NFL Players Association executive George Atallah said he's concerned about a recently revealed 2011 email exchange between former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash joking about the trade of Vonnie Holliday.
Atallah, the union's assistant executive director of external affairs, told Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic the Holliday situation, which saw Washington trade its NFLPA representative shortly after the league's lockout ended, is another reason there's a need for more transparency about the league's WFT investigation:
"The exchange is absolutely concerning. But also, like most of the other revelations of the last 10 days, not all that surprising. The union, since 2009, has done everything it can to provide historical context to our membership, and especially to our player leaders, about how the league and the owners view the union. The email exchange is just a continuation of a history that the NFL and its owners should not be proud of as it relates to what they think about players and how they treat players."
After Holliday was traded following the lockout, Pash started an email exchange with Allen about the deal, per Kaplan:
- Pash: "I see your player rep is headed out west."
- Allen: "Just a coincidence. Amazing how it works out."
- Pash: "Life is full of those little amazing coincidences."
Holliday was caught off guard about the trade, calling it "personal" when his new team, the Arizona Cardinals, returned to face Washington six weeks after the deal.
"Still, a little over a month ago, I was in there [in Washington]," he said in September 2011. "I was one of the guys. The talk was, 'We're going to do this,' and now I'm on the other side. I am looking forward of going there with my new family, my new team, and getting after those guys."
The email exchange related to the trade was unearthed during the investigation into the Washington Football Team's culture, but the NFL has repeatedly stated it won't release all of its findings from the probe, which led to a $10 million fine.
Atallah told Kaplan the NFLPA will consider a review into the details surrounding Holliday's trade to determine whether to request a separate investigation.
"We have a responsibility to our membership—past, present and future," he said. "And we have called for full transparency so that we can review things in their entirety."
Defensive lineman Holliday only spent one season in Washington and finished his career in 2012 after two years in Arizona.
The UNC product had previously played for the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos during a 15-year career that began as a first-round pick in the 1998 draft.