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Lawsuit latest chapter in NFLPA mudslinging

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The NFL Players Association is facing a lawsuit from an employee who two sources indicated is expected to become a former employee soon.

A civil suit filed by a longtime NFLPA employee last week could shed further light on how factionalized the union had become leading up to DeMaurice Smith's election as the new executive director in March.

As reported by SportsBusiness Journal on Tuesday, the United States Department of Labor has been investigating the NFLPA and whether meetings between the union's player leaders and league officials violated labor law. NFLPA director of human resources Mary Moran alleged in her lawsuit that Smith attempted to have the investigation quashed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

"We are confident that the claims are without merit and therefore see no reason to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit," Smith spokesman, George Atallah, responded by e-mail. "We can confirm the existence of an investigation, and we are fully cooperating with the authorities."

According to two sources, Moran was recently placed on "administrative leave" with the intention of the union firing her. The thinking within the union is that Moran was a divisive person in the building and was a source for numerous stories which shed a bad light on former NFLPA president Troy Vincent(notes) when he was running for Upshaw's job.

"We all know there were a lot of people working behind the scenes to undermine Troy, and she was one of them," a union source said.

Smith defeated Vincent, former NFL player Trace Armstrong and fellow attorney David Cornwell to succeed Upshaw.

SportsBusiness Journal reported that Moran claimed in the suit that Vincent "had been meeting with and corresponding with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell secretly, without Mr. Upshaw's consent or knowledge, or the consent or knowledge of any other top NFLPA officials."