The contents of Mary Moran’s lawsuit against the NFL Players Association have resulted in an Associated Press item focusing on the allegation that the U.S. Department of Labor is investigating whether former NFLPA president Troy Vincent and others met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and others, without the knowledge or approval of Gene Upshaw, who at the time was the Executive Director of the union.
But here’s the reality. This is a much, much bigger potential problem for the NFL than for the union.
For the NFLPA, it’s an internal matter that could cause some problems for the folks who were communicating with the NFL directly. The issue has been mentioned in Moran’s case only because she claims that the union retaliated against her based on the fact that she was a “confidential informant” in the probe. (More on that in a separate post.)
If these allegations are true, it means the NFL was dealing directly with an unauthorized representative of the union. And that could lead to a finding that the league engaged in unfair labor practices.
The question now becomes whether the NFLPA will push the matter aggressively, and the NFLPA occupies a very delicate position in this regard.
By admitting that such talks occurred, the NFLPA would be giving credence to Moran’s claim. By denying that such talks occurred, the NFLPA would be giving up a potentially strong tool for exerting leverage against the NFL.
It remains to be seen how it all plays out. But the bottom line here is that, if Moran’s contention of secret meetings is accurate, the NFL has been caught with its hand flat against the bottom of the cookie jar.
One source used more fancy terms to decribe the possible fallout.
“Roger dealing with Troy could be like the assasination of Archduke Ferdinand,” the source said. “Much more explosive than anyone thought at the time.”