Larry Kennan, director of the NFL Coaches Association, said Friday that Washington Redskins coaches were “totally unique” in their response to the brief that Kennan’s organization filed with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which asks for the NFL lockout to be lifted. He also believes they misinterpreted his intentions.
All 17 of the Redskins’ assistant coaches signed and sent a letter to the NFL Thursday saying that “we stand united with our ownership and the brief does not reflect our thoughts on the matter.”
Kennan said his intention wasn’t that the brief be perceived as a statement from all NFL coaches. Instead, he said, he was trying to present the negative impact the lockout has had, and will continue to have, on the league’s coaches.
“When we filed the brief, the first headlines I saw were, ‘Coaches side with players,’ and ‘Coaches speak out against owners,’ but the coaches aren’t against anybody,” Kennan said. “The brief said, ‘Here is how coaches are being impacted by the lockout.’ Salaries are being cut, people are being laid off.”
The Redskins, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, haven’t made any cuts or required employees to take furloughs, however.
Kennan said he proposed the idea of filing a friend-of-the-court brief to the NFL Coaches Association executive committee and received approval. He sent an e-mail to coaches across the league about it. Kennan said he had the addresses for two coaches affiliated with the Redskins coaching staff, but one of them, the team’s former NFLCA representative, Kirk Olivadotti, is now an assistant at Georgia. Another member of the staff, whom Kennan didn’t identify, told Kennan he never received the e-mail.
Kennan said his e-mail did not ask permission to file the brief but rather informed coaches of the move.
“Before they ever read the brief, they had this statement written, signed and sent to the league,” Kennan said. “But I understand that some coaches could be fearful and sometimes are subject to pressures from ownership.”
Redskins’ Senior Vice President Tony Wyllie said owner Dan Snyder had nothing to do with the statement.
“The coaches acted independently, and Mr. Snyder had no prior knowledge of the response they issued to the league,” Wyllie said.