DeAndre Baker has been placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List while the voluminous charges against him from an alleged armed robbery get sorted out. Baker’s representatives and the NFLPA are appealing that ruling, hoping to get Baker reinstated to the New York Giants’ roster.
Could Baker win such an appeal?
Legal experts I contacted in recent days don’t believe so. One termed the chances “slim and none.” Another said “Good luck to Baker,” while expressing doubt an appeal could be won.
Players like Michael Vick (2009), Jonathan Vilma (2012), Adrian Peterson (2014), Greg Hardy (2014), Josh Brown (2016), Reuben Foster (2018) and Kareem Hunt (2018) have all been on the Commissioner’s Exempt List.
The legal experts I contacted could not recall an instance where such an appeal had been won by a player.
Here’s the official wording of what the list entails:
“The Exempt List is a special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances. The List includes those players who have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit. Only the Commissioner has the authority to place a player on the Exempt List; clubs have no such authority, and no exemption, regardless of circumstances, is automatic. The Commissioner also has the authority to determine in advance whether a player’s time on the Exempt List will be finite or will continue until the Commissioner deems the exemption should be lifted and the player returned to the Active List.”
It is also my understanding that while the new CBA allows for hearing officers to rule on many disciplinary appeals, the Commissioner would have the option of hearing Baker’s appeal himself.
“We’re hoping to get a hearing as soon as possible,” Baker attorney Patrick G. Patel told SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, “with the hope that he gets cleared to resume his career.”
There is also this from NJ Advance Media:
Patel thinks Baker “should” win the appeal, he told NJ Advance Media, adding that “the way it stands we HAVE to challenge the exempt list so we do not create a bad precedent.”
Baker has yet to be officially charged, despite being arrested in Broward County, Fla. on eight felony charges. Per Vacchiano, the appeal is being filed on the grounds that Baker is being punished despite not being charged.