NFLPA wants to see FedEx Field improvements

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The latest knee injury suffered by Redskins Robert Griffin III, as bad as it is for him and his team, could do some good.

It could force greater sensitivity to the quality of playing surfaces throughout the NFL.

According to USA Today, the NFL Players Association wants to see improvements at FedEx Field.  “The head coach and players have said themselves that the field was not up to snuff,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told Jarrett Bell of USA Today.  “We certainly hope that they upgrade it.”

We wish it were something more than hope.  We wish the NFLPA were in position to demand it.

“The Commissioner, and I know it’s a tough job, but he doesn’t mandate mouthpieces,” Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson said.  “You care about us, but you don’t mandate mouthpieces.  You care about us, but we play on that field last week that was like, ‘Really? Really?’

“That should be illegal.  That’s like working in a sweat shop to me.”

Robinson’s mention of mouthpieces helps put the union’s position on fields in better perspective.  If the NFL were to mandate mouthpieces, the NFLPA would fight them on it.  So every safety measure doesn’t happen because of the NFLPA; some must be pursued in spite of the union’s opposition.

When it comes to having safe playing fields, there should be no opposition, by anyone other than teams that are penny wise and guaranteed-contract foolish when it comes to exposing their employees to unnecessary risks.  Regardless of where the push comes from, it’s time for the NFL, the players, the teams, the networks, and anyone else with a stake in the quality of the games to insist on the establishment of uniform field standards that are enforced zealously.

If the field once known as the Frozen Tundra can perform in January like it performs in September, every other field in every other NFL city should do the same.

31 responses to “NFLPA wants to see FedEx Field improvements

  1. If you truly feel it’s like working in a sweat shop, then you should hire an attorney. That would mean this is illegal or beyond acceptable. If you aren’t going to hire an attorney to proceed with a claim, then it’s not beyond acceptable and while it might not be a great situation, the term “like a sweat shop” then becomes too extreme and unfair and therefore an exaggeration.

    So stop complaining about things that are within the scope of acceptability, or match up your actions to your words otherwise you are being unfair to the league with your characterization.

  2. Actually I think the term “Frozen Tundra” was used to describe the state of Wisconsin in general, and not just that patch of moss and lichen where the Packers play. The full quote was “Frozen Uninhabitable Tundra”, I believe. The word “Godforsaken” may have been included as well.

  3. Thanks for the Lambeau reference, because they use Desso Grassmaster, just like most of the high dollar sports franchises around the world. An investment The Redskins should make!

  4. The union won’t do HGH testing even though they agreed to it because they want the league to give something in return. Why not make a trade, the league croaks down on field conditions and the PA finally does HGH testing like they promised. It’s a win for everyone, even the fans.

  5. I dont see how you can have uniform standards and still allow natural grass. Grass comes in tons of types and blends, what grows nice in the South wont grow in the North. What grows nice in North wont work in the West. What happened at FedEx is inexcusable but calling for a uniform standard for grass fields is not possible. I would not be surprise if synthetic surfaces also differ in composition due to climate factors like humidity or whatever.

    A better idea is to have each field individually certified on some recurring basis. Never going to have 31 uniform surfaces, but should be able to have 31 safe ones.

  6. I think it is just a PR ploy. The NFLPA usually claims to be for player safety–in general. When it comes to the implementation of specific measures that would enhance player safety, I don’t remember the last time the NFLPA was actually for it, much less advocating it. (Reduced practice time doesn’t count because that was about less work for more pay, not safety)

  7. “You care about us, but you don’t mandate mouthpieces. You care about us, but we play on that field last week that was like, ‘Really? Really?”

    Its very clear the league doesn’t give a rat’s rear end about the players.

    What is clear is the league’s attorneys are very concerned with future league liability due to concussions and certain other issues. If they could get the players to sign waivers saying they would never sue over concussions or head injuries that cause long term damage 95% of the helmet to helmet penalties would disappear the following day.

    The league is being run by its attorneys these days and I’m surprised they don’t already have one on each sideline to force players like RGIII to sign waivers if they go back into a game after they are clearly already hurt.

  8. “That should be illegal. That’s like working in a sweat shop to me.”

    The gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow….what sweatshop pays it’s employees 150K a week? Comparing an NFL game (on any field) to a sweatshop is an unfair assessment.

  9. FedEx Field – owned by a billionaire, run like a decrepit trailer park.

    Snyder probably does use the field as a temporary trailer park during away games. It’s all about maximizing the revenue. Clearly money doesn’t buy you sense. Or class.

    Two NFL careers (RG3 and Clemens) took a serious hit in a single game as a result. Not saying they’ll sue Danny Boy, but just for argument sake, why would they not have a case? Yeah, they signed the waiver. But still: “I’m saving a few bucks on turf and you both get reconstructive knee surgery as a result.” Seems like a bad deal to me.

  10. Football on grass? Whoever heard of such a thing. Where was all the talk before this past game huh? Its been the same surface since 97. So 16 years later we have a problem?

  11. Wouldn’t mandating mouthpieces prevent concussions so maybe these stupid rules changes wouldn’t be necessary? Even boxing requires mouthpieces!

  12. “The Commissioner, and I know it’s a tough job, but he doesn’t mandate mouthpieces,” Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson said. “You care about us, but you don’t mandate mouthpieces. ”

    NFLPA would probably take it to court if he did…

  13. Teams are and of course the owners are responsible for the upkeep and anything associated with the condition of the field. Of course the NFL then mandates if the field is playable, maybe Dan Snyder should have used that $40m +++ Haynesworthless money to revamp the field. Hmm, coming to think about it that would have been a way better investment.

  14. “The Commissioner, and I know it’s a tough job, but he doesn’t mandate mouthpieces,” Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson said.


    The commisioner tried to mandate safer helmets, leg pads, etc in the last CBA negotiation. Guess who flat out refused to include any uniform requirements for player safety? The NFLPA. Don’t blame the commisioner when the NFLPA resists the changes.

    I bet if DeSmith would suggest to Goodell that mouthpieces be required as well as safer helmets, etc, it would be league mandated by the weekend. This is an NFLPA failing, not the NFL.

  15. Sounds like the NFLPA is about to sue the league once again for something else. Pretty soon it’s going to be a class action lawsuit against the NFL for bad knees. The argument is the league has known about bad playing surfaces for years but failed to address the issue with owners.

  16. Clemons’ injury may have ahd something to do with the crap field but RG3 has nobody to blame but himself for his knee injury, except maybe the center for a bad snap.

  17. NFLPA is a joke. How about they be proactive about something like this instead of waiting for one of the league’s bright, young stars to be hurt

    They won’t, because their whole mindset on issues like this is not to bring it up because they think they will have to give something up in order for changes to be made before something bad like 2 torn ACLs happens- and when they do happen, they wait for the league to do something to fix it, just so the PA can stay in the way because, God forbid, the league does anything unilaterally to try to improve conditions for the players

  18. tjh9985 says: Jan 10, 2013 2:58 PM

    Redskins should be fined or docked draft picks for this blatant attempt at cheating.
    Don’t worry bro, Mara’s already on it. Expect Washington to be stripped of all their remaining cap room and Robert Griffin’s physical therapy team by 10 AM tomorrow.

  19. tangysizzl says: Jan 10, 2013 4:19 PM

    Clemons’ injury may have ahd something to do with the crap field but RG3 has nobody to blame but himself for his knee injury, except maybe the center for a bad snap.
    Seriously? Did you watch the game? Griffin was doing fine (maybe not 100%, but still solid) on that knee until he tripped over a divot in the field while rolling out to the right on the play before the second touchdown. There was no contact, and as much as one may dislike Griffin, labeling him clumsy is a little more than ridiculous. After the first fall, his knee began to worsen quickly, resulting in a lack of mobility which led to a couple of sacks, causing the knee to become less stable.

    The bad snap was obviously the straw that broke the camel’s back (one might say the 200 pound barbell that broke the camel’s back). But it wasn’t even that terrible of a snap, and quarterbacks reel in bad snaps all the time, the problem came about because Griffin’s knee had degraded to the point where he was unable to adjust to the snap, causing a fumble, which led to his knee going one way and Griffin going the other as he dived for the ball.

    Griffin’s knee could theoretically been injured at another point in the game even without the initial fall. But in actuality, tripping on the divot during the second drive was the root cause of the decline that led to the full-blown knee blowout.

    Having just reviewed the game tape on my DVR, it appears that, while the ground certainly didn’t help, Clemons’ injury was more of a typical D-Line/O-Line battle with footwork, strength and size leading to an unfortunate injury for Clemons.

    Point is, that while it’s a damn shame for both players that FedEx Field was in substandard condition, Clemons injury could, physically speaking, have occurred on the world’s most perfect field. Griffin’s could not have.

  20. There is no reason they can’t run a system closer to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Heinz Stadium gets new turf regularly DURING THE SEASON. They host collage games too and it never looks that bad.

    I remember when I was still living in Pittsburgh, driving by trucks filled with new turf on its way to the stadium before the start of the playoffs. Heinz field also host collage games on Saturdays, and that field never looks as bad as what the Redskin’s deal with.

    Artificial turf isn’t necessary, and if they need advice in Washington on how to use natural turf, they should consult the Rooney’s.

  21. I remember a game last year or the year before when VA Tech played a game at FedEx the day before a Redskins home game and all of the Tech stuff was still painted on the field during the Skins game. I’ve been a Redskins fan my whole life, and FedEx has been a garbage field since the day they moved there. You don’t need turf. Pay the money to keep the grass up.

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