Earlier this year, David Cornwell became the new executive director of the NFL Coaches Association. Even earlier this year, David Cornwell made an open and direct assault on the job of NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.
Smith is now returning the favor.
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that the NFLPA has filed a lawsuit against the NFLCA seeking payment of $650,000 and, apparently, putting Smith in charge of the NFLCA.
“I do not know which is more absurd, the claim that De is the Executive Director of the NFLCA or the fact that the NFLPA is blocking us from using coaches’ dues money to advance the interests of coaches,” Cornwell told Cole. “Instead of working with the NFL on retirement benefits, uniform insurance, and other important issues for NFL coaches, now we have to incur real debt to deal with De Smith and the NFLPA.
“De has not done anything for NFL coaches and there is no support for a continued association with the NFLPA. I think the lawsuit and the alleged debt is a smoke screen to prevent the NFLCA from breaking away from the NFLPA.”
The NFLCA previously shared office space and employees with the NFLPA, which also provided money and legal services to the NFLCA. Before Cornwell was hired, the NFLCA had been kicked out of the NFLPA’s offices.
Though Cole reports that the current acrimony traces to the poor relationship between Smith and Cornwell, the atmosphere between the organizations took a turn for the worse last year, after former NFLCA executive director Larry Kennan filed a legal brief supporting the players in their antitrust fight against the NFL — and then a stream of coaches and coaching staffs came out and disavowed the effort.
This fact alone demonstrates that the interests of the NFLPA and the NFLCA aren’t and weren’t fully aligned, which means that someone other than the executive director of the NFLPA should be the executive director of the NFLCA. It also suggests that the past alignment of the organizations was a mistake.
It’s safe to say there will be no alignment of the organizations at any point in the foreseeable future.