As the NFL conducts an independent investigation of the Miami Dolphins, the NFL Players Association will independently investigate the team.
According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, attorney Richard Smith will examine team management’s role in the events that resulted in tackle Jonathan Martin leaving the team on October 28.
As PFT reported over the weekend, Smith also has been retained to assist with the representation of any Dolphins players accused of wrongdoing. Smith was hired to help the NFLPA navigate the conflict of interest inherent to the challenge of representing an employee/union member who accuses other employees/union members of wrongdoing.
Smith’s dual role suggests that the NFLPA could try to shift any blame that lands on specific players to the team, transforming the alleged aggressors into victims. Because Smith has no authority to compel the Dolphins or any management employees to cooperate, the mere existence of an NFLPA investigation suggests that the union has the same reservations about the league’s investigation of the Dolphins as the union has about the NFL’s investigation of potential confidentiality breaches in Tampa.