The NFL Players Association intends to attend all meetings between Dolphins players and independent investigator Ted Wells. But the NFLPA didn’t attend Friday’s meeting between Wells and the man at the heart of the case, Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin.
Per a source with knowledge of the situaton, the NFLPA assumes that the lack of an invitation arises from ongoing friction between DeMaurice Smith and Martin’s lawyer, David Cornwell. Cornwell ran against Smith in 2009 for the executive director position, Cornwell has publicly criticized Smith’s job performance, Cornwell and Smith have clashed via litigation between the NFL Coaches Association (for which Cornwell serves as executive director) and the NFLPA, and Cornwell has accused the NFLPA of trying to steer players and agents away from utilizing his services.
Cornwell says that the choice to exclude the NFLPA was made by his client.
“Jonathan and his family decided that it was in Jonathan’s best interest to be represented by an independent counsel of his choice,” Cornwell tells PFT via text message. “As Jonathan said yesterday, his discussion with Ted Wells was frank and detailed. I was concerned that Jonathan’s ability to be frank and detailed would be compromised if there were too many people in the room.
“We made it clear that our decisions in no way — in intent or effect — interfere with the NFLPA discharging its important duties as the exclusive bargaining representative of all players.”
Not being present for the Martin meeting requires the NFLPA to separately get its hands on the raw information Martin gave to Wells, so that the NFLPA can best advise players who may be the targets of accusations of wrongdoing, and regarding the accusations that will be made against them.