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NFLPA Crows About Burress-Johnson Outcome

Presumably in response to the NFL’s statement complaining about Special Master Stephen Burbank’s decision that signing bonus money can’t be forfeited when a player misses games due to a suspension, the NFLPA has issued a statement praising it.
Said new NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith:  “This decision is a real win for the players.  It means that clubs can’t impose additional discipline by claiming back signing or roster bonus monies after a suspension, either by a club or the league.  The CBA clause they argued from in this case was not intended to apply to suspensions, but instead to cases where a player is holding out from training camp or otherwise refusing to perform.  We are very pleased that Mr. Burbank agreed with our position.”
The precedent surely will be short-lived; with the Collective Bargaining Agreement soon to be renegotiated, the league undoubtedly will push for the ability to recover these amounts.
And, frankly, we agree with the league’s assessment in one very important respect — it’s a rule that helps only a small percentage of players, who happen to not be all that sympathetic due to their failure to follow the rules of their teams, the league, or society.

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3 Responses to “NFLPA Crows About Burress-Johnson Outcome”
  1. HarrisonHits says: Apr 6, 2009 9:01 PM

    “It means that clubs can’t impose additional discipline by claiming back signing or roster bonus monies after a suspension”
    Lets fix that quote = It means that players can be utterly and totally irresponsible and/or violent and criminal in their behavior, and if their agent has structured their contract correctly that the teams gets utterly and totally screwed out of millions of dollars.

  2. Vox Veritas says: Apr 6, 2009 9:48 PM

    Yeah I’d have some sympathy if it weren’t a known fact before he got his contract that Plaxico Burress was a self-serving turd that doesn’t think that petty things like rules should apply to him. What, the rate of approximately one team fine levied per game played for the Giants wasn’t a red flag for them? Giants didn’t get screwed, they screwed themselves.

  3. bobobiz says: Apr 6, 2009 9:53 PM

    There has to be some middle ground here.
    I don’t think that it is fair for a team to decide “conduct detrimental to the team” and then refuse to pay a player the remainder of their bonus. It’s the same as letting the commissioner decide the length of a suspension and then being the only means of appeal.
    At the same time, the signing bonus is payment for future services. There should be an independent judge of whether (and to what extent) the player’s conduct warrants bonus forfeiture. There are situations where a team could use the “conduct detrimental to the team” card solely for the purpose of saving themselves some cold hard cash.
    Roster bonuses should always remain untouchable because they are payment for being good enough to remain on the team’s roster as of a certain date. If the team’s want to be able to recover that money in the future, then they should refuse to write roster bonuses into their contracts and go with signing bonuses instead.

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