Eric Winston: We need to be prepared for 2021

Getty Images

Whatever happens after the expiration of the current labor deal, the NFL Players Association has a clear message for its members: Be prepared.

“It’s not something that we can spring on them in 2020 and say, ‘You guys got to get ready for this,'” NFLPA president Eric Winston recently told Keenan Singleton of WCPO at his Bengals locker.

“We try to educate those guys as soon as we get them,” Winston added. “DeMaurice Smith and myself, we’ll have meetings with them this year.  We introduce those topics and continue to educate. Obviously it falls on the leaders in the locker room. Clint Boling, Vinnie Rey, those guys that are [union] reps — it falls on them to  answer a lot of questions.”

The last time the CBA expired, the NFLPA was still reeling from the sudden passing of long-time executive director Gene Upshaw — and the owners were determined to undo a 2006 deal that had caused them both to opt-out early and to constantly complain about the agreement. The owners currently aren’t complaining, which means they possibly won’t stage another lockout. Still, if the players want better terms, they may need to strike.

There’s a fundamental difference between the two potential outcomes. Ultimately, the question becomes whether the players are willing to lose game checks. They haven’t been in the past, at least not for long. If they choose to in 2021, they need to be prepared to be painted as the bad guys by the NFL’s politics-infused P.R. machine, which will be working overtime to win the hearts and minds of fans.

“They don’t look like it like, ‘We’re workers and they’re workers,'” Winston said. “They look at it like, ‘Oh, that’s my team. Whether it’s that player or another player, it’s still going to be my team and I want them to win and I don’t really care who’s doing the winning.'”

If the players strike, that theory will get tested by the use of replacement players, again. The real test will involve the players’ resolve, whether they’re locked out by management or choose to walk away.

20 responses to “Eric Winston: We need to be prepared for 2021

  1. Here is why they will never be prepared. There are roughly 1,700 players that make a Sunday roster and 60% of those are playing at the league minimum. Why would any of those players forfeit one of the 10-60 game checks they will ever make so Richard Sherman could make 25 million a year instead of 15?

  2. The NFLPA is a weak union and they always cave to the NFL. The rank and file players are not motivated to forego paychecks just so the top players in the league can get their way. If they put together a large enough war chest to offset their lost income that will help, but in the end a strike will be bad for the players. The average career of an NFL player is too short to be wasted on strike and the owners hold all of the cards.

  3. How will they ever get the 95% of players who don’t break the law to agree to strike for the 5% that do?

  4. pancaketaco says:

    August 22, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    How do rookies and 2nd year players prepare?

    ————————————————–

    I guess this is a serious question, – Minimum salary in the NFL is almost half a million dollars, most people in this country can live several years on that. And, you know what? if money gets tight they can do what the rest of us do, get a second job.

  5. Millionaires fighting with Billionaires over money. No sympathy here. The only ones that end up getting screwed are you and me with higher and higher ticket, concession, and parking prices. Oh, and higher NFL apparel prices.

  6. peytonwantsaflag says:
    August 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm
    ———————————-
    Ahh, but the thing is… 90% of those rookies and 2nd year players aren’t guaranteed a roster spot. So their 2nd job at an Amazon warehouse could quickly turn into their only job without ever making 500k.

  7. nathanp2013 says:

    August 22, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    peytonwantsaflag says:
    August 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm
    ———————————-
    Ahh, but the thing is… 90% of those rookies and 2nd year players aren’t guaranteed a roster spot. So their 2nd job at an Amazon warehouse could quickly turn into their only job without ever making 500k.
    ——————————————-

    that’s life –

    Not really sure what your point is, that’s always the case, strike year or not.

  8. Right, lets feel sympathy for a group of guys that are already overpaid to play a game. I remember when NFL players used to have to get jobs in the off-season just too pay their bills. Most of these players grew up with no money, now the union expects them to not collect checks when they have a chance, someone needs a reality check.

  9. peytonwantsaflag says:
    August 22, 2017 at 1:04 pm
    ——————–
    Logical conclusions escape some people… let me spell it out. The NFLPA consists of members… someone like Richard Sherman has their vote weighted equally to a rookie long snapper. Since players that make the league minimum out number those who don’t… why would 60% of the league strike to help players making 80% of the salary cap more money while putting their league minimum game checks at risk for an Amazon career.

    If you can’t make sense of that… I can’t help you.

  10. Said Winston “Honestly I don’t care and I don’t think the guys in this locker room care whether the NFL is going to be around in 20 years, because none of us are going to be playing,”

    More proof that the NFLPA is another parasitic union sucking the life out of it’s host.

  11. I would love to see another strike with off-the-street players…the last one in 1986 or 87 was hoot. Lasted 2 or 3 weeks. The Redskins players they signed won 3 games and helped the REAL Redskins get into the playoffs and eventually the Super Bowl. It was crazy man. Good times. Every generation needs to witness one of these.

  12. nathanp2013 says:

    August 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    peytonwantsaflag says:
    August 22, 2017 at 1:04 pm
    ——————–
    Logical conclusions escape some people… let me spell it out. The NFLPA consists of members… someone like Richard Sherman has their vote weighted equally to a rookie long snapper. Since players that make the league minimum out number those who don’t… why would 60% of the league strike to help players making 80% of the salary cap more money while putting their league minimum game checks at risk for an Amazon career.

    If you can’t make sense of that… I can’t help you.

    ———————————————————–

    hmmm – makes perfect sense to me BUT that’s not any where close to what you wrote. Whatever

  13. nathanp2013 says:

    August 22, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Here is why they will never be prepared. There are roughly 1,700 players that make a Sunday roster and 60% of those are playing at the league minimum. Why would any of those players forfeit one of the 10-60 game checks they will ever make so Richard Sherman could make 25 million a year instead of 15?
    ————————————————————————————

    Boom, one of the most intelligent and to the point post I’ve ever read on this site.

    The leagues problem is that the diva’s like Beckham are upset that they don’t make the same amount of money as NBA players while the 5-6-7 year vets making the league minimum of 500k or somewhere not far above that are getting screwed out of a better slice of the pie due to the superstars teams overpay for. Yes, they help market/promote the league but there are 1650 other players who help make this league what it is. The players association took a giant leap when they made the obvious and correct choice of scaling back the bloated salaries of rookies. Now, it’s time to redistribute the wealth of the league to make it more balanced, especially for the vested veterans. If teams want to try to circumvent this by just going younger and cheaper then make a mandate that teams must carry at least so many vested veterans and if they make the vested minimum guarantee their salaries 100 percent for the season. No more drop you week one and sign you week two so we can prorate your salary. Also, quarterbacks salaries can only count so much of the teams salary caps percentage as they are bleeding the rest of the league dry. The previous cba seemed to have the best interest for the majority of the league in mind but all it did was give larger salaries to qb’s and other of the top 10 percent of the league while everyone else had to fight for the scraps. I’m sorry, I can’t see how you can rally the entire league to do this when you have some serious issues that the nflpa has to work out themselves and I doubt anything gets done as long at bulid a pimp Demaurice Smith is running the show.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!