At any given moment, there are plenty of conflicts in the NFL universe. At pretty much every given moment, conflict is raging between the NFL Players Association and sports lawyer David Cornwell.
Cornwell, who represents Kim Miale in her pending investigation by the NFLPA regarding the possible use of her boss, Jay-Z, as a runner in connection with the recruitment of Jets quarterback Geno Smith, tells PFT that he believes the union has been trying to steer players and agents away from using his services.
“The practice has become so persistent that I generally advise prospective clients to expect to hear from the NFLPA,” Cornwell said via email. “We really don’t care about it though. In fact, we welcome the opportunity to discuss our track record — and theirs.”
Cornwell hasn’t been bashful about discussing the NFLPA’s track record, or at least his perception of it. In a recent USA Today profile by Jarrett Bell, Cornwell took another shot at NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.
“I think he was a poor choice and I think he’s done a poor job,” said Cornwell, who ran for the position against Smith in 2009. “I’ve expressed my opinions. It’s up to agents and players to decide what to do about it.”
Speculation regarding the potential impact of Cornwell’s relationship with Smith on matters pending before the NFLPA surfaced when Cornwell unexpectedly did not appear for Miale’s recent hearing before the union. Cornwell’s email to PFT shows that Cornwell believes the NFLPA, for whatever reason, prefers that Cornwell not be involved.
Cornwell’s contention applies not only to matters pending before the union, but also to league-instituted disciplinary matters on behalf of players. Cornwell said that Seahawks cornerbacks Richard Sherman was dissuaded from utilizing Cornwell’s services when Sherman faced a suspension last year. Cornwell declined to name any other specific clients or prospective, due to confidentiality concerns.
The NFLPA has not yet provided a response to inquiries regarding Cornwell’s contentions.
The union has no jurisdiction over Cornwell, since he’s not certified contract agent. As Cornwell sees it, that hasn’t stopped the NFLPA from trying to freeze him out, both when it comes to matters pending before the union and as to disputes involving the NFLPA’s constituents.