Chad Ochocinco has made it known this week that he might wear Chris Henry’s #15 jersey against the Chargers this Sunday as a tribute to his fallen teammate. If he does, the NFL has given no indication that it won’t fine Ochocinco for a uniform violation.
Earlier today, George Atallah of the NFL Players Association announced on his Twitter account that the “NFLPA will cover any fine levied on @OGOchoCinco imposed by the league and match it with a gift to our Chris Henry memorial fund.”
Seems like a classy gesture, but XPRS-AM reporter Marty Caswell in San Diego reported today on her Twitter account that not all NFL players apparently were in agreement with the NFLPA announcement:
As far as NFLPA saying they’d cover Ocho’s uni fine, that’s news 2 the player reps I talked to who termed it absurd & haven’t voted on it.
Caswell is a seasoned reporter on the Chargers beat, so I have no doubt that what she posted is true.
Was that the kind of reaction from the players most of us were expecting? Of course not.
There’s probably very few issues that all NFL players agreed about, and apparently Ochocinco’s expensive possible tribute to Henry is no different. That doesn’t mean that most players don’t support the gesture. I would think most probably do.
What will also be interesting is the NFL’s reaction to the NFLPA’s announcement. The move to cover Ochocinco’s fine is most likely not merely a heartfelt gesture but also a not-so-subtle jab at the league office - with 2011 collective bargain agreement negotiations looming.
The NFLPA knows that it’ll look bad enough to the public that the league office plans to fine Ochocinco, with the union countermove only making things worse for Roger Goodell & Co.
And as Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com points out, this could be a pre-emptive p.r. strike by the union against the league to gain favor with fans and media as 2011 CBA talks approach.