As teams monitor players’ sleeping habits, NFLPA cries foul

Are NFL teams entitled to keep tabs on whether their players are getting a good night’s sleep? Or are a players’ activities on their own time their own business?

That question is at the heart of an NFL Players Association grievance over the use of sleep monitors. USA Today reports that NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith sent a memo to players saying that if teams want to monitor players’ sleep, teams need the union’s permission first.

“It has come to our attention that several Clubs are currently using or have used sensors to monitor players’ sleep,” Smith wrote. “Because the use of such technology occurs outside of games and practice, we believe such use violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Based on this information, the NFLPA has filed a grievance against the NFL and all 32 Clubs seeking an order compelling the NFL and its member clubs to immediately cease and desist from using unapproved sensor devices on players, unless or until such use is approved by the NFLPA.”

Some teams, including the Eagles and Seahawks, have said that sleep is such an important part of athletic performance and good health that they have an interest in knowing whether players are sleeping enough. From the NFLPA’s perspective, it’s none of the team’s business whether a player gets 10 hours of shuteye a night, or whether a player follows the Leonardo da Vinci/Cosmo Kramer method of sleeping 20 minutes every three hours.

The NFL says players have consented to sleep monitoring, but sometimes when a player consents to doing something the team wants, it comes after a not-too-subtle suggestion that he’d better consent, or else. The NFLPA wants to set clear guidelines for just how much of a player’s personal life a team can monitor.

35 responses to “As teams monitor players’ sleeping habits, NFLPA cries foul

  1. There are times when having a union can be a good, worthwhile, and sensible thing. This instance is not one of them. Seriously, NFLPA? Teams want to monitor player sleep, not dictate it. With the amount of injuries of all sorts going on, how could more research of any type that could conceivably help player performance and/or safety be a bad thing?

  2. I am pro-privacy and support the NFLPA in this.

    Lines need to be drawn somewhere and just because new Tech exists it doesn’t mean we throw all of ourselves into Technology’s grasp.

  3. If the player agrees to the request, what is the problem? The union should have no say in this unless a player complains because he feels it is mandatory or the team comes out and actually says it is mandatory. That is the only way it violates the CBA.

  4. They would have had a heck of a time monitoring Paul Hornung and Boyd Dowler of the Packers …

    (yes, showing my age)

  5. Now, if teams start wanting to track who their players are sleeping WITH, then you’re gonna have a problem on your hands.

  6. “Some teams, including the Eagles and Seahawks, have said that sleep is such an important part of athletic performance…”

    I can understand that but the ‘Hawks might want to at least consider waking their D up during the 4th quarter

  7. Other professions such as in transportation have rest/time off requirements.

    Some players are troublemakers and have to be monitored 24 hours a day.

    Some players are good people and can be counted on to do the right thing.

    Some just need monitoring during critical times.

    The evil ones will be the first in court to claim that the “discrimination” is of the illegal variety.

    As with all things we go from a sensible individual standard on a case by case basis to a one size fits all standard.

  8. Next the NFL will come up with a rule that while a player is having his sleep monitored, if he’s caught snoring he will be subject to fine and/or suspension.

  9. connfyoozed says:
    Oct 22, 2015 4:33 PM
    So you’re good with your employer monitoring your every move? What’s next….bowel movements? Yes, the NFL will put a periscope up there if they think it will make them another $.

  10. bobnelsonjr says:
    Oct 22, 2015 5:10 PM
    Other professions such as in transportation have rest/time off requirements.
    Bad example. The example you gave is for safety. And not just for the driver.

    And your other examples flat out infringe on a persons basic human rights of freedom.

  11. Boy this is getting into an area that I didn’t think even the NFL would go.
    These are young guys that have money, some the first they have ever had. They want to go out have fun, chase Girls and be with their friends. This is asking too much. The first time a player lets them, then decides
    they no longer want to, the league puts the pressure
    of Why Not? what are you hiding?
    No way.. don’t go there!

  12. ” Teams want to monitor player sleep, not dictate it”

    And what do you think is going to happen if a team decides a given player isn’t getting enough sleep ? They’re going to dictate to him that he better get more that’s what.

    Also, if they have an audio monitor and a player talks in his sleep saying what a total scumbag Goodell is, will he get fined ?

  13. I’m inclined to side with the union on this one since I suppose there is a chance teams could attempt to fine players for poor sleep habits. However, to simply say it’s none of their business fails to account for the possibility that coaches could actually help players improve their sleep in various ways by obtaining such info, so the NFLPA should consider that for the future and perhaps just insert language prohibiting punitive measures.

  14. For what the money that these guys are making you could call me every hour on the hour from 10pm till 7am and I wouldn’t mind.

  15. cobrala2 says:
    Oct 22, 2015 4:34 PM

    …Lines need to be drawn somewhere and just because new Tech exists it doesn’t mean we throw all of ourselves into Technology’s grasp.
    So, may I presume that, if the NFL wishes to put sensors in players uniforms at various places to monitor the intensity of collisions, a player heart rate, etc., then, you and the ones who thumbed up are also diametrically opposed to that?
    I feel that anything that the player AGREES to is perfectly acceptable without the union getting involved. That includes not wanting the union’s permission to know what they sleep with. Keep the union out of the players beds.

  16. In Roger Goodell’s NFL, the players are the cattle and the owners are the ranchers.

    Players have no rights – they’re just quite literally used and abused as Goodell proves over and over – and thanks to him the Owners are going to have to give up a LOT of power in the next CBA simply because Goodell abuses his power on a daily basis – knowing the media will let him get away with it as they want a slice of a $40 BILLION enterprise

    And frankly, Goodell isn’t qualified to be a real rancher, let alone Commissioner of the NFL

  17. Here’s another thing.

    Let’s say the teams get away with this. How long do you think it will be till some dim bulb in the corporate world decides that GE or some other big company has the right to monitor their employee’s sleep habits and uses the NFL as a valid example of why they can do so ?

    After all if you get limited sleep you won’t be as productive at your sales or office job right ? Or for your job at Starbucks or anywhere else.

    This is a very very slippery slope and sounds like something that would have been done under the old communist regimes of the 50s and 60s, or North Korea right now.

    No one, and I mean no one on the planet should put up with something like this.

  18. If players truly give the go ahead and aren’t being pressured then that is fine as hey, it is their choice and they may be interested in the info.

    If they say yes because they are being strong armed then screw that.

    I do wonder if this would result in a slippery slope like so many optional things do.

  19. If you are an overweight man over 40 who snores chances are you have already had a sleep study done, if not it’s likely a Dr. has recommended it. Hospitals have whole departments dedicated to sleep study. Why? Because we have found over time that sleep can be interrupted by a number of things and the result of that can effect the body much more than was previously imagined.

    Of course football players are generally young men and far from obese, but we have learned pretty much anyone can be affected. Athletes today are using cutting edge means of strength training and conditioning. Such peak athletes require 10 or more hours of good sleep a night. This is just a fact. If that sleep is frequently interrupted or poor sleep it can be far less effective.

    What the teams are offering can be gained by going to a sleep study center at a hospital, but in these cases the players can get the same information at home, nightly, and in private. For an athlete dedicated to achieving peak performance this is a gift, not something they would want to avoid.

    Teams are simply trying to help players achieve what they want, they are not trying to control who they sleep with or how. The NFLPA just sees another way to negotiate for compensation which is their job. In this case they would be “throwing the baby out with the bath water” though.

  20. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, and I usually think this way, but this just sounds like an over-reach by the teams. Next thing you know, playing in the NFL looks like Astronaut training at NASA…

  21. These are highly paid, high performance athletes. we are dealing with. Sleep and nutrition habits are directly related to their performance. Seems like a sensible thing. I understand that there are probably good and bad reasons why the NFLPA is sticking their nose in this one. Ultimately, this will be something that the truly dedicated players will be able use to differentiate themselves more while LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson continue to regress.

  22. “playing in the NFL looks like Astronaut training at NASA…”

    I bet NFL player training makes NASA training look like the kindergarten playground.

  23. So you’re good with your employer monitoring your every move?

    Give me 10 million for four years.

    I’m good with it.

  24. Nothing good ever comes from a union. If the players don’t like it, they are free to seek employment elsewhere…how about making it their decision.

  25. There is a lot missing here. When are they being monitored? Where are they being monitored? How often are they being monitored? Why a re they being monitored? Who is doing the monitoring?

    I’ve had a sleep study done on mean the last year. I had to sleep in a clinic room three nights in a row. I had multiple hook-ups, including ones to my chest, back, stomach, arms, legs, head and fingers. The machines alone took up a quarter of the room. Vidoes were made of me while I slept. All of it was required to determine my biological and neurological responses during sleep and to seek visual evidence of sleep positioning and movement that might affect proper sleep. In the end, they determined I had rotating sleep cycles of 90 minutes to 3 hours on different nights and I was given advice on how to regulate my pre-bed routine to manage those cycles. It increased my stamina, improved my mood and made waking early much easier.

    I sincerely doubt it’s being done to these NFL players with a Fitbit while they’re out at the club, the strip bar, the casino, the all night driving range or home asleep with their wives. It’s to help them determine the best practices for getting good sleep and identifying issues that may affect performance. I don’t think it’s to keep tabs on them during the bye week or on off days, or to help determine who to cut. Sheesh.

  26. I agree with folkcrusader. I play the guitar and if I do not get enough sleep I just to not see the fret board with enough complexity. With sleep I can see scales all over the the neck. I wake up, pick up the instrument and in five minutes know how I am doing. I’ve tried numerous adjustments to diet, exercise, study habits and all are important, but sleep dictates how I will preform physically and mentally more than anything else. The players, as long as their respective teams do not use this to peer too closely into their private lives are in an unique position to learn a lot about the quality of their sleep habits and how it effects all areas of their lives.

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