From News Services and Staff Reports
Thursday, December 7, 2006
New York Giants linebacker LaVar Arrington equated the players union with organized crime yesterday, 24 hours before he was scheduled to testify before Congress at a hearing involving his former agent.
Lawmakers will be looking into the NFL Players Association's suspension of Arrington's former agent, Carl Poston, stemming from his handling of a contract the linebacker signed with the Washington Redskins near the end of the 2003 season. Arrington contends the union acted unfairly in taking away Poston's livelihood.
"They suspended him without a hearing, the NFLPA," Arrington said, sitting in front of his locker. "If you are educated and you pay attention to what is going on around you, they do a lot of foul stuff. It's like organized crime, to be honest with you. They are bad."
Union head Gene Upshaw told the Associated Press in a telephone interview yesterday that Poston made a major mistake in the contract by omitting an alleged second $6.5 million roster bonus that was due in 2006.
"This isn't just about LaVar," Upshaw said. "This is about the other players this guy represents. We have a duty to the other players."
Upshaw added that the union and not Poston is officially Arrington's agent and that it tried to recover the money for Arrington when the mistake became known in January 2004.
"When we got into this, we did it to protect LaVar," Upshaw said. "I couldn't care less about Poston. I felt we'll take care of him [Poston] later, and we did."
Arrington plans to tell his side of the story to the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, which has scheduled an oversight hearing today to examine the NFLPA's arbitration process.
Arrington contends that his eight-year, $68 million deal was hastily closed late in the 2003 season because the Redskins wanted to beat a deadline for salary cap purposes.
Arrington said the Redskins faxed a final version of the contract without including the provision for a second $6.5 million roster bonus in 2006.
Neither Arrington nor Poston noticed the error, and Arrington signed the contract.
Upshaw said Poston had 14 days to review the contract after it was signed and he didn't discover the error. "I ended up telling LaVar about it at the Super Bowl," Upshaw said.
The NFLPA's disciplinary committee recommended in March that Poston be suspended for two years. After several hearings about the case were postponed, the NFLPA suspended him.
· OWNERS TO VOTE: NFL team owners are scheduled to meet in the Dallas area today and are to take a vote on the request by the New York Giants and New York Jets for a $300 million subsidy from the league's stadium loan program. The two teams are planning to build a new stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., for an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.
· DOLPHINS-BILLS BACK TO 1 P.M.: The league announced late last night that kickoff for Miami's game at Buffalo on Dec. 17 has been changed again -- back to its original 1 p.m. EST start. The change came a day after the NFL moved the game to 4:05 p.m. as part of its newly introduced flexible schedule.
· COWBOYS: When Bill Parcells told his team what it takes to win a championship, wide receiver Terrell Owens wasn't listening. "The championship speech? I must have went to sleep on that one," Owens said, laughing.
Parcells gave his speech Monday, a day after a pivotal win in New York and hours before Owens flew to Los Angeles for a 33rd birthday party he threw for himself.
Back in the locker room yesterday, Owens insisted he didn't recall Parcells's words of wisdom about the things the Cowboys (8-4) need to do down the stretch as they try to win their division for the first time since 1998.
"I can't remember. I had my mind on the party," Owens said. "I have no earthly idea of what you are possibly talking about. I don't remember. I was already in L.A. . . . He'll have to redo it."
· LIONS: Detroit placed defensive tackle Shaun Rogers on the injured reserve list, ending his season. He underwent knee surgery while serving a four-game suspension for taking a banned substance.
· PACKERS: Quarterback Brett Favre says he probably will need surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle after the season.