Fight looming between NFL, NFLPA over lockout arrests

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The NFL claims to have embarked on 10 years of labor peace.  The current situation between the league and the NFLPA more accurately would be described as a cold war.

At a time when the NFL and the union are at impasse regarding HGH testing, which the two sides agreed would happen this season but hasn’t, a new fight is emerging regarding the question of player misconduct during the lockout.

An August 4 letter agreement signed by NFL general counsel Jeff Pash and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith seems to indicate that eight players deemed repeat offenders will be subject to discipline for incidents arising between March 11 and August 3.  The league definitely interprets the letter to permit punishment to be imposed on those eight players.

The NFLPA feels differently. “We believe that no player should be subjected to discipline for incidents
occurring during the lockout,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told PFT via email tonight.  “The NFL and the NFLPA signed a side letter to the CBA that resolved and absolved the overwhelming majority of players of conduct related issues.  We retain all of our rights and ability to challenge any player discipline related to incidents occurring during the lockout.”

The disagreement will be crystallized within the context of the appeal Bengals running back Cedric Benson’s three-game suspension.  The appeal hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

We’ll separately post the full text of the August 4 letter, so that you can decide for yourselves whether the NFLPA has agreed to waive the threshold argument, as to the eight named players, that discipline cannot be imposed for incidents occurring during the lockout.

And when all of the pregame shows are talking about this issue tomorrow morning, remember where you heard it first.

UPDATE 10:25 p.m. ET:  Here’s the full text of the August 4 letter.

19 responses to “Fight looming between NFL, NFLPA over lockout arrests

  1. “The Commissioner has determined that the following players are repeat offender subject to discipline for conduct during the Period: Cedric Benson, Kenny Britt, Clark Haggans, Albert Haynesworth, Johhny Jolly, Adam Jones, Aqib Talib, and Brandon Underwood.”

    Let’s read between the lines here and add what’s missing.

    “The above players will be sacrificed to appease King Roger so he may feed on their remains after being thrown under the speeding bus driven by Lord Smith and his disbanded union.”

  2. The agreement sounds quite clear….the NFLPA sacrificed those 8 players and now is just trying to cover their azzes. People every day are disciplined or otherwise held accountable for their actions by their employers, whether on vacation, a weekend or whatever the case may be, NFL players shouldn’t be treated any different. I would like to see the NFL get more consistent on the punishments it does hand out, it’s quite clear that there are different standards applied, depending on which team you play for.

  3. I hope they go on strike again over this. And all we have to remember the NFL by is these past two weeks of this terrible aerial circus a once proud sport has become. The NFL is really starting to suck.

  4. If the language of the agreement is as reported, there is no way that the NFLPA has a legit argument anymore. They officially signed that point away and now they want to say they didn’t mean it…kinda like they didn’t mean to agree to HGH testing either, but they did. seeme like they are trying to back out on key points in the deal. Where is the accountability?

  5. I like RG’s no-nonsense approach to the millionaire children. If I was paying somebody millions of dollars to do a job and represent me in the public’s eye, I would not want people who lack self-control.

    If the malcontents want to set up a convict league they are welcomed to do so.

  6. Why would De sign that thing? How does it help? It couldn’t have been a big argument during the lockout. How did this letter help the people he was representing?

    I hope the suspension holds, so that Cedric Benson can sue the crap out of the NFLPA.

  7. “I hope the suspension holds, so that Cedric Benson can sue the crap out of the NFLPA.”

    You want a scumbag who has been arrested multiple times and has signed $35m and $7m contracts to sue the NFLPA?

    Say that out loud a few times.


  8. Cedric Benson was a free agent at the end of the 2010 season and wasn’t under contract with any NFL team during the lockout…how can Jeff Pash of the NFL and the head of a decertified union possibly make and enforce an agreement on his behalf? Benson may be an idiot, but that doesn’t mean he should be railroaded.

  9. It seems pretty straightforward to me. Two key points:

    1. There is an agreement that no player engaging in suspension-worthy conduct during the lockout will be punished for it except for the 8 named players, who are so named specifically because they are repeat offenders.

    2. While other players won’t be punished for things they did during the lockout, if a player who got in trouble during the lockout should get in trouble later, they can be considered repeat offenders. In other words, guys who screwed up during the lockout will get a free pass unless they get in trouble again, then their lockout behavior will come back to haunt them.

    I don’t see how the NFLPA has a leg to stand on here.

  10. The main issue here is that the Union had no legal standing to negotiate on these players behalf during this period. The Union had legally decertified, so the agreement is with a non-representative agency at the time.
    NFL players could legally sue for any loss wages that they would be entitled too during said period, and the commissioner has just voided the NFL lock out position by saying they were considered employed during that time.
    Ideally this would have been signed away under the current contract, but I am not sure this would hold up especially if pressed now that non-monetary considerations are in play.

  11. escoboltsfan says:

    Goodell has been the worst commissioner the NFL has ever had.
    How is the vote nearly split on this statement?

    The man has claimed sole power for fining and suspensions, which he throws out willy-nilly. Guys get fined for hits film shows are legal but not fined for illegal hits. Guys get suspended for conduct where no charges were filed but not where they’ve been convicted.

    He’s had six years since the controversy of Super Bowl XL to address officiating issues. But here we are discussing how the play wasn’t reviewed when Sproles clearly stepped out of bounds on a TD run. And the only change is that the coach was stripped of his right to challenge. Officials seem less knowledgeable about the rules now than they were in 2005.

    He claims to care about safety, but can he provide data to show fewer players are being injured? Speaking as a female fan and cancer survivor, I don’t need to see pink fields in October. I would like to know why the NFL stopped supporting The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis since that hits closer to home for NFL players.

    I just don’t understand why Goodell seems to have so many fans.

  12. These guys were not smart enough to stay out of trouble, now they want to be bailed out by the players union which they fired when it did not benefit them. Playing in the NFL means not responsble for any actions on and off the field but give me my check Monday morning. As a fan I now wish the owners would have said OK no football. Thes players are oblivious to what they have and are beginning to reuin.

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