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Claim of secret meetings a bigger problem for the NFL than the union

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.”

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23 Responses to “Claim of secret meetings a bigger problem for the NFL than the union”
  1. gopher says: Sep 2, 2009 9:06 AM

    My question is “Will Roger suspend himself for not protecting the shield of the NFL? The lord could be in trouble.

  2. cracker jack says: Sep 2, 2009 9:10 AM

    Get Arlen Specter on the case!

  3. clubfoot says: Sep 2, 2009 9:15 AM

    One source not ON source. Come on Florio you’re almost professional. Proof read!

  4. jkc710 says: Sep 2, 2009 9:21 AM

    ooh more exciting players union news. everyone loves this stuff.

  5. LiveNBreatheFootball says: Sep 2, 2009 9:25 AM

    Confidential information = whining to daddy that people didn’t like your sainted boss (sainted because he gave you a job you were clearly unqualified for but paid a lot).

  6. RexRyan'sStressedLapband says: Sep 2, 2009 9:41 AM

    It’s nice to see that the union may actually have a rather large bargaining chip to bring to the table. So far, it was totally looking like the only chips would be on the NFL’s side. If this is true, I would turn the screws on the NFL, cause the union isn’t going to get jack Florio otherwise.

  7. They_Hate_We says: Sep 2, 2009 9:50 AM

    Can’t be a true story….4letternetwork ain’t covering it.

  8. Hail2ThaRedskins says: Sep 2, 2009 10:35 AM

    Sorry but this just doens’t make any sense. If Moran’s claims that Vincent secretly met with Goodell (if it was secret how did she know anyway?) is a potential bargaining chip for the NFLPA, then why in the hell would they fire her for exposing it???
    As was my comment in the pevious post regarding this story, I do not believe her claims at all. Whether the meeting happened or not, it just wouldn’t make any sense that she would have the knowledge of it.

  9. Display Name says: Sep 2, 2009 11:52 AM

    “Roger dealing with Troy could be like the assasination of Archduke Ferdinand,” the source said. “Much more explosive than anyone thought at the time.”
    =================================
    The uneducated and undereducated masses that read this site will have NO idea what that’s talking about… I kind of doubt even Florio understands it lol

  10. Big ben Rapistburger says: Sep 2, 2009 12:00 PM

    So does that mean that Goodell will have to give back all of the suspensions, fines and penalties that he has imposed under his reign?

  11. TheDPR says: Sep 2, 2009 12:04 PM

    Why couldn’t Vincent talk to Goodell? I don’t get why that would be a problem. Was he union President at the time? Even if he was former President at the time, why can’t he talk to the commish without Upshaw’s permission?
    Explain why this is news, Mike. I’m not getting it.

  12. Cappa says: Sep 2, 2009 12:15 PM

    Damn, Troy sold out the Union.

  13. Nathan says: Sep 2, 2009 12:15 PM

    Whoa Gavrilo Princip reference WTF?

  14. JakeDSnake says: Sep 2, 2009 12:55 PM

    Little known fact about Gavrilo Princip: he invented the Statue of Liberty play, though he called it the Black Handoff. True.

  15. dcbronco says: Sep 2, 2009 1:06 PM

    And people say Brandon Marshall is immature. I’d rather associate with a guy slapping balls away because he know he deserves a better contract than a bunch of suits that conspire behind closed doors to cheat thousands of players out of millions of dollars. How about you Florio?

  16. billygoat says: Sep 2, 2009 1:28 PM

    Troy was the President of the union at the time. How would this be a problem?

  17. nerd says: Sep 2, 2009 1:46 PM

    Upshaws death looked suspicious to me at the time. Right before the new collective bargaining negotiations, he just falls over dead? That’s weird.
    Now we see Troy Vincent meeting secretly with the NFL. This looks even weirder.
    Were they assuming he would take Upshaw’s spot? Did they have prior knowledge of Upshaw’s death?

  18. Kevin from Philly says: Sep 2, 2009 4:03 PM

    “Roger dealing with Troy could be like the assasination of Archduke Ferdinand,” the source said. “Much more explosive than anyone thought at the time.”
    So…does that mean Germany will be invaiding NFL stadiums this fall?

  19. AlonzoHarris-TrainingDay21 says: Sep 2, 2009 4:05 PM

    How many more stories is Liz Mullen going to fabricate before her publication realizes that the Associated Press has to date refuted her allegations? The story is about the filing of an employment wrongful termination by the current employer. This cloak & dagger sh#t is a waste of federal government resources and time. But it’s curious to note, that some people can talk to the government about wrongful termination and others can’t talk about transparency and fairness. Sources within the NFLPA say that there are AP & NY Times reporters who will attest to the latter. At the end of the day Mr. Smith the NFLPA Executive Director. The PA has indicated that they are cooperating with the federal government and with regards to the wrongful terminations suit, they contend that it is without merit. Liz, are you writing the story or are you the story?

  20. Bruinfootball says: Sep 2, 2009 5:31 PM

    Florio – are you going to post the actual lawsuit? I can’t figure out if this lawsuit is about potential collusion between the NFLPA and NFL or if it’s about wrongful termination. I’m also not sure what some meeting by union representatives have to do with a wrongful termination suit. You’re the lawyer guy….Isn’t it true in labor law that executive directors of unions work for the people they represent? That would mean that Upshaw worked for Troy and the rest of the players wouldn’t it? Didn’t they have to agree to pay him $6 or $7 million per year? It wasn’t some sort of dictatorship. Also, why is it bad for the commish to meet with the people that actually have the legal right to sign off (or not) on a collective bargaining agreement. Whole story seems strange.

  21. RexRyan'sStressedLapband says: Sep 2, 2009 8:37 PM

    @ those of us who don’t get why this is a problem:
    Unions, just like any other organization, operate with a hierarchy called chain of command. It’s pretty simple, you don’t do anything (ESPECIALLY meet with higher ups) without first notifying the person above you in the chain of command. If Vincent was talking to the commish without at least notifying the Exec Director, then he is in violation of a pretty big code of conduct.

  22. HNIC says: Sep 2, 2009 9:39 PM

    4.06 The President shall be the principal executive officer of the NFLPA and,
    subject to this Constitution and the direction of the Board of Representatives,
    shall supervise and direct the business and affairs of the NFLPA. He shall
    preside and act as Chairman at all meetings of the Board and Executive
    Committee. In general, he shall perform all duties incident to the office of
    President and such other duties as may be prescribed by the NFLPA Board
    from time to time. In addition, he shall be the chief spokesman of the NFLPA
    in collective bargaining and have the power to invite, at his discretion, outside
    persons to any NFLPA meeting or function.

  23. AlonzoHarris-TrainingDay21 says: Sep 3, 2009 2:39 PM

    HNIC, that wouldn’t be Section 4.06 of the NFLPA Constitution that you’ve posted?
    Unions, just like any other organization operate with a hierarchy called chain of command. It’s pretty simple, the President of the NFLPA, as prescribed and authorized by the NFLPA Constitution is THE TOP position within the union and, the executive director, regardless of the personality previously or currently occupying the role of executive director, reports to the PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE NFLPA.
    If you would like an example of this, please note that the executive director of the NHLPA was recently fired by the President, Executive Committee & NHL Player reps. As similar instance also occurred in the mid 1980′s with the NBA when they removed their executive director.
    Contrary to the ramblings of a fictional writing currently submitting stories at the Sports Business Journal, every executive director in the history of the NFLPA has worked FOR the President & Executive Committee and served at their discretion.
    At the end of the day, a Federal Court will consider the merits of an employement wrongful termination suit & render a determination based upon the evidence submitted to the court; the United States Department of Labor will conduct a thorough investigation into allegations of collusion and render a decision based upon the findings of its investigation; and legitimate reporting will be carried out by ethical, non-biased reporters.
    Truth is the ultimate defense to defamatory accusations. Remember people, the defendant in the only suit filed is the NFLPA. The suit contends wrongful termination of an employee and employement discrimination by the NFLPA.
    Counselors, please submit your evidence and arguments.

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