In an interview with Brock and Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle, Seahawks guard Chester Pitts agreed with the hosts that Commissioner Roger Goodell is a “fraud.”
Comparing Goodell to NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, Pitts applauded Pash for being consistent. “He’s a consistent turd,” Pitts said.
The focal point of the current criticism seems to be Goodell’s recent comments regarding the long-term threat to the game posed by the antitrust lawsuit filed after decertification of the union. But while plenty of people simply assume that the players aren’t really attacking the draft, the antitrust lawsuit orchestrated by the NFLPA* is poised to challenge any rules imposed by the league against a non-union workforce as violations of the antitrust laws. Though an attack on the draft can be brushed off as a leverage play for now, that leverage can become reality as the lawsuit progresses.
Then there’s the fact that, without a labor deal in place, any future draft pick can choose to attack the draft. The presence of a CBA that applies to multiple employers protects those employers against antitrust violations. Without that CBA, the employers are vulnerable — both to attacks from the players formerly in the union and from players who would have been in the union.
Yes, the league pushed the players into the corner by threatening a lockout. Yes, the league should have realized that the players could decertify the union and strip away the protections against antitrust violations. But the players are the ones prepared to argue that any rules imposed moving forward by the NFL violate the antitrust laws. After Saturday, the 2012 draft becomes one of those rules that potentially violate the antitrust laws.
But while the NFL hasn’t recognized its role in the current predicament, the players flatly refuse to acknowledge that their affirmative actions have indeed set the stage for an assault on the draft and any other devices aimed at securing competitive balance.