Kessler’s last stand?

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As the NFL sees it, close inspection of the demands of Patriots guard Logan Mankins and Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson could very well reveal the fingerprints of Jeffrey Kessler, NFLPA* lawyer and architect of the Brady antitrust action.

It is currently believed by the league that only an effort by Kessler to overplay his hand will derail a new labor deal.  The demands of Mankins and Jackson for free agency or $10 million each, could be exactly what the league feared.

Indeed, virtually every remaining issue as of Monday morning (with the exception of the league’s effort to close the California workers’ compensation loophole) represented a demand from the players, as developed and communicated by Kessler.  Kessler wants $320 million in benefits that weren’t paid in the final year of a labor deal that was overwhelmingly favorable to the players, a claim that borders on the ludicrous.  Kessler wants a lump sum for the “lockout insurance” case (something that, in all fairness to Kessler, the league should have expressly included when moving from its proposal regarding the revenue split to the final range of 46.5-to-48 cents).  And now Kessler wants at least two of the named plaintiffs to be exempt from the rules that will apply to the rest of the 1,900 players.  (Previously, Kessler wasted hours of negotiating time arguing for a franchise tag exemption on behalf of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.)

This newest hurdle, advanced in part on behalf of a receiver who should be glad he’s still in the league after a pair of DUI incidents, could have been avoided in March, if Kessler had merely advised his ultimate client, NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith, to ensure that any of the men volunteering to be named plaintiffs would leave their personal agendas at the door.

Kessler should have advised Smith to tell the men that, if they are going to want something other than the satisfaction of helping their “One Team” of NFL players, then they shouldn’t sign their name to the documents.  By failing to ensure that such a commitment would be secured up front, Kessler failed his ultimate client, De Smith, and the men the NFLPA* represents.

Sure, maybe De Smith should have thought of this on his own.  After all, he was a practicing lawyer before he was hired by the players’ union.  But Kessler is the man at the wheel of this bus, and Kessler should have realized based on the precedent of the Reggie White case that some of the named plaintiffs would possibly want something for themselves, even if they had no role in the hard work done to settle the case.

If anything, Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth and Colts center Jeff Saturday should get the $10 million each, for spending countless hours out of their normal element for the benefit of their brethren.  That contrast between Foxworth and Saturday and Mankins and Jackson makes the current behavior of the latter duo even more offensive.

And it makes Kessler’s failure to ensure that this wouldn’t happen even more unforgivable.  No matter how this all shakes out, we believe it’s time for De Smith to get a new set of lawyers to represent the interests of the players.

Until then, we call on Mankins and Jackson to publicly drop their selfish demands and get out of the way.  (As if anyone listens to what we have to say.)  They’ve done nothing to help the process to its current point other than sign a piece of paper.  They now need to be prepared to sign another piece of paper so that the process can finally end.

If they refuse, there’s always the UFL.

Oh wait.  There’s always the CFL.

59 responses to “Kessler’s last stand?

  1. Since when does Lawyering have anything to do with common sense? All about winning at all cost..
    Close to extortion, but perfectly legal..

  2. Collusion would be justified in the case of these two jerks. Don’t franchise them, terminate their contracts and everyone agree not to bring them in as free agents. They don’t deserve to keep playing after this stunt, and the other players should be outraged by this selfishness.

  3. Amazing how I’ve been repeatedly called a “shill” for supporting the owners this off season, and heard all about evil Jerry Jones wanting to ruin the competitive balance of the league. I’ll I’ve seen so far is the owners back down from their demands to a reasonable compromise on most issues while the players have never stopped threatening the progress of negotiations as well as the heart of the NFL as a whole.

    Shameful. Completely shameful. And this is coming from somebody who supported the players up until the point that they decertified.

  4. Whats sad is that these two idiots will get picked up by someone despite the chance that they could derail this entire thing. The blame game however can’t be on the owners or the players really. It falls on these two clowns and their lawyer.

  5. Maybe the other players should invite Mankins and Jackson over for a “towel party”. See Full Metal Jacket if you don’t know what I mean.

  6. Don’t hold your collective breath for Vincent Jackson to do something unselfish.

  7. Thumbs up if you’d enjoy punching that grinning cretin Kessler square in the face.

  8. These players still have to play in this league….Good luck with that if they remain this selfish.

    You think Ray Lewis or James Harrison will not show thier emotions on the field to subjects in this case.

    Not to mention, owners could have an agreement to black ball these guys, which if they are this selfish…they deserve it.

  9. One of these days you need to let us know what Kessler did to you in a previous life…boy do you have a hard on for this guy…

    Having said that, I agree with your overall take that this is a selfish move by the players involved.

  10. As a Patriots fan, this is a joke. The Patriots offered Mankins LY the contract equivilent to the top 2 or 3 Guards in the NFL and he snubbed his nose. He sat out 1o games and now wants the $$ back via $10 Mill?

    Set it up that the franchise tag can only be applied for one season.

    Mankins is going to be paid $10.1 mill this season. If he doesn’t want to be in NE , give us a #1 pick,th #33 in the 2012 draft and Logan can go find another team.

    With the lovefest between him and BB I don’t understand why something can’t be worked out on a contract long term?

  11. Representing multiple clients with conflicting interests in the same matter is called a “conflict of interest.”

    Someone should file a complaint with the bar association.

  12. Blah blah blah.

    Go Bills, won an authentic throwback Jim Kelly jersey at six flags Darien Lake thanks to my sick three point jumpshot. Added up enough points and $50 bucks… Then Bam! My story is way cooler especially cause I tried to bribe the little turd with $50 prior.


  13. Praying for Demarcus Ware to streak in from the side and chop this goober’s pen out of his hand.

  14. This is coming from a Pats fan: Logan Mankins is a tremendous Guard, but he is a piece of garbage as a human being.

    I’ve heard a lot of national media people last night and this morning address this situation by saying, essentially, that they don’t think Mankins would hold up the deal, but that Vincent Jackson….he could be a problem.

    These guys obviously don’t know Logan Mankins. Never has there been a more selfish, obstinate person than Mr. Mankins. If anyone has any doubt that he will use every ounce of leverage he may have here, let me go ahead and erase that doubt for you right now.

  15. this is what happens in litigation. You went from a collectively bargained solution among majority of 1,600 players – to a litigation quagmire.

    Now we wait for the “selfish few” to unblock the needs of the “many”. Brilliant!

  16. Would sure hate to see a deal fall apart for this crap, but could certainly understand the owners walking away. First a demand of $320 mil for undue benefits and then this crap?

    Somebody needs to have a sit down with either Kessler or those two knuckleheads so progress isn’t undone.

  17. Missing the boat…..The reason Jackson wasn’t signed long term is the DUI’s and an impending 1 year suspension!
    What GM wants to assume that risk?
    Mankins has a case…It was all about what his value was…When NO made Evans the highest paid OG….the Patriots FO didn’t want to pony up the cash needed to get a long term deal…Mankins felt dissed and rightly so.
    The question is..will they sign him long term or let him walk to get a new CBA????

  18. I hope this whole thing gets derailed just to annoy NFL fans, I’ll just gamble on college football instead.

  19. Why would you allow a guy who just sat out 2/3 of a season to be part of anything to do with the future of your union?
    This just emphasizes the intention of the Union from the onset.

  20. All along, at least until the last 2 weeks, I’ve been touting De Smith as the idiot of this whole issue, now I see I was wrong. It’s kessler that wants the bull’s balls and is holding things up. Smith, it’s time for you to be a real leader and a) dump kessler and b) take Mankins and Jackson outside the wood shed and instill some sense in them.

    Seriously, this is not what the litigation was intended for Mr. Mankins and was intended for the benefit of all players…. past, present and future… Not two members on personal agendas….

  21. I wonder whether there is anything Kessler or Mankins/Jackson can do.

    The class action hasn’t been certified. In order for it to be certified, there would need to be a showing that the named plaintiffs do not have any interests adverse to the class as a whole. This is clearly an interest adverse to the class.

    Any settlement of the proposed class action would require judicial approval at this point. I wonder whether they can present a settlement to Judge Nelson without the signatures of all the plaintiffs. I believe this would require Mankins/Jackson to sever their claims from those of the rest of the named plaintiffs and obtain their own counsel (kessler?).

    The problem for them becomes the fact that the remaining named plaintiffs with interests that are aligned with the class can enter into a class action settlement (where the judge certifies the class). This would likely settle Mankins/Jacksons claims right out from under them. They could opt-out of the settlement class but once the settlement is approved and the union is reconstituted, Mankins and Jackson are SOL. They can either abide by the settlement – which wouldnt include their $10 million – or opt-out of the union and not play again. Enjoying the $10 million and not playing again seems stupid when they could get $11 million to play.

  22. As I said in a previous entry, give them their Free Agency. That does not mean that anyone has to sign them. There is plenty of hush deals that go on. Then let their respective team offer them a 1 year deal for 1 million dollars. Take it or leave it your choice.

  23. If I’m the NFL I would declare Kessler and Kessler Jr. “personae non gratae” I would fine and take drafts picks away from teams that hire players with Kessler Jr. as an agent.

    Get rid of the poison.

  24. Guess what…if this Lawyer and two clowns derail this labor deal, there will be a whole lot of trouble headed their way for any future in the NFL. The writing has been on the wall for over 2 years of when the labor situation was going to become an issue. Your telling me that their agents were not aware this is going to be a tuff year. Now these clowns want to totally derail progress? I hope the players association, NFL, Fans, and their teammates run these two idiots out of town. I should be their agents fault…not everyone else’s.

  25. waitingguilty says:
    Jul 19, 2011 10:23 AM
    One of these days you need to let us know what Kessler did to you in a previous life…boy do you have a hard on for this guy…
    I don’t know how much you’ve been reading all these CBA articles here but IMO MF/this site has been very much in the players’ corner on things. For him to go off on Kessler like this is actually quite striking to me, and is a recent turn of events.

    Again, bobwhitequail, take a bow my friend.

  26. Kessler probably needs the extra cash to pay for that cranio-rectal extraction surgery that he so badly needs.

  27. Given the special settlement terms given Reggie White and others what is or should be the suprise. Mankins’ agent provided key affidavits quoted by the trial judge in grnting her injunction on the lockout. Bob Kraft’s arrogance in demanding an apology from Mankins before signing him to a new deal which was agreed upon and a genuine loss of money dictates a settlement with him, Settling with he and Jackson and very small pieces of mosquito foreskin, to quote PT (Jerry) Jones!. The economic benefits gained by the NFL in this deal makes their demands look like chump change.

  28. This isn’t going to derail things much, if at all. There will be enough pressure to blow right past this little stunt.

    Kessler is like a rabid dog that needs to be put down. DeMo needs to take him out back and return alone.

    Regarding the named plaintiffs, they should get nothing extra and like it. Reggie White and those plaintiffs took a bold step and gained countless new rights for every player; they deserved a little extra for their risk as it was a huge risk at the time. Mankins and Jackson didn’t know when and where the two sides were meeting on most days…they don’t deserve sh@t!

    Now stop holding this thing up and let’s get’er done!

  29. The thing about Kessler is that he is not a sports fan. He is just obsessed with the business of professional sports.

    He hates the anti-trust exemptions given to pro sports leagues on principal and his goal is to eradicate them through the court system.

    This deal is the worst thing that can happen for him. His goal is not to get the NFL back this season, it’s bring back a professional football league in a completely different form without an anti-trust exemption.

    And he doesn’t care how long it takes, because like I mentioned at the top, he doesn’t care about the sports themselves.

    All of that said, I don’t believe he is going to be able to stop this settlement. If this weak a** claim is the best shot he’s got left, he’s finished.

    And when he inevitably loses here, he is going to turn right around and attempt to do the same thing to the NBA.

  30. This is Kessler’s last stand because if he keeps it up, he is going to get one of his legs (cut, shot, kicked, etc.) off.

  31. If these two IDIOTIC Idiots push this, and make the CBA pushed back, and ultimately free agency delayed, I am going to be PISSED! The thing is so close, and these two idiots that have been at home drinking beer (and Jackson driving after) want to throw their two half cents in this. If I were any other player on their team, or in the league, I would be asking the two over for a little “talk” with the other 1900+ players at my house waiting for them.

    Mankins = Ok guard, and Idiot

    Jackson = ok receiver, idiot, showboat, and going to be out of the NFL after this stunt.

  32. “You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? She’s the ship that made the Kessler Last Stand in less than 12 parsecs. She’s fast enough for you, old man. What’s the cargo?” /Han Solo-ed

  33. It would be awesome if Mankins and Jackson got what they wished for, became free agents and then got totally blackballed by every team for single-handedly holding these negotiations up.

    It boggles the mind how guys who play football professionally and make millions in ONE year with the franchise tag, would rather cut their noses off to spite their face. Unreal. They can come sit in my cubicle and make $55,000/year and I’ll go play football for $10 million for a year.

    Freaking ‘gloids.

  34. This is just another example of the internet hack assuming he knows what he doesn’t know. Only the principles know for sure what has been discussed/suggested over the past 5 months during negotiations. In the home stretch, a few of those unresolved issues are bound to come up as each side tries to get it’s last wish list items addressed. From the NFLPA* side, asking for more than expected will help persuade more owners to approve the final deal minus those requests.

  35. This will be a non-issue by the end of the week. PFT making mountains out of mole-hills. This is typical of the last days of litigation when both sides are trying to grab what they can get before the deal is sealed again for 10 years.

  36. Jackson is going to get kicked out of SD…. they need to really start looking at Steve Smith and or Randy Moss.

  37. Slim Charles says: Jul 19, 2011 10:43 AM

    I hope this whole thing gets derailed just to annoy NFL fans, I’ll just gamble on college football instead.
    ___________________________________Me too, Slim. Getting the odds and laying/taking the points is all the same, whether it’s baseball, football, or just what color tie is worn by the next man coming into the bar. I don’t care. I’ve had my days in the sun with the NFL; but after reading this article I don’t give a damn if the NFL signs a deal with the NFLPA* or not.

    Greed is cancer of the mind and soul. I wonder where Mankins and Jackson will be playing next season.

    Lawyers feast on human misery, misery which they help create.

  38. To Slim Charles, what are you doing on this site? Are you sure there are no college football games playing this week. If you don’t care for the pro football fans then why are you here, go away. Bill p.s. Or go and get a job with FOX News, you will fit right in.

  39. This reminds me part of “The Prince” by Machiavelli.

    The leader on top in order to stay smiling must have a hatchet man in the shadows who plays the bad guy. It gives the leader plausible deniability and the ability to separate himself or herself if things go sideways.

    Kessler is the hatchet man for the NFLPA. His role is bad guy, he is not there to make friends and he is not there to have fans like him. He is there to get the best possible deal for his clients and he is the attack dog for the NFLPA. It is his role.

    To suggest that Kessler has an agenda that is not known to the rest of the NFLPA I think is a bit far fetched. It makes sense now that there is so much pressure to close this deal that someone try to get some last minute concessions. I do not like it, but I understand it. He is doing what high powered lawyers do when negotiating a multi billion dollar deal. I think he stinks and should stop, but that is because I am a fan.

  40. Jackson and Mankins both got screwed over last season by a deal that let their teams pay them far less than fair value. I have support for them, although none for Brees or Manning.

    Those aforementioned are absolutely terrific players and it was the stubborness of their teams and not the players that lead to their holdouts. They deserved more.

  41. This is all a red herring. Mankins and Jackson can’t hold anything up in the long run. They could easily be disqualified as class representatives by having interests antagonistic to the class (all the other nfl players). The Plaintiff’s lawyers can simply drop them for this reason, and the judge would approve it. The NFL’s lawyers could simply file a motion for partial denial of class certification, arguing that a couple of the plaintiff’s are not adequate representatives for the class, which is a required element for class certification.

    This is just one more non-story before he flood gates open.

  42. Keesler is just DeMo’s lackey. Just shut up and close the deal. Sorry dammed lawyers are going to screw this thing up yet.

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