Thursday, June 16, 2011
Osi Umenyiora says Giants broke promises
By Dan Graziano
Osi Umenyiora is so mad at New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese for not giving him a new contract, he's apparently taking his case to court. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Umenyiora, in a sworn affidavit to be filed next month in federal court, says Reese reneged on a promise he made to him in 2008 that the Giants would give him a new contract or trade him to a team that would:
"Mr. Reese told me that two years from the start of the 2008 league year, if I was currently playing at a high level, we'd either renegotiate my current contract so that it would be equal to that of the top five defensive ends playing or I would be traded to a team that would do that," the affidavit reads. "Before leaving the meeting, I asked Mr. Reese twice if he was absolutely sure that would be the case. He then told me that he was an honest and church-going man and that he would not lie, which I believed to be the case. Under the penalty of perjury these statements are true and accurate."
The complaint is part of the NFLPA's antitrust suit against the league, which is of course a central part of the ongoing lockout and labor dispute. Umenyiora is one of the named plaintiffs in that suit with Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and others, and this is apparently the reason.
But ... come on.
I mean, I totally get how this illustrates what the players are up against in a league that doesn't offer guaranteed contracts and restricts free agency to the extent that the NFL does. It's a prime example of a conversation that has no doubt gone on hundreds and hundreds of times between players and coaches and/or GMs. And because one of the points of the antitrust suit is to shine a light on what the players consider unfair labor practices by NFL teams, it obviously belongs here.
But ... come on! Doesn't this make Umenyiora look a little dopey? "Honest and church-going man"? Really? This is what we're basing our career hopes and decisions on? I feel for Osi, I really do. NFL players are way behind other pro athletes when it comes to freedoms and earning potential. Too often, they're left to do nothing but take a man's word that they'll be taken care of. But when that's all you've got, you've got pretty close to nothing. Until you have a contract in writing, I'm not sure you have the kind of complaint with which a court is going to want to help you.
The upshot of all of this, of course, is that it casts major doubt on Umenyiora's future with the Giants. But I think there was already some doubt about that, no?
Oh, and if Umenyiora ever does find himself in court, he'll be glad Eagles RB LeSean McCoy isn't on the jury. Upon seeing Adam's tweet about this story, McCoy (@CutOnDime25) tweeted: "Overrated n soft 3rd best d-line on his team honestly."