Sports Business Daily is reporting that a group of as many as 70 NFL players could be close to revolting against DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA by hiring their own lawyer and suing for a seat at the negotiating table. The group is reportedly not looking to stop the current lawsuit, but could be upset with the current strategy of the NFLPA and want the ability to have their own voice during the mediation sessions.
KC Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel, who is a plaintiff in the case and a member of the NFPLA executive committee, told ESPN that he's unaware of any breakaway group and that if the players are unhappy with the job being done by himself and the other union heads, they should elect new ones.
"We all have a seat at the table already. If they're unhappy, then we should get together and elect a new executive board," he said.
The report says that if 75 players agree to the breakaway, the law firm they are working with could file for for an intervention before the week is out. We've written previously about some of the odd decisions made by DeMaurice Smith and the union heads since the start of the lockout and how they've seemingly allowed public sentiment, which was almost unanimously on their side drift to the owners a bit.
ESPN NFL business analyst Andrew Brandt says that he thinks Roger Goodell's letter to the players may have started this rift.
It seems like there's a group of players that maybe Commissioner Goodell got to with that letter in his divide and conquer strategy that may be questioning the direction of the union leadership right now. That's what it appears.
Brandt also says that he expects Judge Nelson to make a ruling on whether to lift the lockout this week.