As they negotiate a potential new labor deal, things largely have been progressing smoothly between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. That could change, fairly soon.
Per multiple sources, Chargers left tackle Russell Okung intends to run for NFLPA president. The next election happens in March. Current union president Eric Winston’s term expires then, and by rule he can’t run for re-election due to the fact that he hasn’t played during either of the last two seasons.
Okung, a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee, is believed to be firmly opposed to a 17-game season and firmly in favor of absorbing (via a lockout) or forcing (via a strike) a work stoppage in order to get the best possible deal for players. Making his candidacy even more interesting is the fact that the NFLPA recently has conducted an investigation that resulted in a finding that Okung gathered and disseminated confidential information in violation of the union’s constitutions and by-laws. Okung, we’re told, vehemently denies the allegation.
The union has taken no specific action against Okung yet, and it’s unclear whether the union will try to impose any type of discipline on Okung.
Reached for comment on the situation, NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told PFT, “We don’t discuss family business.”
Regardless, family business is about to become a point of discussion, once Okung announces his candidacy (as soon as Sunday) and if/when he gathers support from players who agree with his viewpoints and positions regarding player rights and the proper strategies for maximizing them.