Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Arrington: NFLPA = Organized Crime [J. Mark English]

New York Giants LaVar Arrington has come out swinging against the National Football League Players Association:

Lawmakers will be looking into the NFL Players Association's suspension of Arrington's former agent, Carl Poston, stemming from his handling of a contract the linebacker signed with the
Washington Redskins near the end of the 2003 season.

Arrington contends the union acted unfairly in taking away Poston's livelihood.

"They suspended him without a hearing, the NFLPA," Arrington said, sitting in front of his locker at Giants Stadium. "If you are educated and you pay attention to what is going on around you, they do a lot of foul stuff. It's like organized crime, to be honest with you. They are bad."

Arrington is not exactly stating something new. The irony of his statement is that many believe that Jimmy Hoffa's body is buried in the concrete of Giants Stadium.

But good luck to Arrington for coming out and attacking the NFLPA. When players challenge the unions they are usually left out in the cold. Following the 1994 strike in baseball, players such as former pitcher Rick Reed were referred to as scabs and shunned by players in clubhouses for leaving the players association.

Cory Lidle, the Yankee Pitcher who recently perished in a plane crash...his family may not receive the pension funds owed to him by the union because he crossed the picket line during the same strike.

Pitcher Arthur Rhodes once said of Lidle: "He is a scab. When he started, he would go five-and-a-third innings and (the bullpen) would have to win the game for him. The only thing Cory Lidle wants to do is fly around in his airplane and gamble. He doesn't have a work ethic. After every start, he didn't run or lift weights. He would sit in the clubhouse and eat ice cream. ... He shouldn't say that, he shouldn't say anything like that because he is a scab. He crossed the line when guys like me...were playing. He is a replacement player."

I can understand the intense unity that surrounds these unions. For nearly three quarters of a century players were barred from earning their true keep. When Curt Flood challenged baseball's reserve clause in 1969, he shook the foundations of baseball owners - owners who had hoarded baseball revenue for themselves, and hardly took into consideration the due process of players who were earning them their fortunes.

But the unions today have achieved more then great union heads such as Marvin Miller could ever have imagined. The players unions can be unnerved over the smallest disturbance in a players "rights". Its interesting to see a player openly challenge a union. It will be even more interesting to see how the NFLPA responds, and what role Congress will play after the hearings.

More on the hearings:

Arrington plans to tell his side of the story to the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, which has scheduled an oversight hearing for Thursday to examine the NFLPA's arbitration process.

The subcommittee also plans to hear from NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen; and a law professor, according to a witness list" e-mailed to The Associated Press by House Judiciary Committee press secretary Terry Shawn on Tuesday.

Arrington contends that his $68 million, eight-year deal was hastily closed late in the 2003 season because the Redskins wanted to beat a deadline for salary-cap purposes.