Domonique Foxworth, the retired cornerback who is the president of the NFL Players Association, said Tuesday that players do not trust the league or Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“It’s really hard for me to convince my players that you can trust Roger or trust the league,” Foxworth said during a union conference call with reporters.
Union officials addressed a variety of topics during the conference call, held a day before players are scheduled to meet with the league’s competition committee in Indianapolis—site of this week’s NFL scouting combine—to discuss safety issues.
Foxworth said the league and union made progress toward a smooth working relationship when they completed a 10-year labor deal in 2011.
But he added: “There was a bridge beginning to be built and then there were some recent events that kind of broke that bridge again.”
League spokesman Greg Aiello responded, according to the Associated Press: “Since 2011 the union has spent most of its time backing away from its commitments. Whether on old litigation, HGH, or commissioner discipline, the NFLPA has consistently looked backwards.
“Trust is a two-way street. If the union wants to work together to build a better, safer and even more popular game, we extend our hand in partnership and respect. If the union wants to stir up old grievances and create mistrust, we will simply have to do the best we can to serve the interests on the fans, players and the game.”
Union representatives mentioned the punishments handed out by Goodell in the bounty case involving the New Orleans Saints as a particular cause of players’ mistrust of the league.