The National Football Post reports attorney David Cornwell, who was once eliminated as a candidate for the NFLPA Executive Director position, is now back in the race. Cornwell received the written endorsement of at least three members of the NFLPA’s Board of Representatives. Section 4.04 of the NFLPA Constitution allows any number of candidates to be eligible for election if they have the endorsement of three player reps. The NFLPA’s six man search committee eliminated Cornwell from contention in January.
The NFLPA hired Pat Richter, a former classmate of Interim Executive Director Richard Berthelsen at the University of Wisconsin, to serve as a consultant throughout the search process. Many feel that Berthelsen and the NFLPA’s outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler have been steering the search process toward their desired candidate. That candidate is believed to be former NFL player Trace Armstrong.
Armstrong now works as an agent for Tom Condon at the Creative Arts Agency. Condon served as Gene Upshaw’s agent while Upshaw was Executive Director. Condon also sits on the NFL Disability Plan’s Board. Armstrong is viewed as the candidate most willing to maintain the status quo of a union that has been the subject of much criticism in the recent past.
It’s good to see some independent thinking by the NFLPA’s player representatives. It shows that some have become dissatisfied with the current NFLPA power structure and haven’t bought into procedure of the six member search committee. The NFLPA membership has been left out of the selection process of the next Executive Director. The candidates for the position have been unable to create a campaign platform to share with the NFLPA’s membership. Instead, the election will take place at the NFLPA’s Annual Meeting of 32 player representatives and their alternates without the NFLPA membership ever having heard a word from any of the candidates. For the player reps, this will be the first opportunity for many of them to hear from the candidates.
It is hard to believe that the NFLPA with over $290 million in assets would not finance a more democratic search process which included more of its membership. The annual meeting runs March 13th to 15th in Hawaii and the election for the next Executive Director is scheduled to take place during that time.