Barry Jackson

Former NFL players union president says Dolphins’ approach is ‘morally reprehensible’ | Opinion

The former president of the NFL Players Association pushed criticism of the Dolphins’ blueprint to a new level on Wednesday, going on national television and accusing the team of unethical behavior.

“It’s unethical and morally reprehensible as far as I’m concerned,” former NFL defensive back Domonique Foxworth said of the Dolphins’ roster stripping, during an appearance on ESPN’s morning show, Get Up.

Foxworth, who was the union president from 2012 to 2014, was just getting started with his rant.

“We understand how dangerous football is as a game,” he said. “Putting guys out there in this type of danger is a problem. You can put that aside. As an employer you have an obligation to provide as safe a working environment as you can and also provide people an opportunity to succeed. These young men have committed their lives to getting to the NFL.

“The expectation is once you get to the NFL, the team will do the very best they can do to make sure you succeed. They are not doing this there and that’s not fair. These guys are physically paying the price. These guys are putting bad film on tape because they’re not trying to win and it’s going to shorten their careers.

“You know who’s going to benefit from them? The owner, general manager, and maybe the potential future coach. These guys aren’t going to benefit from it. These guys are going to be out of the league having their careers ruined by a selfish team like the Dolphins.”

Foxworth, who played seven years in the NFL for Denver, Atlanta and Baltimore until 2011, is now a writer for the Undefeated, a sports and pop culture web site owned by ESPN. He has a masters degree from Harvard Business School and served one year (through October 2015) as chief operating officer of the NBA player’s union.

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Foxworth, as a commentator, shouldn’t be dismissed because of his intelligence and impressive career resume. But the remarks are way over the top.

Some might say it’s unambitious or even a bit unseemly to do what the Dolphins are doing, but there’s nothing remotely “unethical” with stripping down the roster with the hope of getting high draft picks and rebuilding a roster.

Though playing alongside less talented players could conceivably put players more at risk of injury, there’s no evidence that players on bad teams are more likely to be injured.

The Dolphins haven’t created an unsafe working environment, and in fact are giving opportunities to a dozen or so players who might not even be on any other NFL roster.

If any Dolphin believes his health is at risk — and there’s nothing to suggest any of them do — they have recourse: Ask for a trade or release or look for another line of work.

Foxworth’s comments will get play — here and elsewhere — because of his experience in high positions with the NFL and NBA players unions. But to suggest this roster dismantling - done by several teams in different sports — is “morally reprehensible” is just silly.

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