Federal investigation of NFLPA could be accelerating

As if the ongoing tug-o-war between the NFL and the players’ union didn’t already have enough layers and hurdles, a federal investigation regarding the potential collusion of former NFLPA management with ownership appears to be moving forward, according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal.

Mullen explains that the Department of Labor has been exploring “whether former player leaders conspired to give information to the NFL that would give the league an advantage in collective-bargaining negotiations.”  She reports, citing an unnamed source, that as least one subpoena has been served on the union.

Former NFLPA president Troy Vincent and others allegedly met with NFL owners and officials “to undermine the union’s collective bargaining position.”  Complicating the situation is the fact that Vincent now works for the NFL.

Though the investigation possibly was instigated by former NFLPA executive Mary Moran, who claims that the union retaliated against her, current NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has strong connections in the Department of Justice, which would be responsible for any eventual prosecution.  To the extent that the situation creates a distraction and/or places pressure on the NFL, Smith has no reason to do anything to scuttle it.