Lane Johnson files complaint against NFLPA with Department of Labor

Aug 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tackle Lane Johnson (65) during the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

So much for members toeing the union line. Having already sat out the first six games of the 10-game suspension he received for violating the NFL’s PED policy, Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson is prepared to do battle.

It won’t happen on the football field anytime soon. And his battle is apparently not with solely the National Football League.

Instead, the former top-five pick has reportedly filed a complaint against the NFLPA with the United States Department of Labor. As Albert Breer of MMQB notes, the complaint comes under the guise of the Labor Management and Reporting Disclosure Act.

To take nifty government wording out of this, Johnson is essentially claiming that the Players Association violated U.S. Labor Law that regulates internal affairs between union officials and their relationships with employers.

In addition to this, Johnson has also reportedly filed unfair labor practice charges against both the NFL and his union.

What does this mean exactly? Well, the U.S. Department of Labor will now be required to look into and investigate these claims. That will likely include interviews with all of the involved parties, Johnson himself included.

Though, the extent of the government’s involvement likely won’t be limited to individuals directly linked to this specific case, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith included. Instead, it will also likely include the arbiter who oversaw the suspension appeal and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell himself.

Remember, Johnson had previously publicly attacked the union for not going to bat for its members.

It’s also important to note that the appeals process was said to include hours of bickering about league policy in lieu of the specifics of this one case. The process itself was stretched out so long that Johnson was still able to play in the first four games of the season before the powers to be concluded that his suspension wouldn’t be lifted.

The NFLPA has come under increased criticism for being supposedly weak going up against the multi-billion dollar industry that is the NFL. This started following the 2011 collective bargaining agreement and has taken on a whole new meaning since.

From player punishment for positive marijuana tests to the league’s drug policy and Goodell’s overreaching power in arbitration cases, this is something that’s come to the forefront in recent years. Heck, the entire Tom Brady situation almost went to the United States Supreme Court before Brady himself dropped the case.

The last thing the NFL and NFLPA want is the government looking into their internal dealings. And as of right now, the Department of Labor has been extremely pro-worker under the Obama Administration.

While that might change when president-elect Donald Trump takes office in January, this is still something neither the league nor the union want brought to the forefront.