FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – It is a tumultuous time in the NFL when it comes to Law and Order, as Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott is essentially “on trial” without all the benefits of an actual, you know, trial. What’s happening to Zeke — much of it by his own making, by the way — would almost never happen in the NBA, and you know why?
Because agents run the NBA. And agents would almost never let this happen to a client.
It so happens that a member of Elliott’s “defense team” is Jeffrey Kessler, known to be powerful, skillful and ruthless in these matters. Now, is Kessler going to really “win” anything for the Cowboys star? The NFL rules are set up so he will likely not. But how does Kessler do in wrestling matches with, oh, say, the NBA?
In 2011, during a bitter labor dispute between the NBA and the union, Kessler accused then-NBA Commissioner David Stern and the owners of treating their players “like plantation workers.” Oh, it was awful! Stern called the situation “divisive” and called the lawyer “despicable.”
But, six years later, NBA players have an average salary of $7 million and have fully-guaranteed money.
Meanwhile, NFL players do not have fully-guaranteed salaries and the average wage is $1.9 million.
Like I say: In the NBA, the players — or, more aptly, their reps — run the league.
Kessler may not “win” anything for Elliott here. (He gets credit for “winning” with his involvement in recent Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson cases against the league, but given that they eventually served their suspensions, did those players really “win” anything? Or did they just delay things?) And in the end, with so much sordidly filthy laundry being aired about every single party involved, I still think at some point the “Fire & Fury” cools and somebody yelps “Uncle.” And the “win” is actually a “delay,” with Elliott on the field this weekend for the opener against the Giants.
But, between now and 2021, when this existing CBA is due to expire? I bet Kessler is back on the scene. Not just on the side of one player, but on the side of the entire membership of the NFLPA, ready to light the league on legal fire.