More Trouble At The NFLPA

So let’s see if we understand this.
The NFL Players Association engaged in an elaborate process of identifying potential candidates to replace long-time Executive Director Gene Upshaw, weathering controversies and allegations relating to multiple candidates.  The ultimate hire was made at a time when the union needs unity more than it ever has during its existence.
And unity was the sole talking point in the aftermath of the process.  The union was unifired under a unanimous unification of unity.
But the union didn’t determine in advance of the election process the contract terms that each of the finalists would accept.
According to Len Pasquarelli of, new Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and the union are up to $5.6 million apart in their respective positions.
The two sides also are at odds regarding contract duration; Smith want’s a five-year deal, and the union wants a three-year contract.  (The fact that Smith was elected to a three-year term makes his position in this regard a tad, well, goofy.)
We’ll defer to Len as to the rest of the conflict.  The bigger point here is that someone screwed up royally when not determining the terms Smith and the other candidates would accept before a single ballot was cast.
It’s a fairly important issue, don’t you think?  And each finalist’s financial expectations should have been factored into the selection process.
If, for example, Smith wanted $3.7 million per year and David Cornwell would have done it for $1.2 million, maybe Cornwell would have won the job on the first ballot.  Unanimously.  With unity.
Though we’re not suggesting that the finalists should have been required to undercut each other in a reverse auction,-style process the financial terms should have been set before the election, and each of the finalists should have been required to sign the paperwork, with the contract being made expressly contingent on actually getting the job via the election process.
So, regardless of how this all turns out, whoever designed the haphazard procedure should be fired — not only because Smith has acquired ample leverage by not being required to sign a contract at a time when the union held all the cards, but also because this dispute plays directly into management’s hands by perpetuating the notion that the NFLPA can’t get out of its own way.

7 responses to “More Trouble At The NFLPA

  1. I wonder if Obama also had to negotiate his salary and terms after being elected? It makes absolutely no sense to hold an election for a position where the terms are not defined. The terms should be fixed for the job. If those terms are not acceptable, then you don’t submit your name as a candidate.

  2. Am I detecting a grudging respect growing here between you and your former punching bag? Maybe even a little man-love? He’s the same lovable Lenny as before he got sick, or did something change that we all missed (well, except for you of course)?

  3. This is a great example of how most unions have absolutely no fking clue what they are doing. I worked in a union shop for quite a while, and this kind of thing happened on a monthly basis. Granted, we were not involved in the kind of massive dollar amounts as the NFLPA, but this just goes to show you that, without proper business training, these representatives are just shooting from the hip and the players will pay. I can only speculate on the laugh the owners are getting out of this, probably drooling over the thought of negotiating a new CBA with these grade schoolers! Our union was the same way. “Let’s try it THIS way this time,” should be the motto of nearly every union out there.
    I am sure I am going to catch a bashing from all the people out there who think that unions are the answer, but I assure you, they are not. All they really do is set up a your side-my side scenario and nothing gets done.
    So what happens if this guy decides to say screw you? Do they move to the man who got the second highest votes? Do they start all over again (I can’t imagine that would happen)? I would say the source got it just about right in describing this as a “clusterfk”…

  4. I can’t understand why they’d be upset. Obviously he’s every bit the mastermind negotiator they thought he was. This just goes to show that they elected exactly the right man for the job.

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