On Monday, New York Jets CB Antonio Cromartie was critical of the NFL and NFLPA for their inability to strike a deal on a new CBA avoiding a lockout next season.
"So to tell you the truth they need to get their damn minds together and get this [expletive] done. Stop bitching about money. Money ain't nothing. Money can be here and gone. Us players, we want to go out and play football. It's something we've been doing and we love it and enjoy it. It's our livelihood."
The NFLPA has tried to present a united front and those comments were in contrast to those efforts. Several players, including Ray Lewis and Darnell Dockett, responded to Cromartie's words indicating that the players have solid leadership and they support Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. Many players (mostly Drew Rosenhaus clients) took to Twitter to voice their support for Smith as well.
Cromartie, given a chance to respond and clear up his comments, didn't back down.
"I don't give a who about Ray Lewis or [Darnell Dockett] talking about what I said," Cromartie said in a message posted on his Twitter account, according to the New York Daily News.
So it's not the best situation to have a high-profile player go against the grain like that but I think the union did a good job of rallying the troops to voice their support for Smith. They have tried to show a united front but it speaks to the difficult task they have ahead of them, especially in March, when bonus money won't be paid out to the players. It's easy to support the union leadership when the checks are still coming through. Their loyalty will be tested once the money is cut off.