Washington Redskins players agreed today they want to make a gesture to symbolize union solidarity during their opening preseason game Saturday night against the Dolphins in Miami.
The gesture has not been decided, according to player representative Mark Murphy, who said he had to consult with his counterpart with the Dolphins, Jimmy Cefalo.
"Anything we do will not be disruptive," Murphy said. "It will not impede the game. We voted unanimously in a team meeting that we want to make a collective action to show that we are solid."
General Manager Bobby Beathard said, "At this time, we have not decided what we will do" if the players participate in a formal union gesture.
A league official said the Management Council, the labor-negotiating arm of the NFL, has informed teams that players should be fined no less than $100 for any participation in activities during exhibition games.
It also was learned the NFL Players Association is close to concluding contract arrangements with Ted Turner's cable television company for broadcasting rights to games the union says it will stage if players are locked out by owners at the start of the season.
These games would be between all-star teams composed of top players from the 28 clubs. The union would get $500,000 per game, plus half the gate receipts and other potential revenue. Most of the money would be distributed to the players.
League officials have maintained that participation in such games, if the players went on strike, would be in violation of the standard players contract. But a spokesman for the Management Council said today no decision has been made concerning such games in a lockout situation.
The players association, which is negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL, has said it wants to use preseason games to demonstrate to the league that its member players are united and are capable of pulling off a strike.
Murphy said Redskin players were upset by how the league dealt with an attempt by Baltimore and Minnesota players last Saturday to meet at midfield and shake hands before the Hall of Fame game.
The players were kept in the locker room during the National Anthem. They were told by their coaches they would be fined if the handshakes occurred, since it would be a violation of the league's antifraternization rule.
"The players were very angry in the meeting about the Hall of Fame episode," Murphy said. "I think it showed players in the league that management is paranoid about the union and the negotiations. I think they want us to stay divided and try to break us down. It's a shame. If we were dealing with people who were bargaining in good faith, we wouldn't have to do anything to show them we are unified and strong.
"Maybe if we do this, it will help to get them to the bargaining table. Or maybe it would shorten a strike and get a quicker settlement."
Redskin management averted another potential problem with the players today by reversing a previous decision denying some athletes expense money to cover travel costs from their home to training camp.
According to Murphy, the Redskins in past years have paid expense money to players who have driven to camp with a teammate. But he was informed by the Redskins Tuesday that payment would go only to the driver. The players voted today to file a grievance over the decision.
"It affects only five players and covers about $500," Murphy said. "But there is a principle involved here. They've always done it in the past. You'd think this would be the worst possible time for something like this. Maybe they are trying to show us they dominate us."
Said quarterback Joe Theismann: "It shows no class. It's petty on their part. We are having a calm camp with no disruptions and they let this happen."
But late in the afternoon, Beath-ard said the affected players would receive their travel money. "We've cleared this up," he said. "They'll be paid."
Beathard also resolved another grievance filed by the NFLPA after the May minicamp over the Redskins' refusal to pay veterans $4 a day gas money, as the team had done in previous years. Beathard said the veterans now would receive their money.
The Redskins cut their first 1981 draft choice today when they waived defensive end Harold Smith, a 10th-round pick from Kentucky State . . . John Riggins sat out the morning practice with a slight hamstring pull . . . Rain forced the Redskins indoors for one workout . . . Running back Otis Wonsley still is bothered by a sore knee.