While Roger Goodell met with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith on Wednesday, current and former NFL players took the message to Washington, DC. Repeatedly describing their excursion as simply a series of friendly get-togethers (or as a “neat little trip,” as Arizona Cardinals RB Jason Wright put it), the players and union reps denied having political motives for the visit.
Union spokesman George Atallah on the time in Capitol Hill:
The players are aware that the antitrust exemptions exist as a gift from Congress. The players are aware that the NFL has nonprofit status that’s been given as a gift from Congress. So, look, we’re not asking for anything.
When you meet with a friend or colleague just for fun and without any business or politics in play — perhaps for lunch — you usually describe the encounter by beginning, “I am aware that the antitrust exemptions exist as a gift from Congress,” right?
Whether they’re actually talking politics or not, the goal of this trip wasn’t just to take some players on an educational tour. Developing relationships with important people can go a long way in any negotiation.