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Leak of Umenyiora affidavit raises some intriguing questions

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On Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN shared with the football-following world some interesting, and potentially inflammatory, details from an affidavit signed by Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, one of the named plaintiffs in the Tom Brady antitrust lawsuit.  The document outlines allegedly unfulfilled promises from G.M. Jerry Reese regarding a renegotiated contract.

Since then, Umenyiora has softened the clear implication of the affidavit — that Reese lied.  “They can’t talk to my agent, they can’t talk to other teams about trading me, they can’t do anything because of the lockout,” Umenyiora told Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger.  “So that’s how the lockout has hurt me, per se, and that’s what the statement was about.  Not that he’s a liar or he’s this or that.  He hasn’t even had an opportunity to do anything because of the lockout, which is exactly why it’s hurt me.”

Lost in the analysis of the affidavit and Umenyiora’s explanation of it are two questions that, for the lawyers in the crowd, are far more intriguing.  First, how did a signed but not yet filed affidavit makes its way to the media?  Second, why was a signed but not yet filed affidavit leaked to the media?

As to the first question, the universe of potential sources is small.  An affidavit routinely is written by a lawyer, signed by the witness, and returned to the lawyer until the time comes to file the affidavit.  Thus, an affidavit that has not yet been filed definitely is in the possession of the lawyer who wrote it.  The witness also possibly has a copy.  In this specific instance, there’s also a chance that Umenyiora’s agent, Tony Agnone, has a copy of it, too.

Based on some homework we’ve done, and cognizant of the unwritten rule that members of the media generally shouldn’t speculate as to the identity of a reporter’s sources, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to conclude that the lawyers representing Umenyiora and the other players leaked the affidavit to the media.

As to the second question, we envision two potential reasons for the leakage of the Umenyiora affidavit.  First, a strategic decision possibly was made based on the status of the negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA* to fire a shot across the owners’ bow as the talks enter a potentially contentious phase.  Second, lawyers who have been unable to “blow up” the talks from inside the room possibly have decided to try to “blow up” the talks from outside the room, by disseminating information that could upset the positive vibe that has emerged over the past few weeks.  Though the impact of the leakage of the affidavit on the talks isn’t known, the launching of a proverbial fastball at the chin of a respected organization whose co-owner, John Mara, is directly involved in the negotiations could provoke a reaction.  The contents of the affidavit also could fan the flames of mistrust between the players and the owners, giving the workers another reason not to trust management.

Obviously, we don’t know whether the lawyers leaked the affidavit, or whether the lawyers did so with the objective of derailing the settlement process.  But we do know, based on Schefter’s report from Wednesday, that the lawyers tried to throw a wrench into the process not long after the got back into the room, two weeks after being exiled.  Is it crazy, then, to think that they’ve responded by trying to throw wrenches from afar?

If our speculation in this regard is accurate, and if the lawyers plan to continue to leak affidavits that have been signed but not yet filed, they’d be wise to consider Rule 3.6 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which apply to lawyers practicing in virtually every jurisdiction.  Sharing with the media information not yet in the public record with the goal of undermining a mediation process over which a federal magistrate judge is presiding could get the lawyers into real trouble.

If our speculation is inaccurate, then none of this should be an issue.  And, presumably, no other affidavits will be leaked to Schefter or other reporters as the talks enter their most critical juncture yet.

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22 Responses to “Leak of Umenyiora affidavit raises some intriguing questions”
  1. krow101 says: Jun 18, 2011 4:52 PM

    Osi is a fine 3rd down rush DE… who wants to get paid like a Hall-of-Famer. Here’s the rub … he’s hasn’t played like one.

  2. krow101 says: Jun 18, 2011 5:00 PM

    Oh… and ….

    Giants – 3 Superbowl Championships

    Eagles – Z E R O

    Figure I’ll get ahead of the Eagles fan boys who always yapyap in any thread about the Giants.

  3. t1mmy10 says: Jun 18, 2011 5:27 PM

    What about the obvious idea osi did it himself to try to drum up a trade market?

    Plus I don’t see as to how this shows the lockout has “permanently” harmed him since he can still get a new contract when the lockout is over…

  4. hobartbaker says: Jun 18, 2011 5:53 PM

    “Oh See!” Umenioura.

  5. hobartbaker says: Jun 18, 2011 6:01 PM

    Going through life never having seen his name spelled correctly in public has made Osi a bit truculent.

  6. xxakshunxx says: Jun 18, 2011 7:55 PM

    lol @krow101

    the most insecure man in the world.. someone needs to get the sand out of their panties

  7. commandercornpone says: Jun 18, 2011 7:58 PM

    hobart, that should read “… truculent (thanks, tiki!).”

    possibilities of who leaked:

    osi

    his lawyer

    his agent

    union*

    here is predicting someone talked… but the union* has some plausible deniability here.

    if it happens again, they will have much much less.

  8. jacksaysfu says: Jun 18, 2011 8:17 PM

    Eagles 6 giants 0 …. Try beating us before running your mouth , loser ! Heres a tip , DO NOT PUNT TO #10 next time dummy !!

  9. jacksaysfu says: Jun 18, 2011 8:27 PM

    PHILADELPHIA > new york ….

    It must hurt knowing twice a year every year , the giants have to eat an L .Twice a year philly got guaranteed wins . We love playing your soft team !

  10. east96st says: Jun 18, 2011 9:11 PM

    “We love playing your soft team !”

    Not as much as we loved watching you assclowns go 51 YEARS and counting without a championship. NFC East – most Super Bowl wins of any division in football DESPITE Philly holding the division back by not being able to win even one. Well, you’ll always have the glory years of 1948 & 1949 when Philly won back to back championships. The early Truman years were good times for the Eagles. In 1949 the average car cost $1400 and gas was 17 cents a gallon and the Eagles ruled the NFL. On the downside, the Soviets tested their first nuke and the arms race was on. Hope you guys are still enjoying those championships!!!

  11. bubbabart says: Jun 18, 2011 10:52 PM

    jacksayfu, you should realy shut up…your Eagles are a joke….Giants are for real….their Supe rings prove it!

  12. gcsuk says: Jun 18, 2011 10:54 PM

    jacksaysfu says:
    Jun 18, 2011 8:17 PM
    Eagles 6 giants 0 …. Try beating us before running your mouth , loser ! Heres a tip , DO NOT PUNT TO #10 next time dummy !!
    ————————————————
    jacksaysfu says:
    Jun 18, 2011 8:27 PM
    PHILADELPHIA > new york ….

    It must hurt knowing twice a year every year , the giants have to eat an L .Twice a year philly got guaranteed wins . We love playing your soft team !
    ————————————————-

    Hate to burst your bubble, jack, but the NFL has been in existence longer than 3 seasons. The Giants and Eagles have been rivals since 1933. They have played each other 152 times, with the Giants winning 80 of those games. So I wouldn’t say that those two games a year are guaranteed, since the Eagles haven’t even beaten the Giants half of the times they have played them.

    Her’s all the information you need to learn a little something about this “Eagle dominated” rivalry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagles%E2%80%93Giants_rivalry

  13. southridge23 says: Jun 18, 2011 11:18 PM

    Eagles talking about 6-0 is like jest fans talking s*** to pats fans about winning the divisional last year…you guys are like the midget swinging empty punches as we have our palms pressed against your foreheads..

    @east96…best PFT comment ever btw lmao

  14. fmwarner says: Jun 18, 2011 11:36 PM

    Team X Fan: “The sky is blue.”

    Team Y Fan: “STFU, the sky is purple. I know you’re wrong because Team X doesn’t have any Super Bowls.”

    Both sides need to STFU. I’m so sick and tired of seeing completely unrelated issues argued on the basis of which commenter’s team has won more Super Bowls or head-to-head matchups. When you have a difference of opinion, maybe try arguing it based on something that has ANY tangible relation to the issue. Like, you know, facts.

  15. jacksaysfu says: Jun 18, 2011 11:52 PM

    The division is ours and our kid punches knock you cowards out every single time ! Preach about rings all day but here & now you losers cant beat us . Maybe you will win the super bowl again one day but till then you losers just enjoy being 10-6 and going home . Were the big brothers of the east and you losers CANT BEAT PHILLY……. NYG ARE SWEET !!!!!!

  16. jacksaysfu says: Jun 18, 2011 11:54 PM

    Nyg= SOFT

  17. gcsuk says: Jun 19, 2011 12:55 AM

    Hey, Jack, would you care to comment on the facts (like the ones I posted above) or are you just going to pretend that the Eagles and Giants have only played 6 times in their entire existence, and the Eagles have won them all?

  18. bigbeefyd says: Jun 19, 2011 1:49 AM

    jacksaysfu says:
    Jun 18, 2011 8:27 PM
    PHILADELPHIA > new york ….

    It must hurt knowing twice a year every year , the giants have to eat an L .Twice a year philly got guaranteed wins . We love playing your soft team !

    _______________

    And yet, the Eagles can’t seem to beg, borrow or steal a Lombardi trophy.

    I am a Denver native Broncos fan, for the record. I am not a Giants fan, given that they beat my guys in a Super Bowl. I am just pointing out sour apple ignorance from afar here. Eagles fans get to talk smack when the Eagles do something that matters. Until then, you’re the guys that booed Santa Claus. That’s all.

  19. valman61 says: Jun 19, 2011 2:39 AM

    Eagles fans are so funny. Not winning a superbowl in 60 years has them so mad they sign qbs out of jail, throw ice at Santa, and bask in meaningless regular season wins against a team who didn’t even make the playoffs. I guess once you actually win, your perspective changes and you realize the ultimate goal is all that really matters. In 10 years no one remembers how many times a random team lost a NFC championship, or beat a team 6 times in a row. People never forget the catch n the 18-1 patriots, super bowl 25 or the parcels superbowl winning defense. I don’t even remember what Philly did in 07, the same way I won’t remember what they did in 10 in 2014, unless they win a superbowl. We have three of those.

    So In this moment Philly fans, you win. It’s been hard for me these past few seasons dealing with you clowns. But please never forget, right now your winning the battle, but youve already lost the war.

  20. girlsinthesouthlovefootball says: Jun 19, 2011 4:21 AM

    It sure would be nice if good ole Common Sense could prevail; however, it seems as if big ole Gov’ment will solve this problem.

  21. krow101 says: Jun 19, 2011 6:28 AM

    Like I said… Eagles fanboys yapyap in all Giants threads. Don’t know why … they just do.

    Come on over … we’ll let you look at those Lombardi trophies.

  22. ndallasruss says: Jun 28, 2011 8:15 AM

    Since we’re talking NFC East, allow me to contribute and add a little perspective…

    Super Bowls wins:
    Cowboys: 5
    Giants: 3
    Redskins: 3
    Eagles: 0

    All time matchup records:
    Cowboys-Giants: Dallas leads 55-40-2
    Cowboys-Redskins: Dallas leads 60-40-2
    Cowboys-Eagles: Dallas leads 59-45

    So, the Cowboys have the most Super Bowl wins of any team in the division, and they have a winning record against each of the other teams in the division.

    But, I understand that “haters gonna hate”. Just know that this Eagles-Giants talk is really about who’s in second place.

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