April 08, 2003

NFL Arbitrator who ruled for Redskins...: is a 'Skins season ticket holder. The Redskins were surprisingly awarded KR Chad Morton, the fourth Jets player to be picked up by the Redskins this offseason. The Jets are not happy. The first game of the season is Washington vs. NYJ.

posted by owillis to football at 08:44 PM - 8 comments

And won't we all be surprised when some vicious tackle or other foul takes Morton out for the season... Wait, that would only happen if the fans were on the field. Or maybe if the scumsucking arb was in the stands. Players would never hold this kind of thing against another player, would they?

posted by billsaysthis at 08:50 PM on April 08, 2003

Oh man, this is terrible. How could the NFL appoint an arbitrator without ensuring that he wasn't involved with either team? Does anyone know how arbitrators are chosen?

posted by dusted at 11:01 PM on April 08, 2003

"By awarding the player to the Redskins, Bloch clearly exceeded his authority under the CBA," Dennis Curran, the NFL Management Council senior VP, said. The Jets cannot appeal, however. This is just absolutely ridiculous. If an arbritrator ruled that the Colts failed to properly match the offer of, say, Marvin Harrison, and awarded him to the Buccaneers, try telling me the issue would be over then. I would think that the NFL could care less about "appealy-ality" of the issue, and step in and make it right. But this article doesn't mention it, and restricts itself to the appeal issue. Bunk journalism.

posted by chmurray at 01:54 PM on April 09, 2003

err, "appeal-ality". Can't even spell a made up word right...

posted by chmurray at 01:55 PM on April 09, 2003

There are a couple of different legal-ish questions in play here I don’t pretend to know the whole story, so please fill in the gaps where you can. The issue of Bloch being a Redskin fan really isn’t one of the big deals here, or at least not one that the Jets/NFL can harp on. I’ve heard reports that they were well aware of the fact Bloch had season-tickets from the get-go and had no objections. That said there are two levels on which the Jets would wish to appeal. The first is that the ruling was wrong. They claim that the omitted clause in the contract did not need to be matched under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. In deciding this before making their offer they checked with the NFL offices, who agreed with them that the clause could be left out. Their biggest failure was that they did not check with the NFL Players Association (as I’ve heard it), or if they did, that they put too much faith in one over the other. They’ve since said they would have matched the offer with the clause included. But that just makes me think that they tried to get cheeky and got caught doing it. The second claim they can make is the one expressed coming from Mr. Curran at the NFL Management Council. He says that Bloch overstepped his authority. I assume he’s talking about the fact the arbitrator immediately awarded Morton to the Redskins. Rather they would have liked if he allowed the Jets another chance to match the offer, say with an added on one-day window. Bloch appears to have ruled to award Morton to the Redskins because technically the seven-day signing period the Jets had to match the offer in full had ended. It’s letter of the law, snotty and sucks for the Jets, but it is my belief that it is the football Gods’ retribution for the shady Curtis Martin signing from years past. chmurray: The example you give would never happen because arbitrators don't just act, they decide on disputes. I'm not sure what offer to Harrison you're talking about, but they don't just chime in and award players to teams. I guess if the NFLPA and the NFL were in an argument about Harrison's compensation, with the Colts having failed to provide something they said they would, an arbitrator could rule. I guess it's even possible that the arbitrator would declare Harrison a free agent, but there is no way he just picks a team a declares Harrison a Buc. Again, in this case it seems he awarded Morton to the Redskins after finding the Jets failed to match the offer in full within the prescribed seven-day window. After that week, he became a contracted Redskin. "I would think that the NFL could care less about "appealy-ality" of the issue, and step in and make it right." They'd love to I'm sure, but the NFLPA has a say as well. And when they disagree it is the arbitrator's job and his say is final.

posted by 86 at 03:00 PM on April 09, 2003

May I just interject that I hate both teams, but I LOVE chmurray's new word! Appealy-ality! Say it with me!

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:22 PM on April 09, 2003

Sorry, I was tired and didn't argue clearly enough. I'm aware of the role of the arbitrator, and the first point I was attempting to make is that perhaps it would be a much bigger issue if the player was of "superstar" caliber. but there is no way he just picks a team a declares Harrison a Buc. Maybe not picks, as in chooses randomly, but something like this does seem to be what is happening. The arbitrator accused the Jets of failing to "correctly match the offer" and thus awards the player to the outside team, who conveniently he holds season tickets for. Say Michael Vick becomes a restricted free agent next year (I think its an rfa, but you get the idea). Offers are flying around from just about every team in the league. The Falcons *believe* they have correctly matched the best outside offer, and will be able to keep their franchise player. However, an arbitor is brought in and, at arbitration, it is decided that they did not, and the player is immediately awarded to the Cowboys. Spokeperson for the NFL lambasting the verdict. No appeal. Is this the system? (Begin new thread topic: is it a good system?) My second point was that the article sucked, because it refused to address the obvious questions the issue raises. The Jets can't appeal. Why? I have information from you saying they might wish to appeal because the decision was wrong, but that didn't come from the article linked to, and besides, the article clearly states that the Jets can't appeal. Also, and you mentioned concern about this yourself, is the fact that an NFL Management Council senior VP, not a member of the Jets organization, thinks something has gone wrong. Again, this raises questions the article doesn't answer. You made assumptions, (which were very good ones) but the point is still that you had to assume. The linked article doesn't address the issues it brings up. I like sports, but find much of sports journalism utter crap. I don't know why the Jets can't appeal, or whether they have grounds. I don't know how the arbitrator could have exceeded his authority. I don't know if there is a procedure in place for situations where the arbitrators exceed their authority. Surely their decision can't stand if they voilated their authority in making it. Or perhaps not, the point is, I wouldn't know.

posted by chmurray at 04:08 AM on April 11, 2003

Ahem. After reading this article, it's becoming clearer to me. (I can be so thickheaded sometimes!) The Jets offer didn't include "voidable" seasons at the end of the contract. However, from the article: But the Jets, who retained the right to match any offer sheet to Morton by making him a qualifying offer in February, appealed to the Management Council, essentially the league's labor arm, contesting the voidable years. The Management Council subsequently ruled that the voidable years did not represent a "principal term" of the offer and did not have to be matched. In response to this, Morton filed a grievance through the NLFPA, arguing that the "voidable years" bit was a key part about the contract. About those "voidable years": The basic idea is that a player signs a contract for x years, and if he meets certain criteria, that contract is now y years smaller, ie sign a seven year contract, make the pro bowl, and be a free agent again in three. It appears that the arbitrator agreed with Morton and the NFLPA: That was essentially the stance the NFLPA adopted in the Friday hearing and with which Bloch agreed. And the article basically ends from there. This appears to be a disagreement between the Management Council and the NFLPA, with an arbitrator deciding in the NFLPA's favor. With this information, I (a bit surprisingly) find myself agreeing with the aribitrator. Moreso, this makes 86's post either a bit psychic or he had already read the article I'm linking to.

posted by chmurray at 04:26 AM on April 11, 2003

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