Arbitrator upholds 'Pickens' clause

1-22-2001 By Geoff Hobson

The NFL Players Association said Monday morning that an arbitrator has upheld the Bengals' right to use a loyalty clause in the signing bonus of contracts.

Richard Berthelsen, the NFLPA's general counsel, said Monday the arbitrator used two previous cases in siding with the club. Mike Kenn of the Falcons and Lee Williams of the Oilers had lost reporting bonuses when they failed to show on time for training camp.

The NFLPA protested the Bengals' use of the so called "Carl Pickens Clause", when the club negotiated contracts last year for such players as right tackle Willie Anderson and most of its draft choices.

Berthelsen and the NFLPA argued the Pickens Clause violated the collective bargaining agreement because it went beyond the CBA's maximum discipline.

The Bengals countered they were merely using language that had already been agreed upon by the players and the league.

The clause got its name from Pickens, after he forced the Bengals to release him when he criticized coaching and management. When he made the comments, Pickens was three months shy of receiving a $3.5 million signing bonus. Under this clause, his remarks would have meant Pickens might have been forced to give back at least some, or all, of the bonus.

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