Reports that four of the named plaintiffs in the Brady antitrust lawsuit have made a push for special treatment just as the labor deal is close to being resolved has triggered a widespread reaction from fans, some members of the media, and at least one player.
Now, Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe reports that three of the men have privately softened their stances, due to the backlash.
Per Bedard, Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, and Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson have backed off of their attempt to obtain an exemption from the franchise tag. As to Patriots guard Logan Mankins, it’s unclear whether he has relented. (It’s also unclear whether he wants to be a free agent or some other concession, but it has been reported that he does.)
To little surprise, Bedard reports that NFLPA* outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler is “still fighting” for the players, but that the issue is expected to be resolved.
Kessler has been trying for weeks to get special treatment for the named plaintiffs. Several weeks ago, he spent hours arguing that Brees and Manning should receive a lifetime exemption from the franchise tag. Regardless of whether Kessler was hoping to blow up the deal or simply to achieve tangible proof of victory, he has yet to give up. Until he does, it won’t go away.
The easiest way to make it go away would be for the players to explain, in no uncertain terms, to Kessler and/or the rest of us that they want nothing more than the satisfaction of helping get the new labor deal negotiated. If the named plaintiffs truly are part of “One Team,” they should still be showing an index finger to the world, not a middle finger to their brethren.