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Russell Okung makes vague claim of bad-faith bargaining by NFL

The NFL Players Association conducted the first day of their annual meetings on Sunday, four days before the window closes on voting for the new CBA. And Panthers tackle Russell Okung, the only known candidate (so far) for NFLPA president, has capped the day with a tweet that implies the NFL has violated the relevant labor laws regarding collective bargaining.

Okung has posted a document titled “Elements and Indicators of ‘Bad Faith’ Bargaining,” explaining that the federal National Labor Relations Board has the authority to explore whether that kind of conduct is occurring. The document lists various “elements and indicators” of bad-faith conduct.

However, there has been no allegation or indication that the NFL has done any of the things listed in the document, or that the league otherwise has acted in bad faith under the law. The mere suggestion of bad-faith bargaining overlooks the reality that the current CBA is the result of negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA, resulting in a proposed agreement that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has publicly said he is “proud” of.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFLPA has no idea what Okung (who is a member of the Executive Committee, which helped negotiate the deal on which players are voting) is referring to. And here’s the reality: Okung aspires to be the next president of the union. With the vote coming up on Tuesday, Okung needs to do something to get at least 17 members of the board of player representatives to eventually vote for him. Given that 17 members of the board already have voted for the CBA, it will be hard for Okung (who strongly opposes the deal) to muster the votes. His tweet, frankly, feels like a Hail Mary pass to get one or more reps to see things his way.