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Cornwell says NFLPA leadership engages in “deception and subterfuge”


When last we updated the legal imbroglio involving the NFL Players Association and the NFL Coaches Association, the NFLPA had sued the NFLCA -- and a letter from the NFLCA to the NFLPA strongly hinted that the NFLCA eventually will make claims against the NFLPA.

NFLCA executive director David Cornwell joined SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio on Monday to address the situation.

Cornwell explained that the NFLPA has no legal standing to challenge Cornwell’s appointment as NFLCA executive director, since the NFLPA has no rights or interests at issue. “So I don’t much care whether the Players Association has an opinion on my appointment,” Cornwell said.

And then Cornwell threw the gloves the rest of the way off.

“On February 22nd, the Players Association made this big thing about congratulating me on my appointment as executive director,” Cornwell said. “I don’t know what happened between February 22nd and April 13th, but it’s typical of the leadership of this Players Association to engage in deception and subterfuge, and the result is just a bunch of chaotic confusion.”

Cornwell explained that the NFLPA refused to release the NFLCA’s files, and that the NFLPA demanded payment of $650,000 after Cornwell secured a commitment that the filed would be produced. Cornwell requested proof of the debt, and the NFLPA responded by suing.

Cornwell said he has consistently demanded proof of the debt, and that the NFLPA has refused to produce such information. Cornwell said he’ll pursue legal action if the information isn’t provided.

But he also pointed out that this lawsuit gets in the way of the effort to improve working conditions for the coaches. “I can’t for the life of me understand why Drew Brees, Jeff Saturday, Domonique Foxworth, Charlie Batch, Scott Fujita, Will Smith, I can’t understand for the life of me why those players don’t want those coaches to have these issues resolved, so that their business is effective for them as players business is effective for players,” Cornwell said.

“The bottom line is that players are suing their coaches,” Cornwell said. “Now, if it’s related to Bountygate, and if the Players Association has adopted a strategy to pit players against coaches, that’s a battle they’re going to lose. That’s a battle they’re going to lose. The last thing they want us doing is walking into the building and going out into the field and coaching men who are our adversaries. That’s the last battle they want to pick, with their coaches. I guarantee you that.”

Cornwell’s approach strips this dispute down to what it is. Even though it will be played out among lawyers, the players through their union are suing the coaches through their non-union association.

It’s unclear at the point whether the individual players -- or the individual coaches -- view it that way. But they should.