The uproar regarding the UFL’s decision to enforce a $150,000 “transfer fee” after the UFL season ends nearly ended the UFL season prematurely.
We’re told that UFL players seriously contemplated on Thursday evening a boycott of the final week of the UFL regular season. In the end (at least for now), the UFL players decided to proceed.
Tom Torrisi of FanHouse.com reported earlier this evening that “players may refuse to take the field this weekend and some may even fake injuries in order to get out of playing.”
Instead, the players will play in games between the Tuskers and Nighthawks in Omaha on Friday, and the Locomotives and Colonials in Connecticut on Saturday. Whether they pretend to be hurt like a certain aging quarterback or take an in-game nap like a certain overpaid defensive lineman remains to be seen.
Either way, the Nighthawks’ uniforms will incorporate camouflage this weekend, which ends up being incredibly fitting under the circumstances.
We’re told that Commissioner Michael Huyghue will address the players in each location in sessions that will likely get very ugly, very quickly. Among other things, players will want to know why he dismissed as rumor the league’s intention to enforce the $150,000 payment on Wednesday, a day after he told the Hartford Courant of the plan to collect the money — and a day before he decided to proceed with the plan to demand $150,000 for any UFL player who signs with an active roster of an NFL team.
Before the entire blame gets dumped onto Huyghue, let’s remember that Huyghue doesn’t own the league. And let’s also remember that one of the league’s newest owners is a guy who has shown time and again that he’s willing to poke the establishment in the eye.
What Mark Cuban may not realize, if he indeed is either pushing or supporting this posture, is that the talent level in the second year of the UFL has improved dramatically due in large part to the ability of the teams to sell to fringe players the fact that 43 guys who played in the UFL last year landed with NFL teams.
Regardless of the letter of the UFL contract, players were sold on the UFL by being told that they’d be able to go to the NFL. Unless this policy is dumped, look for more players who lose their jobs in the NFL to head next year to Canada and the CFL, where restrictions on movement to the NFL apply — but where the handcuffs are made of something other than plastic.