A brief recap of This Week in Lockout News:
Wednesday: The NFL Coaches Association filed an amicus brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the players' request to lift the lockout.
Thursday: The Redskins' coaching staff issued a statement clarifying their position relative to the NFLCA brief: "We stand united with our ownership and the brief does not reflect our thoughts on the matter." NFL Network's Albert Breer reported that 17 members of Washington's staff signed the letter, although head coach Mike Shanahan wasn't one of them.
Friday: The Saints became the latest team to speak out against the NFLCA brief, this time without the PR filter written statements usually provide.
New Orleans linebackers coach Joe Vitt said Saints' assistants were "appalled" by the NFLCA's decision to file a brief, the Times-Picayune's Mike Triplett writes.
"It was awful presumptuous on their part that they would represent all the coaches on our staff," Vitt said of the NFLCA, which is led by former NFL assistant Larry Kennan, who served as the Saints' tight ends coach in 1995.Therein lies one of the problems with the NFLCA not representing all NFL coaches. As Triplett points out, coaches can choose to belong to the union, and Vitt said that Saints' assistants collectively agreed not to join back in 2006. So just because the NFLCA issues a statement (or in this case, files a brief), there's no reason to expect solidarity among the coaches. There's no executive director in the mold of the NFLPA's DeMaurice Smith who, like him or not, has the players mobilized behind the "decertify and let the courts sort it out" strategy.
"We're supporting the owners," Vitt said. "I've said this a million times, our organization has been built on trust. (Owner Tom) Benson has been great to us. Unequivocally, we support our ownership."
Another, bigger problem: communicating clearly. Kennan, appearing Friday on Sirius XM NFL Radio, told co-hosts Jim Miller and Alex Marvez that "I emailed all the coaches to tell them we were going to do this. However, I didn’t do a very good job of communicating with the Redskins. … It kind of caught them blindsided. Before they had a chance to read the Amicus brief and see that it was strictly about being for coaches, they panicked a little bit and maybe got some outside pressure to do something.”
Also worth noting: Kennan made his comments before Vitt spoke out against the NFLCA to the Times-Picayune.
Kennan continued: “If there were a whole bunch of teams [protesting], I’d be concerned. I’m not concerned about one. I know what happened there. They didn’t have all the facts. A lot of us make decisions because we’re in a pressure situation and get caught up reading about something and don’t have all the information.”
Perhaps. But in two days since the filing, two coaching staffs have come out in support of their owners. If the 'Skins and Saints are any indication, it's reasonable to think other staffs will be coming forward soon, too.
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