Why the NFLPA Wants to See These Exchanges
National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) executive director DeMaurice Smith recently requested access to the e-mails surrounding the Washington Football Team investigation. These are the same message that led to the resignation of former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden. His communications displayed misogynistic comments referring to many demographics. That included topics such as race, sexual orientation, female referees, and national anthem protests plus many others.
The players union asked for these to look into the hiring and signing process of coaches as well as players. They want to know if the NFL and its team are using the updated Rooney Rule for its intended purpose. The association would also like a clearer understanding of how franchises operate. They want to know how clubs are treating their players and whether there is misconduct occurring in the building. This is something that may be brought up during the next collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations.
What the NFLPA May Have to Give Up
Both sides want total transparency during these discussions with each other. This trait needs to exist for a fair deal to be agreed upon. That is something that has not occurred in decades at this point. There is extra motivation for this to happen though. Smith was mentioned in one of Gruden’s e-mails containing a racial slur referring to him. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was a subject in one of these messages as well. He was criticized for how he handled certain issues in the league. Both heads of their respective sides are motivated to get a new deal done next time around. The NFLPA receiving these e-mails would be a great step towards that goal.
The only question now is what will the NFLPA have to give in return for these communications. It would be amazing if they got those for free. This would be a gesture of goodwill and maybe even generate some good public relations for the NFL. This is business though. The league has not exactly been the most charitable towards its players in the past. So what would the NFL want in return for these e-mails?
The obvious answer is for the NFLPA to give the same in exchange for these interactions. The association, however, would not have to turn over all of their e-mails. They would only need to share their communication referring to the Washington Football Team investigation. That is what they are asking for in this scenario after all.
Should the NFLPA Do This?
If I were the NFLPA, I would do this without giving it a second thought. Should a person associated with the union have made similar comments towards the NFL as Gruden did, ask them to resign. If they are unwilling to do so, then dismiss them immediately. Maybe even ban them for life if it is a serious offense. Show the NFL that you are not afraid to do this to your own employees or player representatives. That would send a clear message to the league that this issue is important to you and are willing to take steps to end it for good.
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