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League, union handling Johnson talks

We wrote earlier Friday about the settlement talks currently underway regarding Larry Johnson’s future with the Chiefs.

The assumption was that the talks were happening between the Chiefs and Johnson’s agent, but PFT’s Mike Florio has learned that the discussion has reached higher levels of the sport.

The NFL and the NFLPA have been discussing how to handle the issue because this is a potential precedent-setting case.  A player hasn’t been suspended for comments on Twitter before, and we’re reporting that both sides fear the possibility of a bad outcome.

For example, the league could lose the hearing outright.  There are potential first amendment questions that could be raised.  Essentially, how far can a team go in restricting what a player says in the current collective bargaining agreement?

From the union’s perspective, Larry Johnson’s long history as a turd could influence the outcome.  Johnson has been suspended by the league before, so he could be viewed as a repeat offender.  The union risks losing a precedent-setting case because the player whose rights they are trying to advance is a royal pain.

The quandary brings to mind Terrell Owens’ case against the Eagles in 2005.  There was a belief at the time that Owens had a strong case when the NFLPA fought for him, but ultimately Owens’ history of misbehavior cost him.  And future players.

Another repercussion is that a binding decision on how Twitter is handled at the league level could be a bargaining chip in the next round of CBA negotiations.  Neither side wants to get a bad ruling, then potentially have to fix it when the CBA comes up.  The thinking is that the union and the league would rather control their fate now.

Johnson’s appeal is expected to be filed Friday, and a hearing was expected Tuesday.

It sounds like the league and union will be working hard in the meantime to come up with a solution that could have far-reaching effects for NFL players and teams.

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11 Responses to “League, union handling Johnson talks”
  1. defasdefbe says: Oct 30, 2009 1:06 PM

    You are aware that the First Amendment only restricts Congress from “abridging the freedom of speech” of citizens – it makes no mention of what a private organization can require in its employees, right?

  2. COWBOYUP says: Oct 30, 2009 1:07 PM

    Nice job, Rosenthal, but you are one less word away from a really funny headline.

  3. Occam says: Oct 30, 2009 1:13 PM

    We vant zee money Lebowski, or we come back und handle your Johnson.

  4. texasPHINSfan says: Oct 30, 2009 1:54 PM

    the players are representatives of the teams, 24/7. who cares if what was said was done on twitter, in person to a fan, or to a room full of reporters? it was still a comment that you can’t make when you’re an ambassador of the team.
    LJ is a turd and a wanker anyway. let him serve his punishment already. what a cry baby.

  5. Bill Cowher's Chin says: Oct 30, 2009 2:09 PM

    LMFAO, classic, but I always thought he said they would come back and cut off his johnson, but it has been a while….

  6. longrodvanhungendong says: Oct 30, 2009 2:13 PM

    There is always some law or rule on the books that seems crazy/over board. That is because somebody, somewhere was a complete dumbass! Thanks L.J.

  7. Doohickey says: Oct 30, 2009 2:31 PM

    LJ needs to learn to limit his invective to white guys. Turd burlgers and other protected classes are strictly off limits.

  8. monkeybiz says: Oct 30, 2009 2:44 PM

    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
    As you may notice, it makes no reference to a privatel organization. The NFL can institute whatever policy it wants in regards to what a player says in a public forum.
    If I post homophobic content on my Twitter, my employer can fire me. If I wander around the office, yelling homophobic slurs, my employer has not only the right, but almost an obligation under harassment laws to fire me.
    Twitter is a great tool; it allows athletes, celebrities, etc. that normally have to communicate through multiple handlers and PR people to speak directly to their fans. It’s interesting, from a fan perspective, to get insight into their thoughts and go “Hey, they’re just like us.”
    Simply, Larry Johnson is a moron and this should be a non-case. The Chiefs should throw his ass on the street and make sure the door hits him on the way out.

  9. Gentleman Ed says: Oct 30, 2009 3:37 PM

    I hope like hell that his suspension time ends up longer than it already is for appealing it!
    “Stupid is as stupid does.”
    Stay home and watch Forrest Gump, Larry!
    You might learn something, you jackass!

  10. Tomb says: Oct 30, 2009 3:40 PM

    The Johnson Talks.
    …sounds like a retort to The Vagina Monologues.

  11. Occam says: Oct 30, 2009 5:38 PM

    “LMFAO, classic, but I always thought he said they would come back and cut off his johnson, but it has been a while….”
    Yeah, they were gonna cut off his johnson….just changed it around to work w/the headline.

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