Just as the bill that would have restricted workers’ compensation benefits available to Saints players injured during the offseason or training camp was ready for a full vote on the Senate floor, the bill has disappeared.
According to Emily Lane of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the sponsor of the controversial bill has pulled it.
Representative Chris Broadwater explained that he “is not planning to move the bill further.” He hopes that the two sides can agree to a formula for calculating the benefits.
The dispute centers on whether an injured player will receive benefits based on his full-season salary, or based on the much lower rate of compensation received during the offseason, training camp, and preseason. Some players are far more likely to be on the regular-season roster than others. The players expected to be on the roster would get benefits based on their full-season earnings. The players not expected to be on the roster would get benefits based only on their pay at the time the injury occurs.
Until a compromise can be reached, the prevailing law generated by the court system will continue to apply. In Louisiana, the prevailing law is that all players will get the reduced benefits.
It’s hard not to wonder whether the NFL nudged this issue off the table, persuading the Saints to realize that the bill isn’t necessary if the precedent generated by the court system currently favors the team’s position. Given the extent to which the NFLPA had mobilized to defeat the bill, the league may have concluded that the better outcome would be to yield the effort to transform the current law as determined by the courts into a law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.