(Originally published by New York Times on March 9) With just days to go before N.F.L. players vote on a 10-year labor agreement, one of the most influential members of its union’s executive committee has accused the staff of the N.F.L. Players Association of negotiating the proposed deal in bad faith.
Russell Okung, who has been vocal opponent of the proposed 10-year labor deal now before roughly 2,000 N.F.L. players, on Monday filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, the independent federal agency tasked with guarding employee rights.
The three-page filing accuses the N.F.L.P.A. staff, including its executive director, DeMaurice Smith, of forcing a vote on the deal over the objections of its executive committee, in violation of the union’s constitution. Okung also accused the union’s leadership of trying to muzzle him from speaking out about the lack of transparency with the executive committee about the negotiations with N.F.L. owners, which began last year.