in fines as well. Active involvement in the fight nets slightly higher than no active involvement. I'm curious if Chris Culliver gets fined for his involvement.

5. The fines listed above are minimums and higher fines and suspensions can be imposed if the situation dictates it. Player history factors into the level of discipline imposed.

6. After a decision is reached in regards to discipline, players are notified via e-mail, usually on a Tuesday following a Sunday game. The correspondence is supposed to include the decision on what the discipline is, the specific rule violation that triggered the discipline, instructions on how to appeal, and instructions on how to view video of the play in question.

7. Players have three days to appeal from the time they are notified of the discipline. A hearing is then conducted within 10 days f receiving the notice of appeal.

8. The appears officers are jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA and are Art Shell and Ted Cottrell. Fines are removed from a player's paycheck only after Shell and Cottrell hear the appeal.