NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent criticized the NFL Players Association and the way the players union spend “millions and millions of dollars” on legal fees for players who appeal suspensions levied by the league.
Vincent says that money can be put to better use and could have been spent on players who really need it.
"Look at the amount of money being spent on legal fees for a handful of people," Vincent said to ESPN.com. “It's millions and millions of dollars, and we've got players that are hurting. We've got young men who don't know how to identify a good financial adviser. Men are in transition who aren't doing well, and yet $8-10 million a year is spent in court fees about who should make a decision on someone, who in some cases has committed a crime.”
The NFLPA has filed appeals in the past year on the behalf of New England quarterback Tom Brady, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy and current free agent Ray Rice after the NFL suspended each of the players for various infractions.
Peterson, Hardy and Rice’s suspensions were because of off-the-field conduct and Brady is currently await a ruling on the appeal of his four-game suspension for his role in the Deflategate scandal.
Peterson and Rice’s suspensions were overturned by judges and Vincent criticized the way the NFLPA has used the court system to fight its battles.
"Think about that logically," Vincent said. Wouldn't it be better to spend our time and resources on the issues that are vital to our players -- past, present and future -- such as the players' total wellness and growing the game together?"
Vincent, who was the president of players union from 2004 to 2008, says the NFLPA’s function is to protect the rights of players and that his role is to make sure the league’s integrity remains intact.
"Somebody has to protect the integrity of the game," Vincent said. "That's my responsibility, to protect and preserve the competitive fairness of professional football. That's why our game is so great, because we protect the integrity of the game."
- Scooby Axson