Archive for June, 2011

Coaches caught by surprise by NFL Coaches Association’s amicus brief

Legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi memorably said in a piece of video captured by NFL Films, “What the h— is going on out here?”  The coach might say the same about the recent amicus brief filed by the NFL Coaches Association at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

In response to the brief, news reports have coaches from at least 14 NFL clubs indicating that they were unaware of this filing on their behalf.

Following is a sampling of those reports:

ARIZONA

According to the Arizona Republic: “Add the Cardinals to the growing list of coaching staffs who knew nothing of a brief filed last week by the NFL Coaches Association in support of the players’ efforts to end the lockout.”

BUFFALO

Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins (right): “Our entire staff had no prior knowledge, nor were we consulted that the amicus brief was being filed on behalf of the coaches.”

CHICAGO

Statement from Bears coaches: “The Chicago Bears coaching staff was not made aware of the brief filed with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals by the National Football League Coaches Association. We were not contacted and had no knowledge that any such brief would be filed. The Chicago Bears have not authorized the NFLCA to speak on their behalf on issues related to the litigation involving the players and the NFL.”

DALLAS

Letter from Cowboys coaches: “The Dallas Cowboys’ coaching staff did not approve of the brief filed with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals by the National Football League Coaches Association. We did not provide Larry Kennan with the authority to file such brief on our behalf and do not agree with the brief’s position. Like everyone involved in the NFL, we are looking forward to a new CBA and the start of the 2011 NFL season.”

HOUSTON

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (left): “Our coaching staff didn’t approve the contents of the brief filed by the Coaches Association. The brief didn’t reflect the views of our coaching staff. We support our organization.”

JACKSONVILLE

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio: “I checked with our guys and not one member of our coaching staff had knowledge of last week’s brief filed by the Coaches Association prior to the news breaking. None were consulted or involved in any way. This action was taken without approval. Heck, it wasn’t even mentioned to any of us.”

KANSAS CITY

Chiefs head coach Todd Haley: “In talking to all of our guys, there was a great deal of surprise this was filed on their behalf. Nobody was aware that it was going to happen. This was not on behalf of the coaches.”

MINNESOTA

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier (right): “Surprised. Just wondering how that came about and wondering why our team wasn’t contacted. I wondered that and just how many teams were contacted. But just really, in a lot of ways, it doesn’t pertain to us because we had no say in it as a staff.”

NEW ORLEANS

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Saints linebackers coach Joe Vitt said the coaches were ‘appalled’ by the NFLCA’s decision to file a brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to express their support for the players and claim that the lockout is putting the NFL coaches’ jobs in jeopardy: ‘It was awful presumptuous on their part that they would represent all the coaches on our staff.’”

NEW YORK JETS

Jets head coach Rex Ryan (left): “None of our guys knew anything about it…It kind of came out of left field on us. Nobody knew it was filed and nobody approved it being filed, so that’s where it is.”

PHILADELPHIA

Eagles head coach Andy Reid: “We were surprised by the filing and do not support it in any way.”

ST. LOUIS

Rams general manager Billy Devaney: “They were surprised by this being filed. They assured me that they weren’t informed or consulted about it.”

SEATTLE

Tweet from Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (right): “Don’t know anything about this coaches brief everyone’s asking about…”

WASHINGTON

Letter from Redskins coaches: “The Washington Redskins’ coaching staff has not given its backing to the brief filed with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the National Football League Coaches Association…no member of our coaching staff was consulted prior to this action being taken.”

NFL counsel Paul Clement: “The way to get labor peace is to allow both sides to use tools of labor law”

NFL outside legal counsel Paul Clement today stressed the importance of allowing both sides in a labor dispute to use the tools of labor law to reach labor peace.

“The way you get labor peace is you allow both sides to use the tools that the labor law gives them,” Clement said after this morning’s hearing at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis. “That means the employees get a right to strike in certain situations; employers get to lock people out.  There are other tools available to both sides. 

“The idea is using those labor law tools will accomplish labor peace,” Clement continued. “That is not our view; that is the view that Congress took in a couple of statutes; that is the view that the Supreme Court has taken in dozens of its opinions.”

Following are post-hearing comments from Clement:
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NFL-NFLPA statement

“The parties met pursuant to court mediation. Owners and players were engaged in confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan. The court has ordered continued confidentiality of the mediation sessions.”