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Huyghue downplays UFL boycott threat, players don’t

Jeff Jagodzinski, Michael Huyghue

UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue apparently doesn’t realize how close he came to not having a game for, well, no one to watch on Friday night.

Before the Florida-Omaha contest at Rosenblatt Stadium, Huyghue pooh-poohed talk of a player revolt due to the league’s insistence (and Huyghue’s conflicting statements) regarding the enforcement of a $150,000 “transfer fee” after the UFL season ends.

“I don’t know how to assess it because it wasn’t relayed to me by any players on the teams,” Huyghue told Steven Pivovar of the Omaha World-Herald.  “I’ve read some stuff by bloggers on some sites.  [Editor's note:  One of those "sites" is FanHouse.com, an official UFL partner.]  I want to believe our players are professional and are committed to our position on this.”

They may be professional, but they’re not committed to the UFL’s position.

“We were lied to,” Omaha tight end Jeb Putzier told Pivovar, who also reports that six Nighthawks said there was “serious talk” of a boycott.

We previously reported that one of the teams that played Friday night held a team meeting regarding whether to boycott the game.

“It was close, but when it came down to it, guys decided to play,” Nighthawks defensive end Jay Moore told Pivovar.  “We were afraid that if we didn’t play, they would hold our paychecks.  Myself, I didn’t get too fired up about it.  I just wanted to go out there and put on a good performance.

“But we had some guys that flat-out said they weren’t going to play.”

Perhaps someone should give Huyghue a fiddle, so that he’ll have something to do while his league burns.  He could take it to Saturday night’s game between the Locomotives and the Colonials, a Curtis Painter-style contest which has no impact on the title game.

And if he wants to know how the players feel about the UFL’s handling of the transfer fee, maybe Huyghue should ask them.

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11 Responses to “Huyghue downplays UFL boycott threat, players don’t”
  1. hillshirefarmsgomeat says: Nov 20, 2010 9:12 AM

    Why would the players be mad when they signed a contract that has this clause in it? If you don’t want that clause in there don’t sign the contract. Now, I’m not trying to defend the league, I couldn’t care less about the UFL, but they signed the contract and are now mad that the league may enforce it.

  2. ochostinko says: Nov 20, 2010 9:37 AM

    “We were afraid that if we didn’t play, they would hold our paychecks.”

    Wow. Brilliant deduction.

    Whether the transfer fee situation is right or wrong, the players signed their contracts with that clause in it. If they would have chosen to not play, I’m quite sure the owners would have held their paychecks.

  3. WingT says: Nov 20, 2010 9:57 AM

    The UFL is smart. They are protecting their investments – good for them.

    This league may have a decent chance of surviving. I hope they do because we all could benefit if the NFL ever had a competitor

  4. JakeDSnake says: Nov 20, 2010 10:15 AM

    The rash of UFL employee postings hasn’t happened yet.
    Question: what happens if a UFL player doesn’t play a game and no one is there to not see it?
    Another question: how many of these players who are upset now will sign that contract again next year?
    Last question: there are 256 practice squad players that any NFL team could choose from, fee-free, plus another 8 extra inactive players that they each carry: how many players are there available in the UFL?

  5. andyprough says: Nov 20, 2010 11:55 AM

    Hmmm…. a bunch of players that have no interest in abiding by a signed contract? why do I get the feeling Dan Snyder is going to sign a bunch of former Nighthawks very soon??

    If they lie down in the middle of plays, that would be a bonus

  6. andymc58 says: Nov 20, 2010 12:40 PM

    If it weren’t for this site I wouldn’t even know what the UFL was. Amazing how much time you devote to reporting on it. Serious question, are these games even televised? I’ve never once seen anything suggesting there is any coverage. Why am i supposed to care about this?

  7. smacklayer says: Nov 20, 2010 1:14 PM

    Florio, stop with your agenda of bashing anything non-NFL. They didn’t come close to not playing, that was a rumor that never had any legs.

    They signed the contract, why do you think they shouldn’t be bound to it?

    Again, just stop already, if the UFL fails it has nothing to do with this. Again you seem to think that players would rather be unemployed to provde some stupid point than playing, getting, paychecks, getting their videos out there, getting opportunities to make plays and get noticed by an NFL team.

    And for the last freaking time – $150k is NOTHING to an NFL team. They will GLADLY pay it to sign a player. Especially reight now, gen it is the final stretch and some teams could really need a player, e.g. Miam needing a QB, Indy or Sna Diego needing a wideout.

    Florio your agenda here is so transparent, stop with it already.

  8. flyingelvislogosucksbringbackpatpatriot says: Nov 20, 2010 1:37 PM

    What’s their other option(s). Arena league? Landscapping? Drug sales. Let’s face it no Rhodes Scholars in this league.

  9. bodybaggame says: Nov 20, 2010 2:21 PM

    UFL
    XFL
    WFL
    USFL
    WLAF
    All on in the same, a pimple on the NFL’s ass.

  10. kevin3142 says: Nov 20, 2010 2:32 PM

    I suspect an ulterior motive here.

    This structure makes sense for all parties: Players, NFL, and UFL

    Players: They make around 30k playing in the UFL. They would probably make the same if they didn’t play football. Obviously most love the game and would rather play football than drive a bus. Especially with prospect of being able to earn an NFL contract. The minimum NFL salary is over 300k. Even with the 150k fee, they still stand to be better off. The upside is, the team they play with may like them and sign them back for another year.

    NFL: They need a minor league system. The MLB has PDC’s with their affiliates and typically pay the whole salary of their players. It doesn’t matter if the player goes to the MLB level. With the current setup, NFL teams only pay for the players they need. They aren’t commited into the league financially.

    UFL: The fee is obviously good for them. It reimburses them for the developing and maintaing the players skill levels. A UFL players in all likelihood is better prepared than a player fresh off the street with no football action for months.

  11. exterris says: Nov 20, 2010 3:01 PM

    On the other hand, perhaps the UFL should be embracing the NFL. Their season should start early and be in full swing at the end of the NFL training camp to take advantage of nationwide NFL and collegiate fan interest in the coming fall season. The UFL championship game should be a few weeks prior to the NFL trading deadline to take further advantage of NFL injuries and team desires to acquire other players as it will no longer interfere with the UFL season.

    A UFL owner should want the public and the players to think of the UFL as a viable professional league from which the NFL would acquire players when they have the need. If the UFL player is not under contract after the season, ownership should want the public to see the NFL has picked them up. If the UFL player is under a multiple season contract, ownership should want the NFL and player to be assured that a reasonable and equitable deal would be arrived at to buy out the contract. The closer the UFL ownership aligns themselves with NFL players, the more perceived value increases in the new league and teams. The goal in time would be to attain the stature of AAA baseball rather than a class B team. The players and league would be popularly acknowledged as just a step or so below that of the NFL.

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