Russell Okung has long taken pride in his participation and activism within the NFL Players Association. Okung was even recently up for nomination as the NFLPA president, losing out to J.C. Tretter of the Cleveland Browns, and last week hired lawyer Peter Ginsberg as he filed a formal complaint against NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith for “violations of our Constitution during CBA negotiations.”
It was announced on Sunday that players had voted to approve the proposed new CBA which included additional revenue share for players and benefits for those retired, as well as a 17-game season and expanded playoffs. The CBA passed by just 60 “Yes” votes and over 500 players did not participate, as tweeted by a disappointed Marlon Humphrey of the Baltimore Ravens.
I’ve retained Peter Ginsberg and his firm Sullivan & Worcester to pursue this claim with the intention of bringing the truth to light. The NLRB charge is further unpacked in the attached letter. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/buYR8xYS3x— Russell Okung (@RussellOkung) March 12, 2020
Around 500 players didn’t even vote on the new CBA smh— Marlon Humphrey (@marlon_humphrey) March 15, 2020
Okung may of course be taking issue with the approved CBA and it seems unlikely that his complaint will go away, even if it would be difficult and complicated at this point to overturn the approval. He tweeted on Saturday that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had finally unfollowed him on Twitter.
So... @nflcommish unfollowed me. I wonder if it’s the Bitcoin tweets.— Russell Okung (@RussellOkung) March 14, 2020
Meanwhile, Smith penned an open letter on Sunday morning outlining why he felt the CBA proposal was a good one for the players in the long term. “Please be confident that I hear — loudly and clearly — those of you who have passionately expressed their perspective that these gains are not enough when weighed against, for example, adding another game. That position reflects how some members have chosen to weigh what aspect of the deal is important to them. The fact is, however, that there are literally hundreds of issues in any collective bargaining agreement that affect thousands of circumstances and impact thousands of current and former players which we must consider carefully,” wrote Smith, among many other things.
I imagine that the former LA Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Seattle Seahawks tackle will not take this approval lightly and though he hasn’t tweeted anything as of this writing, I won’t be surprised if we hear Okung’s response soon.