NFLPA pursuing two challenges to NFL’s anthem policy and practices

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Many have wondered why the NFL Players Association hasn’t taken an aggressive stand against the league in connection with the application (i.e., misapplication) of its anthem policy by multiple teams. That’s about to change.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL will be pursuing a pair of grievances arising from the anthem issue.

The first grievance, technically a “non-injury grievance” under the labor deal, comes on behalf of safety Eric Reid against the Bengals and all clubs he may have spoken with. This grievance arises from questions posed to Reid by Bengals owner Mike Brown regarding whether he intends to continue to demonstrate during the anthem.

The second grievance seeks a “system arbitration” against the NFL and all teams regarding the league’s failure to enforce the absence of a policy that mandates standing. By allowing, for example, teams to ask players whether they intend to demonstrate as part of pre-employment communications, the NFL is permitting teams to disregard the fact that no league rule prohibits demonstrations. Indeed, the only rule on the books preserves the right of players to demonstrate during the national anthem — and that right was confirmed by the NFL in 2016 and reiterated by the league in 2017.

“Colin and Eric have taken courageous action at the expense of their professional careers and personal lives,” attorney Mark Geragos, who represents both players in a separate collusion grievance, said in a statement. “They did these selfless acts because they wanted to shine light on inequity and oppression. Today they welcome all NFL Players who have joined in the prosecution of the NFL for their conspiracy and illegal acts. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the NFLPA in our fight for justice, equality and inalienable rights of all Americans.”

The NFL is now defending four separate actions arising from its approach to the anthem issue. More could be coming.

82 responses to “NFLPA pursuing two challenges to NFL’s anthem policy and practices

  1. “The league’s failure to enforce the absence of a policy that mandates standing.”

    Huh? How do you “enforce” the “absence of a policy”?

    The premise of this article, and the union’s argument, is entirely faulty. NFL teams can take action based upon conduct that it deems detrimental even if there is no specific rule against it. In standard employment settings, we sometimes call this the “peeing in the coffee pot” principle (i.e. an employer can discipline an employee for peeing in the coffee pot even if it does not have a specific rule prohibiting such conduct).

    The league may throw the union a bone or two on this issue, but… if push comes to shove, these grievances will fail.

  2. So, the lawyers continue to get paid but the players don’t… Makes total sense.

  3. You know what, I’m glad this is happening to the NFL. They deserve it. When the whole anthem protest nonsense started they should’ve nipped in the bud like they’ve done with all other forms of player expression (see the fines every time a player wears a different pair of cleats, regardless of the cause). Instead they tried to keep all sides content; the players, the fans and the people who don’t care for the sport but want to push their political agenda on it. And now it’s all blowing up in their faces. Maybe, just maybe, this is what is needed for them to learn their lesson and stop being so greedy all the time. A few million down the drain on lawyers. One can only hope.

  4. Just leave the players in the locker room during the singing of the national anthem, like they used to do.

  5. Dear NFL,
    Call the NFLPA’s bluff. They believe you dont have the guts to have a league mandate regarding the anthem. Do it now! They NFLPA can not win this. You have the right to protest but not at work. They are betting that you will not risk their wrath. Well guess what the majority of American’s disagree with their protesting of the anthem. For once and for all do it. Even the NBA has this policy.

  6. but I don’t want to stop doing what is keeping you from hiring me because you’ve deemed it bad for business, but I’m going to try to make you hire me anyway!

  7. Many of you seem to miss the point and confuse work place rules that most employers have with rights that have been “collectively bargained.” Once a contract is in place, neither party may deviate from its terms without the other party’s consent. There was no rule requiring players to stand, to the contrary the NFL indicated they had the right to stand. Individual franchises trying to dictate conduct from players that contradicts that IS A VIOLATION of the collective bargaining agreement, (And I am a lawyer not a layman).

  8. By allowing, for example, teams to ask players whether they intend to demonstrate as part of pre-employment communications, the NFL is permitting teams to disregard the fact that no league rule prohibits demonstrations.
    ——————————————————————————————–
    How is asking a question disregarding anything? When a player like Reid states to the media he won`t kneel anymore why is it inappropriate for an owner to ask the question?

  9. Yeah……..

    This is really going to be a public relations fiasco for the NFLPA during the next labor negotiations

    Player share will drop from fifty percent to a half eaten bologna sandwich

  10. I feel bad for the players represented by this union that would rather the union stayed focused on getting a bigger piece of the pie, player safety you know things that move the needle.

  11. Once again, the lack of punishment for disrespect of the anthem DOES NOT equate to a right TO disrespect the anthem.

    Clubs have every right to consider the off field headaches a player generates and decide whether it’s worth the on field benefit of a player. In Reid’s case, there are better safeties with zero off field baggage unsigned.

    Reid and Kaepernick are only in it for a settlement at this point anyway. Their on field careers would be over even without the protests.

  12. Many have wondered why the American Public hasn’t taken a more aggressive stand against the players in connection with the misapplication (i.e., application) of their anthem policy by multiple players. That’s about to change.

  13. The funny part is for all those that are upset, the NFL doesn’t care.
    Attendance and ratings were down this season, sure. But they have been going down every season for the last few years.
    Stop watching if it offends you. But for those that keep on saying they stopped watching and continue to comment on the website of the sport you stopped watching, it just seems a little sad.
    I’ve been on both sides of breakups. The best thing is to disconnect altogether. Clean break. The NFL is not going to ask about you. You should stop asking about them.
    Try Baseball. Sure it’s a little on the boring side. But what it lacks in looks it makes up for in Sabermetrics.

    Don’t go away mad, just go away.

  14. ‘Freedom of Speech’ isn’t a protected right while you’re at work…at least not from the perspective of being able to keep your job afterwords. In other words, you CAN say anything you like, but the employer CAN end your employment as a result of your words &/or actions. In this case, disrespecting the American flag translates to disrespecting 90+% of the NFL’s fan base…which is a really, really, really bad business decision. The NFL has the legal right to protect it’s business from employees who would effectively disenfranchise wood-be customers. Take me for example, I will NEVER watch or provide financial revenue towards any person or entity that knowingly disrespects the American Flag. And my position is reflective of the Majority.

  15. stubborndata says: May 7, 2018 at 1:23 pm
    The people who complain about “social justice warriors” are about as smart as Big Ben.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    That’s a compliment to “The people who complain about “social justice warriors””

  16. Also the “disrespecting the American flag people” obviously don’t understand what the flag stands for. If they did, they would understand that what the players are doing isn’t disrespecting, but more or less demonstrating just what the flag is about.

  17. fine, you morons. Don’t get paid. See if I care. I’m still watching the NFL because it’s great but I don’t care to see social justice warriors on NFL Twitter. Again, leave them in the locker room during the anthem.

  18. The players should just stay in the locker room. Problem solved.

    Or just stop reciting a silly (and polarizing) ditty before sporting events, because sensitive pseudo-patriots may be watching.

  19. This is so comical.
    Why the hell would the NFLPA continue to fight these silly protests when it clearly decreases overall revenue and therefore decreases the size of the pie that players pull from in getting salaries via the CBA agreement.
    How inept and short sided is leadership that they can’t go to the players and let them know that the handful of guys kneeling are hurting it for the hundreds that just want to earn the largest paycheck possible?
    Find a forum that doesn’t offend and disgruntled fans that have left will return and revenues will sky rocket again.
    What a bunch of knuckleheads…

  20. Good–it’s about time. The NFLPA has been way behind the curve in this. The “flag” hypocrites haven’t got a clue about legal rights of people working under a collective bargaining agreement. For all their yapping about freedom, when they see it in action their true colors come out.

  21. But the said rule does NOT allow protests! It dates back to when teams usually used to come out after the anthem and so it just says that any players/staff out on the sidelines during the anthem should stand with hand on heart, helmet off and face the flag. The NFL and NFLPA have since re-interpreted it’s optional because it only says “should” and not “must”. However, the rules also say defenses “should” avoid roughing the passer – and if they do, the refs “should” throw a flag – so is all that optional too?

  22. Continue to bite the hand that feeds you (the fans) and the sports popularity will plummet like the once high flying NASCAR has.
    The owners will still be rich, it’s the players that will pay for their own mistakes. But Goddell told them that on their deathbeds they’ll achieve total consciousness, so at least they have that going for them.

  23. Um, the NFLPA might want to pay attention to how this social justice warrior approach has played out to this point. They can complain about CBA agreements, negotiated rights, civil rights, etc., but at the end of all that hype is this fact: Anthem protests are hurting the NFL’s image, as well as the bottom line (its profitability).

    It wouldn’t hurt the NFLPA to realize that the vast majority of it’s fan base is made up of middle class people who work for a living, and would be fired on the spot if they dared use their employment as a platform for promoting their pet causes. Disconnects between the elites and the middle class is what brought our nation President Trump. This disconnect exists between the NFL and its fans, and this SJW garbage is only making matters worse.

  24. What’s next?
    Are the players going to sue the fans for boycotting the NFL.

  25. This is just like not treating cancer…

    The League let this fester instead of solving it immediately…

    Now the have alienated the fans, and the lawyers are involved.

    When you own a business not everything is in writing, but you certainly have a right to dictate to employees what is appropriate behavior when on the clock and the premise.

  26. bangpow says:
    May 7, 2018 at 1:35 pm
    The players should just stay in the locker room. Problem solved.
    —————————————————————-
    Or let them come out, but keep the cameras on whoever is singing, the flag, or the F-16s flying over the stadium. The National Anthem has zero to do with the players, so no need to put them on camera.

  27. absent of being able to ask questions… the owners will assume the worst, whatever the question may be….

  28. Banned substance abuse, domestic violence, criminal activities . . . all these things should be the concern of the NFLPA. The continued disrespect of the Flag and our National Anthem by members of the NFLPA will be dealt with by the fans who no longer care to watch a group of overpaid (in some cases undereducated) clowns play a game that no longer provides real “sport.”

  29. players would be smarter to concentrate their efforts on other issues that could have a major impact on their lives such as injury risk, the prevalence of non-guaranteed contracts, retirement benefits, lack of power in disciplinary matters. The players may or may not win on the standing issue but will there be any energy left to fight for these other issues and will fans/society really care?

  30. Selfless acts….LOL….yeah right.

    Why even play the national anthem before a sporting event? I can see playing it in the Olympics…but it seems like a tradition that was born to generate excitement may be creating the wrong kind of excitement.

  31. I’ll still root for my team and also root against the players in the next CBA negotiation.

  32. Players kneeling maybe for a couple of weeks I could understand, it brought globle interest to thei cause but after that if they were really serious they should have stopped the game protests and started to really go for it and sacrifice their spare time, get of their buts and hit the streets to campaign. It’s easy to kneel, doesn’t really take very much effort does it. Most of them are following along with it and don’t really want to do any more than that. What has CK really done other than protest.

  33. I will go to bat for Brandon Marshall of the Broncos because he actually went into the community to try and make things better, speaking to the chief of police and stuff like that. Otherwise, most of these fools are doing it for attention.

  34. bangpow says:
    May 7, 2018 at 1:41 pm
    Also the “disrespecting the American flag people” obviously don’t understand what the flag stands for. If they did, they would understand that what the players are doing isn’t disrespecting, but more or less demonstrating just what the flag is about.

    Wrong,. I totally understand what the flag stands for.

    And if these dudes want to disrespect the flag on their own time they totally should be allowed to.

    But I dont want to patronize a business that lets its workers on the clock disrespect the flag while I make use of thats businesses offering.

  35. Those who are asserting that the CBA provides a right to protest during the anthem are incorrect. The CBA is silent on the issue, which falls within the standard Management Rights Clause, which provides:

    “The NFL Clubs maintain and reserve the right to manage and direct their operations in any manner whatsoever, except as specifically limited by the provisions of this Agreement.”

  36. And this is why no teams should have spent a single second talking to Eric Reid… let alone hiring him. No one wants an overly litigious employee on staff…

  37. barrywhererufrom says:
    May 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Dear NFL,
    Call the NFLPA’s bluff. They believe you dont have the guts to have a league mandate regarding the anthem. Do it now! They NFLPA can not win this. You have the right to protest but not at work. They are betting that you will not risk their wrath. Well guess what the majority of American’s disagree with their protesting of the anthem. For once and for all do it. Even the NBA has this policy.

    ________________________________________________________

    You must have missed this part of the article: “Indeed, the only rule on the books preserves the right of players to demonstrate during the national anthem — and that right was confirmed by the NFL in 2016 and reiterated by the league in 2017.”

  38. If the players don’t want to do what the customers (fans) and their employers want them to do, Then seek new employment.

    Or quit football for a year and go work on all those problems you’re kneeling for.

  39. tonyzendejas says:
    May 7, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Or just stop reciting a silly (and polarizing) ditty

    —————————————————-

    If that’s all it is, why are they so petty as to protest it?

  40. A small pack of players want to kneel, thousand$ of fans walk away from the NFL.. Nice plan Roger. Keep on allowing this crap to continue. Once you’ve pissed off enough Americans, you can get your team(s) and the super bowl overseas…

  41. The problem here is that the protests happen on GAME DAY – and are such part of the employer’s time with the employee per the contract that the player signs. Protesting during employer time is not a protected free speech avenue and hence the employee has no rights at all of protest. These protests are not happening on the night before a game or during the off time of the employee and are intentionally happeneing during a high stakes period – not after the game or in a stadium without television coverage or without fans.

    These clowns need to be unemployable for the NFL and let them taste the freedom they have to do things on their own time!

  42. Per a source close to the situation. if the league doesn’t grow a pair of balls and make the a-holes comply with par 48 I and my veteran friends will again boycott the nfl

  43. I re-upped my season tickets again this year. I’m proud to support the NFL’s first amendment position.

  44. Change the National Anthem from that British drinking song to “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and everyone can just tap dance like Jimmy Cagney did while singing it.

  45. To win any of these complaints, or Kaepernicks suit, or frankly any other suit, greivance, of beef on this they first need to go out and get a ruling that declares that a job is an entitlement not a privledge. All of their complaints are based in that assumption so they need that first.

  46. bangpow says:
    May 7, 2018 at 4:24 pm
    I wonder how many of the people that complain about the flag protests are white?
    ———————-
    If the NFL cant make a buck off a given person, does it matter what color they are?

  47. Once the stupid Goodell and his staff of morons allowed the PC Genie to escape, they asked for and continually receive their reward(s).
    1. What to do with the kneeling issue?
    2. Large % of viewers went away last season. Trends??
    3. Moronic Bennett brother and his slave wages comments.
    4. Kaepernick’s issue and law suit.
    Nice going NFL and the cretins in your PR Department,

  48. They couldn’t of hired a worse lawyer. Geragos is the same slime ball that represented Scott Peterson. (Didnt work out too well for Peterson, he’s on death row.)

  49. Oh well it worked out so well for Collin I am sure they will be fine
    As long as the can do you want fries with that or welcome to Walmart

  50. Yes I spend my time and money to watch first amendment stuff when I turn into football. Yep

  51. It is absurd to suggest that teams cannot even ask a FA about anthem protests. Eric Reid had one team show enough interest to bring him in for a visit. Then he immediately ran to the media and filed a grievance against that team. Jerk moves. Reid’s NFL career is on life support.

  52. Eric Reid has the right to take a knee during the Anthem. After bringing Reid in for a workout The Bengals asked him if he planned to continue to kneel during the Anthem and Reid said no. How does that translate into they didn’t sign him because he kneeled during the Anthem. When they invited him they knew what he had done in the past. If the Anthem kneeling was an issue they wouldn’t have brought him in for a tryout.

  53. dartwick says:
    May 7, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    And the NFLPA doubles down in its support for disrespecting the American Flag.

    Who’s disrespecting the flag and what country do you think this is?

    If you disagree with their methods (which most of us, including myself, do) then that is one issue. Now turn your brain into multi-task mode and understand that non-violent (non-flag burning) protest is as American as anything else in the history of this country. Third idea to juggle in your adult brain: They are just using the visibility of the anthem photo-op to call attention to something. Not disrespecting the flag.

    Calling their actions disrespectful to the flag is insanity. I’ve seen people of all races not get up, not take off their hat, continue eating nachos, grab their lady’s ***, take the moment to run to the restroom, all kinds of fun stuff. Everyone, including the NFL’

  54. everyone, including the NFL’s broadcast partners, need to take it easy. Stop looking across the sidelines for someone to crucify.

    Honestly, that part of the telecast shouldn’t even be broadcast. That’s house show stuff…

  55. Just an FYI… it’s not a selfless act if they are now suing the league because of it. If it was, they would forget about the lawsuit and pursue their careers as activists.

  56. NFL crushes all the other sports, not even close. Besides NBA ratings are up but those players are also involved in social justice! And yes the players who seek social justice are actively involved. They walk the walk. And no employers should not have the right to fire someone for political speak, talk about a slippery slope. Talk about corporate fascism!

  57. I flew in to Laguardia Airport in New York in my army uniform in 1973 and got spit on and called a baby killer by the same “Patriots” who think these players kneeling is an outragious disrespect of the flag and veterans. KMA all of you! I’d kneel right next to them!

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