Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray held an unscheduled news conference Thursday to defend himself against the backlash he has received over a recently-leaked independent study addendum that was added to his contract. The Cardinals have responded by removing the clause.
“I don’t know what’s going on down there, but certainly, it will effect their play in the season… its dysfunctional.” — Super Bowl Winning Coach Mike Martz https://t.co/KWwp1vM1oj pic.twitter.com/zJI7ZP4GxB
— The 33rd Team (@The33rdTeamFB) July 29, 2022
Earlier this week, an addendum in his recently agreed upon $230 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals was made public. This clause required Murray to do four hours of “independent film study” every week leading up to each game. This is in addition to the time already spent with teammates and coaches at practice. Furthermore, the contract required Murray to be fully engaged in the film study and not engage in “activities that would distract him.”
Late on Thursday night, the Cardinals, removed the clause from Murray’s contract:
For 11 minutes, Murray stood at the podium and defended his work ethic. Claiming the pushback he got on the clause was “disrespectful” to his game and how he got to the NFL, Murray called the aspersions made by fans and media that he isn’t properly focused on football a “joke”.
“I’m flattered that y’all think that at my size (5-foot-10) I can go out there and not prepare for the game and not take it serious.”
The fact that Murray took the stand is notable. Indeed, Murray has a bit of a reputation for being silent and letting his game speak for him instead. His efforts at the podium did little to dissuade any concerns about the clause’s presence in his lucrative contract extension.
“I’m glad Murray stood up for himself,” said Joe Banner, former NFL executive and Founder of The 33rd Team, “but the fact that the team thought it was needed can’t be erased.”
The fact that such an unprecedented clause was leaked out this way has been stunning. Both the Cardinals and Murray’s agent had to know that this clause would, once shared publicly, draw criticisms and questions about Murray’s work ethic.
“This clause was always going to draw a lot of eyeballs”, Mike Tannenbaum, former NFL executive and Founder of The 33rd Team shared Thursday afternoon, “The best thing he [Murray] can do is go out there and play improved football. Just keep minimizing turnovers and show that leap that Josh Allen showed. However, he’d have to be naive to think that a clause like that wouldn’t garner massive national media attention.”
“Who do you believe?” asked legendary NFL coach Wade Phillips. “There is definitely a conflict of perception between the player and the club and/or coaches. Someone needed to intervene before it got to this point. That obviously did not happen.”
With the Cardinals now backtracking, the whole ordeal is technically over, but the effects may be felt throughout the 2022 NFL Season and beyond.
A.J. Schulte contributed to this report.