Kelechi Osemele fine is the beginning, not the end, of his fight with Jets

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The battle lines were drawn on Friday. On Saturday, the situation officially turned ugly. It’s likely far from over.

When Jets offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele refused to practice on Saturday due to the contention that his shoulder won’t allow him to do so, the Jets fined him for conduct detrimental to the team. Osemele reportedly, and obviously, will file a grievance challenging the fine.

So where does it go from here?

Osemele is listed as doubtful for Monday night’s game against the Patriots, not out. If he refuses to suit up and play, that could result in another fine. If he refuses to practice on Wednesday, another fine. And so on it would go, until the Jets have fined him enough times to justify a suspension without pay for conduct detrimental to the team.

And then, after the suspension, he’ll have to choose whether to practice and play, with the threat of another suspension looming.

Although the Jets have been publicly silent since both Osemele and his agent went public on Friday, there are two potential explanations for what’s happening: (1) the Jets are brazenly and blatantly trying to force a player who has a legitimate injury to practice and to play; or (2) they’re not.

Let’s apply some common sense to the situation. Osemele was benched after the first three games of the season. That’s when the shoulder injury came to light. Team doctors think he can play. He has exercised his right to a second opinion. And the labor deal makes it clear that “[a] player shall have the right to follow the reasonable medical advice given to him by his second opinion physician with respect to diagnosis of injury, surgical and treatment decisions, and rehabilitation and treatment protocol,” after the player consults with the team physician and consider the team physician’s recommendation before making a final decision.

So if the Jets are digging in, it means that they’ve decided to ignore the collectively bargaining procedures for respecting the conflict between the first and second opinions, or there is no conflict. If there is no conflict, it means that, medically, Osemele can practice and play, but perhaps he doesn’t want to practice and play because he’d prefer to get surgery now because he wants to be healthy when the Jets cut him in the offseason and he hits the open market.

Then there’s the question of whether Osemele received Toradol shots that would allow him to play in the first three games of the season with a shoulder injury that the team didn’t disclose. If that’s true, the Jets would be facing discipline from the league for not disclosing the injury. As the Jets learned the hard way in 2009, when then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre wouldn’t quit citing an undisclosed partial biceps tendon tear to excuse his poor performance down the stretch with the Jets in 2008, the league can and will impose significant financial penalties if injuries are hidden.

So if Osemele truly did get Toradol shots for an undisclosed shoulder injury, that’s something he needs to continue to talk about, over and over again, in order to get the Jets scrutinized for hiding his injury. If he doesn’t continue talking about it, maybe he didn’t get Toradol shots for his shoulder.

However it plays out, the fight is just getting started. Unless Osemele chooses to practice and to play, there surely will be more fines, and eventually there will be suspensions. An arbitrator eventually will work it all out. And at the core of the case will be whether the first opinion and the second opinion from the doctors who examined Osemele’s shoulder determined that he’s able to practice and to play.

Which brings all of this back to common sense, in light of the current climate of player safety. Either the Jets are ignoring the collectively-bargained medical rights of a truly injured player, or the player is taking advantage of the sensitivity to health and safety to pressure the Jets to put him on injured reserve so he can get his surgery now.

17 responses to “Kelechi Osemele fine is the beginning, not the end, of his fight with Jets

  1. So if I’m understanding this correctly, the Jets may or may not be doing something wrong and the player is likely trying to protect his Long term free agency employment ability. I agree.

  2. I’m really not sure how Gase get a letter of approval from Peyton. He really come across as a world class jerk to players. He was just as bad down in Miami as he is in NY.

  3. Heard the same sort of story over at Cincinnati, and in Washington. One thing these situations have in common is that over the years none of these franchises have shown an ability to manage a football team.

  4. I side with the player it’s his body and his health. If the second opinion says no go, and certainly he can find a doctor that will say that, the Jets are screwed. And if they didn’t disclose the injury they’re really screwed

  5. players are just commodity to these owners
    to be used, abused and then discarded
    Osemele must do what is right for him
    His specialist see a major problem, the team doctor, paid by the owner, does not
    maybe a third opinion should be sought out
    but, the player knows his body better than anyone else
    his injury probably resulted in his benching
    seems the team is as horrible in the front office as it is on the field

  6. Either the Jets are ignoring the collectively-bargained medical rights of a truly injured player, or the player is taking advantage of the sensitivity to health and safety to pressure the Jets to put him on injured reserve so he can get his surgery now.
    I’m no fan of the Jets but this looks similar to the Jonathan Martin saga in Miami. That dude got benched. Then he ran off to a mental institution and called mommy who was a workplace rights lawyer. That’s when the bully stuff showed up and everybody jumped on that bandwagon and ignored Martin’s own participation in the antics until he saw the benefits of playing victim.

    This could be a player doctor shopping a second opinion that benefits himself at the expense of the team. It makes no sense for a team to just deny care to a player with an actual significant injury who lost his starting job anyway. It is far more likely that the Jets’ doctors are sure he is not injured to the point he says he is. They likely view him as a malingerer trying to scam the team which explains their actions concerning fines. This does not seem to be a mandatory surgery kind of thing. It looks to be elective and the player wants to be paid, receive extra medical care now while he does not work for the money he would receive so he can be in better health when trying to get a job with a Jets competitor.

  7. Rule number one. Don’t acquire players with no heart. If you take over a team that has guys like this, get rid of them. I don’t blame the player. Lots of owners don’t put winning as their top priority either.

  8. IF the Jets benched him that means they obviously dont think he’s starting material. Give him a injury settlement and release him. The Jets shouldnt be setting all up in arms about a player they dont like.

  9. Best thing he and his agent can do is find 2 or 3 independent doctors that confirm his injury. Then tell the Jets to pound sand. Certain organizations are terribly run and scumbag behavior wouldn’t be out of the norm. Skins and Jets are numbers 1 and 2 on that list. Does not surprise me that both have issues in this department.

  10. So his shoulder was fine until he got benched. It sounds like he’s taking the Jalen Ramsey approach.

  11. It shouldn’t be hard for Osemele to find a doctor who recommends surgery. Presumably the doctor he wants to perform the surgery is on board. At that point, the Jets don’t have a leg to stand on legally. The players bargained for the right to get a second opinion and follow that advice specifically for situations like this where they suspect the team doctor doesn’t have the player’s best interests at heart.

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