We’ve posted a couple of items over the past two days regarding the decision of Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth to run against free-agent center Kevin Mawae for the position of NFLPA President.
Because our assessment of the situation is being misconstrued by some in the NFLPA and in the media, we need to clarify it. (Even though we think our point already is pretty clear.)
This isn’t about a coup against the current leadership. And it’s not about whether Foxworth and Mawae are friends. It’s about whether leadership is truly on the same page — or whether they’re simple trying to create the impression that they’re on the same page for the benefit of the NFL, even if they’re actually not on the same page.
And at a time when the union is trying its damnedest to craft a true sense of top-to-bottom solidarity, the decision of Foxworth to run against Mawae sends a message that all might not be as rosy as it seems. The fact that Foxworth widely is perceived as a player who is being groomed by Executive Director De Smith for bigger and better things places the move into one of three possible categories, as explained in Tuesday’s PFT Daily.
The first possibility is that Foxworth ran at the behest of Smith because Smith wants “his own guy” in charge. If so, it suggests that Smith is encountering (or is anticipating) some degree of resistance or opposition from Mawae.
The second possibility is that Foxworth ran against the advice and/or wishes of Smith. If so, this suggests that there is some type of (wait for it) schism between Foxworth and Smith.
The third possibility is that Smith wanted Foxworth to run now so that it will be easier for him to win when the time comes for Mawae to be replaced. If that’s the case, Smith and/or Foxworth needed to find a way to get the truth out, so that the NFL and the media wouldn’t read the tea leaves as indicating the existence of some type of friction between Smith and Mawae.
A source with knowledge of the dynamics of the organization but who asked not to be identified given the sensitive and volatile nature of the labor dispute between the NFL and NFLPA believes that Smith decided to try to get “his guy” in, and that Smith simply pushed for it too soon.
The source also said that the departure of four Executive Committee members helped remove some of the men who “weren’t really behind” Smith. The source believes that it’s possible the unsuccessful attempt to install Foxworth as NFLPA President may have created a new issue.
Whether that’s the case remains to be seen. And whether Mawae and Smith now have an issue is an issue to be monitored.
For now, though, the union can insist that complete uniformity exists. To the trained eye, however, that’s simply not the case. If it were, Smith wouldn’t have tried to get Foxworth in, and in turn to knock Mawae out.