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John York on Roger Goodell: 'Somebody has to be the sheriff'

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49ers owner John York had some interesting comments about the commissioner's discipline of the New England Patriots. It is mostly supportive, but does reference the 49ers previous misdeeds.

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The 2015 May NFL owners meetings have gotten underway, and are taking place in San Francisco. The most notable agenda items are a potential change to the extra point and two-point conversion system, and updates on the status of football in Los Angeles.

The meetings are of particular note as they are the first such meetings since the NFL disciplined the New England Patriots for Deflategate. The league suspended Tom Brady for four games, docked the Patriots a first round pick in 2016 and a fourth round pick in 2017, and fined the Patriots $1 million. There has been plenty of chatter about the punishment, and who sides with who in this whole drama.

Owners have come out in support of Roger Goodell, and San Francisco 49ers owners John York was just the latest, according to USA Today. He said that he trusts the NFL did the right thing. He recognizes the Patriots don't feel the same way, but acknowledged the 49ers have felt similar when they have gotten in trouble with the league.

"I'm sure the Patriots don't feel that way," York told USA TODAY Sports. "But anytime we've been dinged by the league, we've felt the same way, too."

The 49ers were punished for tampering with Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, and previously were punished for salary cap violations by Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark. In the Briggs situation, the 49ers forfeited a fifth round draft pick. In the salary cap situation, the team paid a $300,000 fine and forfeited their fifth round pick in the 2001 draft, and their third round pick in the 2002 draft. Carmen Policy paid a $400,000 fine, and Dwight Clark paid a $200,000 fine.

York acknowledged the supposedly hard job Goodell has having to deal with discipline.

"Somebody has to be the sheriff," York said. "It's not fun being the sheriff. Nobody comes out as a winner. Regardless, the most important thing is the integrity of the league."

I am always amused by comments about the "integrity of the league", so feel free to make of this what you want. This will get particularly interesting if and when Tom Brady sues the league. He is going through the CBA-mandated arbitration process, but his legal team has already indicated displeasure with Roger Goodell electing to handle the job himself. Goodell is allowed to do so courtesy of the CBA, but it could get this thing moved over to federal court fairly quickly. That is of note given Missouri determining the commissioner might be biased in handling an age discrimination issue.

The CBA creates a notable difference for players compared to other employees of the league, but it will make this all the more interesting as it progresses. This could be what takes a significant bite out of the commissioner's apparent power.