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Raider Holloway Gets Cash Settlement From Patriots

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Associated Press

In a legal settlement, the New England Patriots agreed Monday to pay offensive tackle Brian Holloway an undisclosed sum, leading the National Football League Players’ Assn. to drop charges that he was traded because of union activities.

Both sides claimed victory.

Holloway, a three-time Pro Bowl player, was traded to the Raiders last Sept. 2, a day after he appeared on national television criticizing NFL management for a breakdown in labor talks.

Union officials charged that Holloway, a union vice president and the Patriots’ player representative, was traded because of his labor activities. Club officials claimed that Holloway’s skills had deteriorated, making him expendable.

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“We’re very happy that the whole thing was withdrawn,” Patriots’ General Manager Patrick Sullivan said after attorneys spent nearly three hours working out the settlement. “All the rhetoric that occurred shortly after the trade was just that--rhetoric.”

Holloway was compensated for “moving expenses” related to his trade to Los Angeles. Sullivan said the union’s initial request was for $20,000, and that a “modest settlement” was agreed to.

“I settled for close to the maximum amount I would have received later if I had won,” Holloway said. “I hold more strongly now that I was traded for union activities. Let them (the Patriots) say what they wish.”

Union officials also charged that the Patriots--and the management council--tried to intimidate other union leaders by trading Holloway.

Sullivan said the Patriots produced more than 5,000 documents for the hearing, including game film and scouting reports dating back to the beginning of preseason that support the team’s claim that Holloway was slipping.

NFLPA General Counsel Richard Berthelsen denied that the films or reports pushed NFLPA officials to a settlement, and instead pointed to the cost of a lengthy hearing.

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Holloway said he intended to use the same films to prove that he is still a capable player.

John Jones, an NFL Management Council spokesman, said withdrawal of the union charges revealed that the Holloway trade “was a business decision, based on football, nothing else.”

The case was one of three that grew out of last season’s 24-day players’ strike now being reviewed by National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge Benjamin Schlesinger.

In June, Schlesinger will rule on a union bid for $25 million in back pay it says striking players are owed from games played Oct. 18-19 that they were not allowed to play in.

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