Arrington Defends His Agent

Friday, December 8, 2006

Former Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington told a congressional panel yesterday that the NFL Players Association acted improperly when it disciplined his agent, Carl Poston, for his handling of a 2003 contract between Arrington and the Redskins.

"What was the motivation in going after Carl Poston in the first place if there was a resolution between myself and the franchise" regarding the contract, Arrington said after the hearing. The linebacker, who now plays for the New York Giants, said that in 2003 he was faxed a contract for an eight-year $68 million deal that failed to include a second, $6.5 million roster bonus in 2006.

The NFLPA, which was represented at the hearing by general counsel Richard Berthelsen, said it took action against Poston because the union is obligated to ensure that players collect the maximum salary they can in the marketplace.

"Each contract in this league depends on other similar contracts recently negotiated," Berthelsen said. "If I'm an all-pro linebacker negotiating after Arrington, I want to start my negotiations at the level of his contract and increase it from there. If it's missing $6.5 million, I'm in a hole in my negotiating when I shouldn't be. It's a decrease in salary for that category of player."

The NFLPA's five-member disciplinary committee recommended in March that Poston be suspended for two years. Poston has postponed his appearances at five scheduled arbitration hearings, according to the NFLPA.

Members of the House subcommittee on commercial and administrative law suggested that in order to ensure more impartiality during the process of disciplining player agents, the union should consider selecting from a panel of arbitrators instead of using the same arbitrator every time.

-- Thomas Heath

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