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Curious ties between NFLCA, NFLPA*


The coaching staffs from 10 teams and counting have publicly said that the brief filed by the NFL Coaches Association in support of the players’ effort to lift the lockout doesn’t speak for them. So on whose behalf is the NFL Coaches Association speaking?

Given the ties between the NFLPA* and the NFLCA, you probably don’t need three guesses.

The “Contact Us” page at the NFLCA website lists Larry Kennan as the group’s executive director. The other staff members listed are all NFLPA* officials, according to the 2009 LM-2 filed by the pre-asterisk NFLPA with the U.S. Department of Labor.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the NFLCA being staffed almost exclusively by NFLPA* employees, the “friend of the court” brief submitted by the NFLCA to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit makes no reference to that fairly important connection. Instead, the NFLCA declares at the outset of its brief that "[t]he National Football League Coaches Association (‘NFLCA’) is a nonunion voluntary association that represents the interests of coaches and assistant coaches currently employed by the thirty-two individual National Football League (‘NFL’) teams, as well as many retired coaches formerly employed by those NFL teams.”

This statement strongly implies (at a minimum) that the NFLCA speaks for every coach employed by every team in the NFL. Clearly, it doesn’t.

The absence of any disclosure that the NFLCA is staffed almost exclusively by employees of the very entity that decertified as a precursor to the very legal claims that the NFLCA is supporting gives the brief zero credibility, at best. At worst, the NFLCA arguably has committed a not-so-subtle fraud on the court.

We’ve got no problem with the NFL coaches having a group that speaks on their behalf on any of the many important issues confronting the league’s coaches. By all appearances, however, that group isn’t the NFL Coaches Association.