NFL Coaches Association files brief against lockout

Posted May 25, 2011 @ 4:16 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

The NFL Coaches Association has filed an amicus brief in the 'Tom Brady vs. NFL' antitrust lawsuit, stating the lockout has limited coaches around the league's ability to do their job.

The 20-page brief specifically mentions the new head coaches and assistants who have not been able to install their playbooks or discuss their strategies with their players.

"New coaches especially need time with players, which is why league rules normally permit new coaching staffs to organize two additional minicamps with players over the summer. This offseason, NFL teams hired an unusually large number of new head coaches with no previous head coaching experience, each of whom-along with their assistants-face a steep learning curve and desperately need this time to prepare their teams."

Coaches around the league have remained mostly silent during the labor battle, as they are seemingly stuck in the middle between players and owners. In the filings, Duke University School of Law professor Barak D. Richman argues the lockout is increasing the chances teams will fire their coaches unfairly.

"The lockout, if left in force, will prevent the coaches from meaningfully preparing and readying themselves for the season," Richman wrote. "While all coaches will be exposed to greater risk of failure, the eight teams with new coaching staffs are at particular risk. Since unforgiving expectations for immediate results will persist regardless of any lack of opportunity to prepare, these eight coaching staffs are losing irreplaceable time to prepare for a job that demands success.

"The lockout will be responsible for avoidable professional failures, and damages cannot compensate the coaches and their families for such harm. Each firing means uprooting a family and burdening a coach with a perceived failure. Even though the coaches are merely collateral damage in the NFL's targeting of the players, they are vulnerable to severe personal and professional harm that cannot be monetized."

NFLCA staff director Larry Kennan shares office space in Washington D.C. with the NFLPA, but the two organizations are not affiliated.