NFL Analyst Says the Franchise Tag, Draft, and Salary Cap Are ‘Un-American’

A former NFLPA president has made it clear that the excitement of a typical NFL offseason isn't all that people expect from a legal standpoint.

A former NFLPA president isn’t too fond of how the NFL handles its relationship with its players.

ESPN analyst Domonique Foxworth, a former six-year veteran with the Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, and Baltimore Ravens, went on the Ross Tucker Podcast to discuss the upcoming offseason with the NFL Draft, free agency, and scouting opportunities.

Foxworth, a former COO of the NBA Player’s Association, made it clear that most of the offseason terminology and processes are “Un-American.”

ESPN Analyst Gives History Lesson on NFL Offseason

The long-time ESPN host has always had an understanding of the importance of unions in America, as well as the importance of agreed-upon collective bargaining agreements. To him, though, those agreements don’t necessarily make what the NFL has done right.

“The franchise tag, I agree with you, it’s un-American. So is the salary cap,” Foxworth said on Monday’s show. “Like all of these are illegal. They violate antitrust law.”

Foxworth explained that free agency, the NFL Draft, franchise tag, and other major dates surrounding the NFL offseason only existed because the union finally agreed to decertify themselves in 1993 as a precursor to the creation of free agency.

“The ironic thing is, upon coming to a settlement, the league required that the players reform a union. Because that they needed a union to protect them so they could be allowed to have all these antitrust violations,” Foxworth explained.

“So while I think — obviously as a former president and leader of two different sports unions and very heavily involved — I think the union is very much for the rights of the players, it provides a great deal of protection for the league also. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to have a draft. They wouldn’t be able to collude in the many ways that they are legally allowed to collude.”

Foxworth is correct and gives a brief overview of how most collective bargaining sessions work. The player’s association comes forth with their list of demands, while the league comes back with counter offers.

Normally, the NFL has other rules and regulations they want to put forth, and the two sides compromise by giving some things up but getting other things to pass.

This is why the NFL revenue share with players is as high as it has ever been currently. It’s also why a 17th game has been added to the schedule. Both sides have given up some things to achieve others.

Not Everything Domonique Foxworth Said Is Correct

There is no denying, as a former NFLPA president, that Foxworth has tremendous knowledge surrounding how labor negotiations and unions work. The long-time corner misses one key point in these discussions, though.

Since 1961, Congress has made an exception to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act that allows the NFL and other major sports organizations in America to be exempt from antitrust laws. While this notice was made more surrounding the broadcasting acts of allowing teams to negotiate television contracts, that antitrust exemption has gotten in the way of players openly defying the NFL rules.

One clear example is the NFL’s four-game suspension of Tom Brady for his conduct during the investigation into “Deflategate” in 2014. Brady sued the NFL and ended up losing because the antitrust exemption essentially allowed the league to have free power not to be overwritten by a ruling in Congress or the courts.

Due to the NFL and NFLPA agreeing to a punishment policy for players violating the personal conduct policy, Brady’s appeal was essentially thrown out due to the ironclad CBA and clear exemption that the NFL had from Congress.

A full breakdown of the timeline surrounding Brady’s suspension can be found here.

So Foxworth is only half correct in regards to how the NFL can operate their offseason. The NFLPA essentially gave up some things during the negotiations in 1993 and put forth a CBA that allowed for free agency to be created.

KEEP READING: Peter King Opens Up About Deflategate Reporting and Regret

Since then, improvements for player retirement benefits, a higher salary increase by revenue sharing, and other benefits to players have been given. Is it enough to make former players happy?

In the case of Foxworth, not everything surrounding the league is as perfect as people would want.

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