Valerie Thomas’ Analysis of Moran vs. NFLPA

Sep 27, 2009

Valerie Thomas

In January 2009, four Congressmen signed and sent a letter to the Department of Labor about concerns of the integrity of the NFLPA election process. At the behest of his daughter Mary, Congressman Jim Moran looked into the matter.

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According to a Sports Business Daily article in January 2009, Congressman Jim Moran was the first “Whistleblower.”

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U.S. Rep Moran Explains Reasons For Blowing Whistle On Vincent (Read that Sports Business Daily article by clicking HERE).

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In February 2009, according to SI.com, Upshaw’s widow finds information while cleaning out the late Gene Upshaw’s office. NFLPA hires an outside attorney to investigate. Had there been an investigation all along? (Read that Sports Illustrated article by clicking HERE.)

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August 2009: A lawsuit filed on behalf of Mary Moran claims the NFLPA constructively discharged her in retaliation for acting as a cooperating witness [whistleblower] in an investigation by the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Labor Fraud and Racketeering and that she was subjected to a hostile work environment, and retaliated against for asserting sex/gender discrimination claims.

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If anybody should have protection, it is the whistleblower who asked the four Congressmen to look into the election process. And, if the first whistleblower was Troy Vincent, was he going to be thrown out as a candidate? And, Vincent has taken his share of retaliation and had his reputation disparaged, whether or not he was the whistleblower.

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If Mary Moran has Whistleblower protection, why wouldn’t Troy Vincent? Perhaps it’s because she has preferential government treatment and oversight.

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Moran’s sex/gender discrimination claim is an insult – she has had the most lucrative job opportunities, including promotions, salary increases and benefits, than most, if not all, employees in the history of the NFLPA. And if it’s about race, African American men supported her rise in the organization, including Gene Upshaw, Executive Director, Troy Vincent, President for 2 terms (4 years) and other Executive Committee members and Player Representatives. Moran’s base salary as reported to DOL was Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 – $161,128; FY 2008 - $187.529 and FY 2009 - $196,080.

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Furthermore, Mary Moran does not have clean hands. Moran, other male NFLPA management and their legal representatives discriminated and retaliated against me after I was reinstated to my job in a long-standing employment matter.  Moran ignored my concerns for equal treatment, denied me access to the building and elevator and required me to walk up a public stairwell for 20 months. I had to file a lawsuit to get keys which I received a month later and I have been denied due process on all of the issues, including EEOC because of deceptive practices. And the assault continued until Moran and others seized the opportunity to “kill my sports career” after the sudden and unexpected death of my mother.

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Here is the “Sweet Mary” message she left on my voicemail system from Mary to me on April 10, 2003 at 11:23 a.m., two days after my Mother’s funeral. Although Moran sent the entire staff an e-mail on April 4, I never heard from her until two days after the funeral, and only after I called her. They were the only kind words she ever had for me during this emotional time in my life; she then proceeded to spearhead the efforts to accuse me of never having called in during the week leading up to my Mother’s funeral. This recording was never entered into the court records as testament to her two-faced operating style during the entire time I had to work under this woman. (Click the Play arrow to listen to the recording.)

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Moran got so many facts incorrect in my personnel matter (dates, correspondence, interpretation and application of rules, etc.) that it’s a crying shame. And, as per their responses to charges and presumed innocence, I know how the accused must feel in this matter.

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Surveillance

How did Mary Moran get so much detailed information on people when she wasn’t present at the meetings or a party to phone calls? Turns out she’s been gathering information for months.  Did anyone else provide information to Moran? She was Upshaw’s confidante but there were other Upshaw loyalists. Along with her father, Mary Moran’s determination is focused on “preserving Gene’s legacy.”

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A troublesome part of this situation relates to the access to and compilation of data and the timing of the disclosures by Mary Moran, her father, Congressman Jim Moran, and others involved. Loyalty shown to Upshaw and the withholding of information trumped the ethical and business obligations owed to the players and the organization.

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Employees Gene Upshaw and Mary Moran were both investigating their employers, President Troy Vincent and the Executive Committee. Upshaw believed that there were several other Executive Committee members and Player Representatives trying to remove him from his position.

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It’s also hard to believe that there was only one folder with several e-mails (Troy Vincent’s) located in the office clean out. Surely it would be in the best interest of the organization, transparency and accountability, to include those findings in the ongoing investigation, but then again none of the other adversaries were candidates.  Did the Employers know that they were being investigated?  Congressman Moran allegedly knew what the “falling out” between Upshaw and Vincent was about and so did others.

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Speaking of e-mails.  A similar situation has plagued the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA). (Read the Sports Business Journal article by clicking HERE.)

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National Football League Players Association General Counsel Richard Berthelsen has first- hand knowledge of the workings of the Hockey League and Players Association.  Berthelsen was twice considered as a candidate and top finalist to replace past NHLPA Executive Directors Goodenow and Saskin.  This month the NHLPA Executive Committee removed Executive Director Paul Kelly.  Attorney Berthelsen could have seized the opportunity to protect the organization against further security vulnerabilities and/or breaches, after he was appointed as the NFLPA’s Interim Executive Director.

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Mary Moran has been an employee at the NFLPA since 1993 and she has been the Director of Human Resources since 2003.  It doesn’t seem like she needed to ask her Dad to run interference, gather information and then pass the distinction of “Whistleblower” her way. But it was the best way to “Pass GO and Do NOT go to jail.”

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For several reasons, the Mary Moran v. NFLPA lawsuit should be dismissed.  It has the wrong Plaintiff’s name because as headlined in the Sports Business Daily in January 2009, “U.S. Rep Moran Explains Reasons For Blowing Whistle On Vincent.”

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In January 2009 Mary Moran, Richard Berthelsen and Clark Gaines could have proceeded directly to President Kevin Mawae and the Executive Committee with their findings.  But that didn’t happen.  Sporting News reported that Berthelsen and Gaines behest Mary to behest her father.  (Read the Sporting News article by clicking HERE). Were the real whistleblowers Berthelsen and Gaines?

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As an avid fan of James Bond “007,” I want to know – What were the methods of surveillance that were used, for how long and by whose authority?  How much money was spent on investigating Troy Vincent versus the other candidates?  And how much money was spent to investigate Vincent before August 2008?

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Usually, the first person who comes forth and tells all gets the best plea bargain or – in this case – a potential $4 million dollar settlement.  There’s no shame in this game and the obligatory moral of this story is: “Cover your assets.”

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Recap of the issues:  Obligations – loyalty and legal, in the best interest of the organization, to secure one’s job security, motive, timing of disclosure, withholding information, trust, moral and business obligation.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We just found a copy of that nasty 37-page lawsuit – here it is in its entirety (click HERE) posted using DocStoc in our new Legal Section (note the new tab at the top of our screen!). You can click on the Full Screen button for easier reading.

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ADDITIONAL EDITOR’S NOTE: For the hilarious “turn-of-events” article of the week, read this article from Human Resource Executive about how Mary Moran went from being a highly-paid insider and snitch to being a victim and courageous whistleblower faced with a great moral dilemma. The question is: Whose morals?!! (Click HERE to read that article.)

4 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Valerie Thomas’ Analysis of Moran vs. NFLPA
    September 27th, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

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  2. Patricia Arquette – Brain Tumor Resulted In Latest Short Hair Cut | Gadget Look
    September 27th, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    [...] According to a Sports Business Daily article in January 2009, Congressman Jim Moran was the first “Whistleblower.” U.S. Rep Moran Explains Reasons For Blowing Whistle On Vincent (Read that Sports Business Daily article byRead more at http://davepear.com/blog/2009/09/valerie-thomas-analysis-of-moran-vs-nflpa/ [...]

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    September 27th, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    [...] U.S. Rep Moran Explains Reasons For Blowing Whistle On Vincent (Read that Sports Business Daily article byRead more at http://davepear.com/blog/2009/09/valerie-thomas-analysis-of-moran-vs-nflpa/ [...]

  4. RobertinSeattle
    September 28th, 2009 at 11:58 pm #

    So it would seem that Mary Moran found herself with few friends to support her snitching ways after the “sudden” (according to her own lawsuit) departure of her boss and protector, Gene Upshaw. And with no one to support her old habits, it’s not hard to understand why she “lost” the assigned responsibilities that came with the position. If you can’t do the job, then someone else gets to do it. But you’re not going to keep getting paid for not doing your job. If she had simply managed to keep quiet on the way out the door, Daddy probably could have found her a new high-paying job somewhere. But when you make your incompetence so clear to everyone in the Beltway, you’re probably putting all your money on that big pay day from a stupid lawsuit. I guess $4 million will probably buy a lot of antibiotics for your skin rash and that nasty urinary tract infection. TMI! Too Much Information!