Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill: NFL’s new personal conduct policy could spark cultural change

Dec 18, 2014, 4:38 PM | Updated: 4:45 pm

In the wake of having numerous players brought up on domestic violence and child abuse charges, the National Football League adopted a new, more strict personal-conduct policy last week.

Part of the new regulations included the appointment of a special counsel to oversee discipline. The chairman of that counsel is Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill.

Bidwill is hoping the NFL can act as a trailblazer in the enactment of personal conduct policies for employees all over the country.

“The NFL, whether we like it or not, is really the eyes of the country and we need to lead here,” he told Doug and Wolf Thursday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “We’re one of few companies, if you think of the NFL as a company, it’s less than 15 percent of U.S. companies that have a personal conduct policy for outside the workplace.

“We’re hoping we can lead here like we did with hydration and some of the other tough issues that we’ve faced and have a cultural change.”

Bidwill’s background is in law, which made him a perfect choice to oversee the new counsel.

“I spent six years here in Phoenix as a federal prosecutor, prosecuting violent crimes and I’m pretty much the only guy in the league (with that background),” he said, before adding that the different laws in each state are a challenge for the league to navigate.

“When a case comes to a team and a place like Arizona, that has more open laws, where you can find out about what happened, you can address it a little bit more quickly than some other states, maybe back east, where law enforcement holds their cards,” Bidwill said. “We needed to come up with a different policy and do things a little differently so everybody is treated equally.”

Despite his role in overseeing discipline in such cases, Bidwill reiterated the goal with the new counsel is not doling out punishment.

“The focal point of this needs to not be discipline, it needs to be education and training,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing and I think everyone is going to see us leading in this space and trying to do a better job making sure this committee keeps this policy up to date.”

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