Baltimore Ravens NFLPA Player Representative Says Union “Must Begin to Prepare for a Change in Leadership Immediately”

Posted April 8th, 2008 by RetiredPlayers reports Baltimore Ravens union representative, Matt Stover, sent an e-mail to other NFLPA player representatives on Monday which outlined a plan to have a new union Executive Director in place by March of 2009.  The following is a copy of the e-mail sent by Stover:

Executive committee and reps,

After the conference call on Wednesday, April 4th, I believe that the NFLPA is ready to begin a national search process to find a new Executive Director. As you are completely aware of our election process, Gene’s contractual situation, and our looming battles against the owners in the coming years, I feel that the Board must begin to prepare for a change in leadership immediately. I believe we have the proper environment with our teammates and leadership within the board to execute the process of this selection. To be “Open and Transparent” is critical for the body to back our possible selection, as well as our outside critics.

I want to make this clear: I have no personal agenda as I would hope everyone else would as well. I only want what is best for the Union and our teammates and my intentions are to establish a healthy leadership for years to come. I believe that whoever the candidate would end up being has the opportunity to gain valuable insight and experience to lead future generations of players.

With that being said, I would suggest to the Executive Committee to:

1. Form a sub-committee (3-5 members) to lead the process. The members should have the time and resources to fully commit to this all-important process.

2. Use Board Designated Funds to hire an outside consultant, Executive Head Hunter or Search Firm to aid in the collection of candidates from both the outside and within the NFL world.

3. Form a list of 8-10 candidates by no later than the start of training camp.

4. Use any means necessary (personal meetings in home cities or another city or teleconference) to interview candidates, with completion by the end of the 2008 football season.

5. Form a final list of 3 candidates by Jan. 1, 2009 that will be interviewed by the entire Executive Board from Jan. 1-Feb. 15 (6 weeks to interview 3 candidates again, by any means).

6. The entire Executive Committee select 1 candidate to be recommended to the Board of Reps. at the 2009 March NFLPA meeting.

As I recommend this process, I fully realize this is just 1 man. However, I was on that conference call and I am not the only Rep. who listened and felt that it is time for a change. As I make this suggestion, I will only hope that every one of us will put any personal agenda aside and remember who each of us represent. Both the old and young players in our locker rooms have voted us in because they trust our judgment. This is about the future of our organization. Not now … not 1 or 2 years from now, but 5, 10, 15 years from now. Thanks.

— Matt Stover

In response to Stover’s email, Upshaw told ESPN, “Matt Stover has no clue. Whoever is pulling his chain is doing a disservice to the union. I could understand the idea that they need to get rid of me if I wasn’t doing a good job but, shoot, the owners are mad because they think I’ve done too good of a job.”

It is promising to see these words from Stover.  Players should be encouraged to think independently about their labor situation.  Upshaw obviously thinks Stover is unable to think for himself and believes someone is “pulling his chain.”

Based upon a seven day account of CBA negotiations in 2006 by the SportsBusiness Journal, no active players were involved in the negotiation process between the union and the NFL management council.  Not even the NFLPA President attended the negotiation meetings.  Many union representatives, including members of the NFLPA Executive Committee and then-NFLPA President Troy Vincent, were attending the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Programs held at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Kellogg School of Management while an agreement on the latest CBA was reached.

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