NFLPA Rules That DeSean Jackson Owes Drew Rosenhaus $500k

Rich Schultz

An NFLPA arbitrator rules in favor of Jackson's former agent, but it maybe a conflict of interest.

An NFL Players Association arbitrator ruled today that former Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson must pay his former agent Drew Rosenhaus $516,415 in unpaid loans, according to Yahoo! Sports legal analyst Rand Getlin.

Jeff McLane reports that Jackson plans to appeal the ruling. Rosenhaus filed the grievance in June of 2013, shortly after Jackson fired him. Rosenhaus was Jackson's agent from November 2009 to June 2013. During that time Jackson made $13M in salary and bonuses, and Rosenhaus loaned Jackson a total of $777,793 in the form of loans, interest from those loans, credit card charges and insurance premiums. This included a $375,000 interest free loan when Rosenhaus was hired. Rosenhaus forgave $175,000 of that loan when he negotiated Jackson's contract extension in 2012.

The players' union ruling against a player and in favor of an agent is interesting in and of itself, even more so that it is Drew Rosenhaus, who is probably the union's favorite agent. In addition to being the league's most notable agent, Rosenhaus was previously represented by a former associate of NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith in a grievance over money owed to former employees:

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith referred long-time former colleagues to defend Drew Rosenhaus during an NFLPA arbitration, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

That action has ruffled the feathers of multiple prominent agents who spoke to Yahoo! Sports on the condition of anonymity, expressing frustration at what they termed a significant conflict of interest. The agents have alleged that Smith’s referral – essentially aiding Rosenhaus in defending himself before an NFLPA arbitrator – is a clear example of Smith protecting an agent rather than impartially governing.

"It’s a major conflict of interest for the executive director of the NFLPA to be referring attorneys to Rosenhaus," one agent said.

And in the Jackson arbitration as well:

Of which Jackson was not a fan of prior to the NFLPA's arbitration ruling:

[Terrell] Owens alleges the union is attempting to force him to use an arbitrator who he says is "essentially on [Drew] Rosenhaus' payroll," in a $6.5 million dispute between he and his former agent.

[DeSean] Jackson raised concern with being forced to use the same arbitrator — Roger Kaplan — in a dispute between he and Rosenhaus over more than $400,000. The wide receiver alleges he was never informed Kaplan was receiving money from Rosenhaus for serving as an arbitrator in an unrelated dispute between the agent and a former employee.

Rosenhaus' claim relied, in part, on the fact Kaplan was the union's most experienced and knowledgeable arbitrator, and that he has been used "almost exclusively" to arbitrate NFLPA grievances for more than … (15) years." A review of NFLPA records reveals that the union has used Kaplan almost exclusively since 1994.

At the end of the 2013 season Jackson, who was slated to make $10.5M in salary in 2014, indicated that he would like more guaranteed money in his contract, which in other words meant a restructuring and getting the upfront payment of a signing bonus. Now that he has a $5M signing bonus from the Washington Redskins, Rosenhaus should see the money owed to him, unless an appeal reverses the decision.

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