To have any chance to win collusion case, NFLPA will need access to key texts, emails

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The NFL will deny, deny, and deny again that collusion has occurred in connection with the refusal to give fully-guaranteed contracts to “certain quarterbacks.” To have any chance to prove that collusion actually happened, the NFL Players Association will need to develop evidence to disprove the defense that it was coincidental, not coordinated.

That means getting access to text messages and emails exchanged by and between key owners, team executives, and league-office employees. And that’s surely what the union will try to do.

It’s possible that the NFLPA may be facing stiff resistance. As one league source has explained it to PFT, the arbitrator has already applied restrictions to discovery that have frustrated the union.

The source explained that the union is trying to secure emails and text messages exchanged by the owners who belong to the NFL Management Council Executive Committee, along with owners of the Cardinals (who didn’t give Kyler Murray a fully-guaranteed contract), Broncos (who didn’t give Russell Wilson a fully-guaranteed contract), and Ravens (who have refused to give Lamar Jackson a fully-guaranteed contract). The NFLPA has, for now, gotten clearance to get less information than that.

In our view, it also would be important to secure evidence demonstrating that Browns management experienced a negative reception at the March 2022 annual meeting, based on the decision to give quarterback Deshaun Watson a fully-guaranteed contract. Texts or emails among key Browns employees regarding interactions with others who may have given them the cold shoulder and/or may have made pointed remarks about Watson’s contract would help support the notion that the other teams didn’t like what the Browns did, making the existence of a wink-nod understanding that the others wouldn’t do it more plausible.

To have a fair shake at getting to the truth, the union must have access to the private communications among owners. Depositions aren’t enough, because it’s too easy to simply say “we never talked about fully guaranteed contracts.” The best evidence comes from electronic communications that possibly were sent by people who weren’t thinking that those communications ever would become public.

All too often, arbitrators and judges fail to understand the manner in which human beings interact and communicate. They routinely have conversations that “never happened,” and they’re committed to keeping that secret — even if it means committing perjury. Electronic communications never lie, however. And that’s always the best way to work backward in an effort to get to the always-elusive truth, in all matters of this nature, regardless of who the defendants may be.

21 responses to “To have any chance to win collusion case, NFLPA will need access to key texts, emails

  1. Not all forms of communication are so blunt. Gangs use gang signs to communicate. As for NFL owners? I am sure they got some code that the good ole boys have created and maintained on the low.

  2. The owners who said the Browns were dummies prove nothing. If you do something stupid, and it was, does it mean I’m colluding if I say “I’m not that stupid?” They need an email from the league saying “Do not guarantee any QB contracts in full or else”.

  3. So…subpoena every single text and email sent by every owner, GM and head coach? What a mess that would be.

  4. Dont they have to have some sort of proof before they go fishing? Or is a hunch enough to search through your texts and emails?

    The person most likely to get a fully guaranteed contract this offseason was Russell Wilson, and look how that is turning out. Wilson is turning into Albert Haynesworth.

  5. so what is the play here exactly? Demand the owners share all private communications to prove they do not collude, or the players will collude and stop playing?

  6. Do Constitutional Free Speach Laws come in to play here at all or is this considered non political speech?

  7. Fully guaranteed contracts are a bad idea, and I’m Pro Player.

    Partial guarantees, fine. The contract needs to be fair to both sides.

    The Browns created a mess.

  8. Some NFL owners are probably dumb enough to collude via text messages like Stephen Ross openly was tanking and Bill Belichick texting the wrong “Brian” when Flores was discriminated against but they are never going to see the light of day. But what happens if the Burrow, Herbert, Tua class is willing to take the risk of playing on the Franchise tag to get fully guaranteed deals? The Browns opened the door and it cannot be closed.

  9. How is it collusion if contracts, by rule, are not required to be fully guaranteed? Aside from Watson, you only see fully guaranteed contracts in the rare occasion a player signs for what is deemed less than market value with the trade-off being it is fully guaranteed.

  10. this is where snyder can exact his revenge, he is certainly privvy to any collusion info. th e nflpa is probably just using this for leverage for something else– the union and the owners are both culpable for bad behavior imo

  11. I think its pretty easy to explain away not giving Murray or Wilson guaranteed contracts as just being good smart business.

  12. Guaranteed contracts in the NFL are actually bad for other players and the league.
    In the NFL players can decline rapidly and if a team is stuck owing a player a lot of money then there is less money to be paid to the deserving players.
    All that happens is the decline player gets money that would have gone into the pocket of other players.
    The NFL doesn’t pay any extra money but the product suffers.
    And the other players suffer.
    The only one who benefits is the declined player who is collecting money for not producing.

  13. Seeing as the NFL doesn’t have one single owner, they are a privately owned company that is owned by all 32 owners. So, if you think about it with a little common sense, everything they do as a single company is done by collusion of a 75% agreement/vote as a whole. An NFL owner can do whatever they want with their team to a point, but in reality they can rock that NFL boat only so much before they can be voted out and be forced to sell the team that they supposedly “own”. Also, not just anyone can buy a available NFL team that comes up for sale no matter how much money you may have. Once again, the current NFL owners have to come to an agreement/vote to see if you will be able to buy the team or not.

    It seems silly that a company that is run by a committee/board can not have conversations on anything business related from rules, to employee safety, and even though it hurts the NFLPA’s and obviously Florio’s feelings, they can have conversations on what they pay their employees. In the end the NFL is a business and their number one mission is to make as much money as humanly possible for the people who run the business. The NFLPA is wasting their time barking up this tree, their time would be better wasted on legitimate issues and problems.

  14. Somebody find Ted Wells. I’m sure its more probable than not that someone was generally aware that something was fishy about guaranteed contracts… Stand by for the Patriots to be fined, and lose draft picks.

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