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Federal investigation into NFL-union meetings continues

When it comes to the ongoing labor drama between the NFL and the players’ union, we’re constantly leery of the possibility that every news item has a specific P.R. component.

For example, we suspect that the league’s full-court media press regarding the “enhanced season” arises at least in part from a desire to attract the average fan to the league’s overall position, assuming that the union will resist (as it has) the league’s desire to give the average fan more football.  And so, in light of the fact that the union wasn’t pleased with the league’s conduct in this regard, we’re skeptical regarding the latest development, which apparently was leaked by someone with the union to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal.

Per Mullen, federal authorities have informed the union that it “may have been a victim of violations of federal laws.”  The assertion comes not from federal authorities, but from an internal memo sent to all NFLPA employees on Friday by associate general counsel Heather McPhee.  (So, frankly, it’s not confirmed that federal authorities have even used such language.)

The memo informs the employees that they may be contacted by the feds.  “If you are contacted, you may choose to speak to federal authorities and/or you may request that an attorney be present for this interview,” the memo states.  “If you choose to have an attorney present, the NFLPA will designate outside counsel pursuant to its policies; that lawyer can advise you of your rights and represent you individually for this purpose at no cost to you.”

As we explained last September, the investigation puts the union in a delicate position.  Former NFLPA employee Mary Moran claims in a lawsuit that the union retaliated against her because she cooperated with the investigation, the union could be inclined to attempt to undermine her allegations of direct dealing between the union and the NFL.  On the other hand, the investigation could give the union strong leverage against the league — especially since it’s widely presumed that Troy Vincent was the person who primarily (allegedly) communicated with the NFL.

The fact that Vincent has since accepted a job with the NFL could make the situation even dicier for the league.

As a source with knowledge of the dynamics told us last year, “Roger dealing with Troy could be like the assasination of Archduke
Ferdinand
.  Much more explosive than anyone thought
at the time.”  (And, no, the source wasn’t Dennis Miller.)

Still, we’re currently inclined to conclude that the union hoped that word of the communication from the feds would get into the media, as a tit-for-tat move for this week’s “enhanced season” assault.  If it was, the timing could have been better.  After all, late Friday afternoons in the summer are the place where news stories go to be largely ignored.

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12 Responses to “Federal investigation into NFL-union meetings continues”
  1. chemicalxv says: Jun 18, 2010 9:36 PM

    Please don’t tell me I’m not the only one who has no idea what’s going on

  2. nflhof says: Jun 18, 2010 9:51 PM

    Enter the US Govt. Not good for the Owners.

  3. Klytus says: Jun 18, 2010 9:53 PM

    First off, an “Enhanced season” does not mean more good football. It means more mediocre football at the expense of the fans and the players. Oh and more opportunities for injury!
    The only people who would approve of such a move are the owners. In their minds, it’s the only way to get more people to attend what should be an exhibition game. If the greedy trolls would just lower the prices of the exhibition games there would be better attendance.
    GO STEELERS!

  4. BigBear123 says: Jun 18, 2010 10:22 PM

    Still, we’re currently inclined to conclude that the union hoped that word of the communication from the feds would get into the media, as a tit-for-tat move for this week’s “enhanced season” assault.  If it was, the timing could have been better.  After all, late Friday afternoons in the summer are the place where news stories go to be largely ignored.
    ————————–
    You still give DeSmith too much credit. He is a clown and is pretty clueless. Look for the owners to slap him around and get their way or a strike. He is simply betting on a strike/lockout. Unfortunately that is the only bargaining chip he can think of.

  5. kingmj4891 says: Jun 18, 2010 10:35 PM

    Unions Suck. Unions are Greedy. Union Laws Suck. All of this stuff of the Union vs NFL will destroy the greatest sport ever. And we can only blame the players for hiring DeSmith and his thugs to represent them.

  6. BigMikey says: Jun 18, 2010 10:53 PM

    I can go to bed knowing one thing: if all parties involved don’t get this shit worked out sooner rather than later, it won’t matter to the average fan who is right and who is wrong. The sport will suffer, period. Nobody wins, we all lose. The owners will be the last to lose, but they will lose.
    And yes, the guvmint certainly has bigger fish to fry.
    Actually, we all do.
    So let’s get this entertainment crap straightened out so our Sunday afternoon diversion doesn’t end up just as screwy as the rest of our lives.

  7. NitshkesGhost@1265 says: Jun 18, 2010 11:15 PM

    Nobody is going to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. If you really want to stop the enhanced season, then you have to stop the thing that created it. Pre-season games. Quit going. This never would have happened if pre-season games didn’t become revenue streams. A 16 game season with two pre-season games makes sense to all except the owners who see 2 games worth of revenue going away. Pre-season game tickets used to be priced considerably less than
    a regular season game. Now most tickets are close to if not equal to the regular season ticket price. Nfl network airs every pre-season game now too. Hello add revenue. It is either the enhanced season, or it stays the way it is.
    As fans we supply all the ruvenue, yet have no voice other than our wallets. I don’t like this. Nor do many of you the way I am reading this. So the choice really is ours. Tune in and accept what they deside, or turn it off until they listen.

  8. bigrig says: Jun 18, 2010 11:17 PM

    DeSmith reminds me of Ed Garvey, the architect of the 57 day strike in 1982.

  9. jamaltimore says: Jun 18, 2010 11:25 PM

    seriously, the rest of the country is struggling to pay a mortgage and these cats are arguing over millions to play football. 50/50 and get on with it.

  10. joetoronto says: Jun 19, 2010 6:14 AM

    Very well said, BigMikey.

  11. tom coughlin's coat holder says: Jun 19, 2010 9:40 AM

    the union is blowing smoke on this one!

  12. edgy1957 says: Jun 19, 2010 11:59 AM

    NitshkesGhost@1265 says:
    If you really want to stop the enhanced season, then you have to stop the thing that created it.
    ************************
    You must not be a season ticket holder because they would know that this isn’t an option. You buy your tickets, you pay for 10 games: 2 preseason and 8 regular season. Unless you’re willing to take the chance that you can buy an individual ticket to every game, you have no choice but to pony up for the 2 preseason games so even if no one shows up, the owner still makes money. This is as empty a threat as a gasoline boycott because even Forrest Gump knows that you’ll eventually have to buy gasoline to go somewhere, so you’re not really hurting the oil companies.

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