The NFLPA held its annual Super Bowl week press conference on Wednesday and a frequent topic of questions was the potential for a work stoppage in 2021 in the event that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement can’t be reached between the union and the NFL.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said that the union’s job is to prepare for “wars we hope we don’t have to fight.” Smith has said in the past that he believes a stoppage is likely and that he believes contracts teams are signing with coaches appear to be designed with a work stoppage in mind.
One of the ways that the NFLPA has been preparing is by growing the Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the union. That has become successful enough for the union to invest players dues to build a fund that can be drawn on in the event of a work stoppage.
NFLPA president Eric Winston stressed the need for players to have “financial literacy” and said that the fact that players were locked out in 2011 should be ample evidence for players to know that they could wind up in the same place this time around.
“I think every player will believe us when we tell them they’re going to be locked out,” Winston said.
Part of that effort has been to push royalties from sources like the Madden video games to future years in order to create ways for players to receive money if they aren’t receiving game checks.