Prominent sports attorney David Cornwell issued a series of accusations against agent Drew Rosenhaus, NFL Players Association Executive Director De Smith and the union in general via Twitter on Wednesday and Thursday.
Cornwell declined further comment when contacted Thursday night. Rosenhaus also declined comment and NFLPA spokesman George Atallah did not return a message. Cornwell ran against Smith in 2009 for the NFLPA post and has been a harsh critic of Smith’s work over the years.
Cornwell’s messages began Wednesday when he accused Rosenhaus of lying about former employee Danny Martoe and agent Eugene Parker. Martoe has a pending arbitration claim against Rosenhaus seeking more than $1 million in back pay. Dolphins defensive lineman Jared Odrick recently left Rosenhaus and is now represented by Parker.
“Rosenhaus lying about DMartoe n EParker bc he can’t handle the truth. Players firing him (Rosenhaus) bc they r learning the truth. JOdrick … whose (sic) next???” Cornwell wrote.
Cornwell followed that up by indicating that Rosenhaus induced San Francisco guard Anthony Davis to sign with him despite the fact that Davis incurred $300,000 in debt upon leaving his former agent. Cornwell also said that Rosenhaus has been paying marketing advances to players in recent years between $50,000 and $100,000 as a veiled inducement to sign. Cornwell claimed that many of those players won’t ever generate that much marketing money in their careers, essentially putting players in debt before their careers begin.
Financial inducements are against NFLPA regulations.
“Rosenhaus pays ‘marketing guarantees’ of $50k n $100k 2 players who won't generate $50k in marketing in their careers. #Inducement,” Cornwell tweeted.
Cornwell also accused the NFLPA of failing to investigate Rosenhaus and his business practices. In September 2012, an NFLPA source said that the union was investigating numerous claims against Rosenhaus related to the actions of disgraced financial advisor Jeff Rubin. In January, Smith declined to comment on the investigation and several sources involved in the matter have said the union has never talked to them.
Cornwell said not only is the union failing to investigate, but is “protecting” Rosenhaus. Moreover, Cornwell posted documents on Twitter showing that Rosenhaus has been taking out loans in recent years.
“After standing by while Rosenhaus' clients went broke, is NFLPA protecting an insolvent agent? May never know because they won't ask,” Cornwell wrote. Rosenhaus was sued by former client Terrell Owens in September for $6.5 million for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and negligence. Owens claims that Rosenhaus directly introduced and recommended Rubin to him.
Cornwell then specifically targeted NFLPA attorney Heather McPhee for criticism.
“Heather McPhee said no need to investigate Rosenhaus because she didn't believe he did anything wrong,” Cornwell wrote.
Finally, Cornwell accused Smith of lying in regards to Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s five-game suspension in 2011 from the NFL. The suspension was based on Pryor’s conduct at Ohio State, which led to an NCAA investigation, sanctions and the departure of coach Jim Tressel.
“De lied n said Pryor suspension was conditioned upon not appealing. Problem is, I was in-volved. Spoke directly to (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell). Appeal was expected,” Cornwell wrote.
Pryor’s suspension was questioned by many players and others involved in the NFL based on the idea that the NFL shouldn’t have the power to suspend players for conduct before they join the league.
Cornwell explained his rant by writing that “I am unapologetically committed to the men who play the game.”
In addition, a source said the NFLPA has been advising players and agents not to hire Cornwell to handle legal matters, such as appeals of suspensions.
Regardless, Cornwell’s criticism was a blanket.
“Incompetence is the father of corruption. NFLPA has been ruined and has no legitimacy or credibility,” Cornwell tweeted.
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