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ESPN reports conflict on whether named plaintiffs sought benefits


Here’s the last thing we’ll say (we hope . . . as do the rest of you) regarding the story that took the NFL world by storm on Tuesday, prompting Vikings punter Chris Kluwe to drop a D-bomb on Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Vincent Jackson, and Logan Mankins.

(Actually, since we’ll be posting at some point the clip of Kluwe’s Wednesday appearance on PFT Live, it’s technically not the last thing we’ll say about it.)

Once the proverbial poo hit the propeller on Tuesday, the backtracking began.  And the end result has been another case of ESPN-on-ESPN crime.

Chris Mortensen reported that agent Tom Condon, who represents Brees and Manning, said the players weren’t seeking special treatment.  “They haven’t asked for anything individually and continue to be 100 percent behind the players’ efforts to resolve the negotiations,” Condon told Mortensen.

Sal Paolantonio, appearing this morning on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, had this to say:  “Are Jeffrey Kessler and Tom Condon holding things up a little bit to ensure that the named plaintiffs achieve free agency and don’t get tagged down the road?  Absolutely.”

Um.  Oops.

The truth likely is that the players never personally asked for anything, but that their agents and/or Kessler were doing the asking for them.  It’s a distinction without a difference, but for the men who faced an unexpected backlash on Tuesday, it’s important to be able to say, with a straight face, that they had nothing to do with any request for special treatment.

Still, when one reporter merely passes along what he’s told without analysis or skepticism and another reporter tells it like it is, it creates a little awkwardness, to say the least.

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23 Responses to “ESPN reports conflict on whether named plaintiffs sought benefits”
  1. tomsd1 says: Jul 20, 2011 1:38 PM

    Vincent Jackson’s agent, Neil Schwartz, is my new hero – as he should push for everything Jackson can get – as last year – first the Chargers (GM AJ Smith front and cent) screwed him – and then the NFLPA threw him under the bus.

    And hey – that admiration for a mouthpiece being hardass doesn’t come easily from moi – as I used to be an active member of the cloth. 🙂

  2. nfl25 says: Jul 20, 2011 1:39 PM

    I would bet they did try to get things for themselves. Everyone found out and now they will deny it and the league isn’t gonna tell anyone they asked for it. I like this punter dude. Everyone is so scared of “the stars”. Mike and mike in the morning were acting like this punter was talking junk on Don Corleone.

  3. nfl25 says: Jul 20, 2011 1:40 PM

    something about Brees bothers me. seems like a good dude but i just feel like something aint right with him

  4. supashug says: Jul 20, 2011 1:40 PM

    They are voting on the new CBA today and you are reporting on this still?

  5. ampats says: Jul 20, 2011 1:42 PM

    Who cares. Just finalize an agreement

  6. randysavage4ever says: Jul 20, 2011 1:45 PM

    Sal has been a staple to ESPN’s coverage of the NFL for a LONG time…

    I love the guy, he is a staple to my life (live in Philly), I TRUST SAL’S WORD.

    Schef and Mort are OK…but alotta dicey and questionable things they report on…( other motives?)

    i’ll take Sal’s word. Grown Man B.I.

  7. ezdoesit209 says: Jul 20, 2011 1:48 PM

    Hey it’s every man, woman, and NFL player for him/herself! *shrug* That’s just the way it is….

  8. krow101 says: Jul 20, 2011 1:53 PM

    I’m thinking torches and pitchforks. Brees and Peyton whipped naked through the streets as NFP fans ‘go medieval’ on them. Booyah, let’s do it !

  9. kom2k10 says: Jul 20, 2011 1:57 PM

    I never really believed the reports to be true… Even for football players standards, it would have been an EXTREMEMLY stupid move. It’s not hard to see that EVERYONE would turn on them… the owners, fans, other players, media etc…

    I couldn’t imagine those 4 guys were THAT dumb to do something so obviously selfish and face the backlash that would go along with it.

    That being said, I don’t care anymore… I just want the next headline on this website to read:


  10. ffootballontwitter says: Jul 20, 2011 1:59 PM

    The lawyers told their clients that there was a precedent for awarding cash and prizes and asked if they wanted a piece.

    Brees, Manning, Jackson and Mankins all said “Yes”.

    The players may not have been the one that asked for the benefit — but I don’t see the agents going down this road without first securing approval from their clients. It just goes to show how “principled” everyone in this stupid conflict has been from the start.

    Enough already. Time for FOOTBALL.

  11. jlinatl says: Jul 20, 2011 2:06 PM

    Unexpected backlash?

    I can almost be understand a player being short sighted enough but how could an agent not realize what all his other clients were thinking?

    Seems like a conflict of interest.

  12. philwauke says: Jul 20, 2011 2:08 PM

    So when it’s reported with no evidence it’s wrong? Go figure.

  13. grpatriot says: Jul 20, 2011 2:11 PM

    Condon trying to recoup lost Rookie revenue money…..You’d be nieve to an extreme not to believe it!

  14. nfl25 says: Jul 20, 2011 2:21 PM

    you guys do realize that the last time there was no football, that the plaintiffs in the case got special treatment, i think they were awarded that the franchise tag could never be put on them. so i do think these guys asked for that. not sure if it is holding anything up but i bet they asked for it

  15. bhester1906 says: Jul 20, 2011 2:39 PM

    Who cares. Y wouldn’t they want sone treatment. Some have been at Negotiations.

  16. benh999 says: Jul 20, 2011 2:51 PM

    “Still, when one reporter merely passes along what he’s told without analysis or skepticism and another reporter tells it like it is, it creates a little awkwardness, to say the least.”

    It puts food on your table too, huh?

  17. endzonezombie says: Jul 20, 2011 3:02 PM

    SalPal has been over the hill for years, and only finds support with Philly fans. His stories on ESPN run under his own SportsXchange(?) byline , so he is a contibutor to ESPN ( but not sure if he is an actual employee of ESPN anymore). SalPal never could get the proper pressure/focus in his own Philly on the Marvin Harrison investigation, so Marvin apparently walked after allegedly murdering a witness against him.

  18. peytonwantsaflag says: Jul 20, 2011 3:10 PM

    Well I’m of the opinion that if it’s NOT true then Brees/Manning and/or their reps should have been raising holy hell yesterday, having a press conference very specifically stating that they did NOT ask for anything special.

    Until I here that they’re still greedy SOBs

  19. oscojoe says: Jul 20, 2011 3:19 PM

    Peyton Manning & Drew Brees are sly; they will let there agent and NFLPA attorney take the PR hit for their selfish move. They call it Plausable Deniability.

    So much for being leaders, their true colors come thru. (thou w/ Manning it was no surprise it is always about him)

    Just another example why Tom Brady is a leader w/class and a better teamate on & off the field & in the locker room.

  20. tomsd1 says: Jul 20, 2011 4:42 PM

    Any big “backlash” will be forgotten in about 20 minutes by most of the players and the public.

  21. metalhead65 says: Jul 20, 2011 5:48 PM

    how can you say there is no distinction between what an agent says and what a player says? you reported that manning and brees and jackson were holding up the deal by asking for free agency, when asked they denied it it seems to me if they did not say it themselves then there is a distinction. you may not see a difference between a player saying something and an agent but I do. you have said that was agents agenda all along so why toss the players under if they themselves did not ask for it?

  22. goforthanddie says: Jul 20, 2011 6:41 PM

    Those guys said they wanted special treatment when they filed their own separate lawsuit. Pretty stupid of them to argue otherwise.

  23. covercorner says: Jul 20, 2011 10:28 PM

    Reggie White was immune to the franchise tag. So should be the named plaintiffs.

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