CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers offensive tackle Russell Okung says he's appealing a decision that denied a claim he brought against the National Football League Players Association alleging unfair labor practices.
The National Labor Relations Board last Thursday dismissed charges Okung brought against the NFLPA.
Okung has been outspoken against the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA that was ratified by players on March 15, contending the players' union violated its own voting procedures during the approval process. Okung’s lawsuit contends the CBA proposal never should have been sent to individual players for a vote after the union's executive committee initially voted to reject approval of the CBA, 6-5.
Okung also contended the NFLPA tried to silence his right to speak on the matter.
Okung said in a statement on Monday that “the ongoing gaslighting of NFL players is the modern equivalent of walking though the valley of the shadow of death; creating fear is the goal. The ‘dismissal’ of my claim changes nothing about the facts it contains and the reality of my experience.”
He also urged players to “continue to chip away at the systemic corruptions even as the NLRB declines to deliver accountability.”
The NFLPA has not responded to Okung’s appeal.
The new CBA was approved by players by a 1,019-959 margin, with more than 500 players abstaining.
The deal runs through the 2030 season and gives players an increased share of revenue. It includes a 17-game regular season (and a reduced preseason), the addition to two more playoff teams and changes to the marijuana policy and player discipline system.
“I look forward to appealing the NLRB decision and I plan on continuing my fight on behalf of the players, telling the truth and fearing no evil,” Okung said.