The NFL claims to have embarked on 10 years of labor peace. The current situation between the league and the NFLPA more accurately would be described as a cold war.
At a time when the NFL and the union are at impasse regarding HGH testing, which the two sides agreed would happen this season but hasn’t, a new fight is emerging regarding the question of player misconduct during the lockout.
An August 4 letter agreement signed by NFL general counsel Jeff Pash and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith seems to indicate that eight players deemed repeat offenders will be subject to discipline for incidents arising between March 11 and August 3. The league definitely interprets the letter to permit punishment to be imposed on those eight players.
The NFLPA feels differently. “We believe that no player should be subjected to discipline for incidents
occurring during the lockout,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told PFT via email tonight. “The NFL and the NFLPA signed a side letter to the CBA that resolved and absolved the overwhelming majority of players of conduct related issues. We retain all of our rights and ability to challenge any player discipline related to incidents occurring during the lockout.”
The disagreement will be crystallized within the context of the appeal Bengals running back Cedric Benson’s three-game suspension. The appeal hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
We’ll separately post the full text of the August 4 letter, so that you can decide for yourselves whether the NFLPA has agreed to waive the threshold argument, as to the eight named players, that discipline cannot be imposed for incidents occurring during the lockout.
And when all of the pregame shows are talking about this issue tomorrow morning, remember where you heard it first.
UPDATE 10:25 p.m. ET: Here’s the full text of the August 4 letter.