The NFL’s current compensation system does not fairly compensate running backs. An effort has been launched to change that.
Via Bloomberg.com, a petition has been filed with the National Labor Relations Board to create a separate union for NFL running backs.
In a petition dated August 6, the International Brotherhood of Professional Running Backs identifies Veronica Patton as the executive director of the group. The petition, which technically seeks clarification of the broader NFLPA bargaining unit, explains that the “rookie wage contract is economically harmful to workers in skill group (RB), but advantageous to players in skill group (QB),” and that the “current one-size fits all” approach to NFL players is “inappropriate.”
There’s definitely a point to all of this. Running backs have shorter careers, they incur far more physical abuse than most other positions, and the rookie wage structure often results in the best years of a running back’s career happening before they have a chance to renegotiate their deals or to hit free agency.
The NFL and NFL Players Association will have the ability to oppose this, and they surely will. And at some point, the IBPRB will have to persuade running backs to break away from the NFLPA.
Maybe some of them will. There’s a pervasive sense among running backs and the agents who represent them that the men who play the position have different circumstances than other players, and that they are not treated fairly in variety of ways, up to and including the rule that protects pro football’s free farm system by forcing players to wait three years after high school to join the NFL.
Of all players, running backs are the best suited to jump to the NFL after one (or no) years of college. Maybe wiping out that rule as to running backs will be the first order of business for the IBPRB, if/when the effort prevails.