Richard Sherman calls out “hypocrisy” of 17-game season

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As the NFL Players Association prepares to convene a key meeting of leadership on Thursday regarding a proposal from the league based on a 17-game season, a member of NFLPA leadership has spoken out about the notion of adding a regular-season game.

“I think it’s the owners using the media in the way owners use media to try to control the rhetoric,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee, told reporters on Wednesday. “And I don’t think it’s something that players are interested in, honestly, and if that’s the point they’re negotiating on I think these negotiations are going to go on a lot longer than anticipated. Because it’s odd to me, and it’s always odd, when you hear player safety is their biggest concern . . . but it seems like player safety has a price tag.

“Player safety, up to the point of, ‘Hey, 17 games makes us this much money, so we really don’t care how safe they are, if you’re gonna pay us this much money to play another game.’ And so that’s the part that’s really concerning for us as a union and us as players because they think that players have a price tag on their health and I don’t think we’re in the same ballpark in that regard.”

In other words, Sherman is admitting that, when it comes to 17 games, safety does have a price tag. But that the price isn’t right, at least not yet.

“Players have been more aware of player safety and longevity and just life after football,” Sherman added. “The league kind of pretends that they’re interested in it, pretends that they care about it, makes all these rules, fines all these players, but then still proposes players to play an extra game. And not just 17. They’re really just saying 17 so that they can get to 18. And so that’s two more opportunities for players to risk their bodies, put their bodies on the line. And that’s what so ridiculous about it, and nobody calls them out. Nobody calls out the hypocrisy. I’m hoping that one day people will be brave enough to call out the hypocrisy of saying, ‘Hey, we really care about player safety but hey we also want you to play an extra game, put your body on the line, and risk your career.”

He’s flat wrong when he says that people haven’t pointed out the hypocrisy of wanting to play more games while also being committed to player health and safety. It’s an obvious disconnect that multiple members of the media have noticed, and mentioned. But with the NFLPA negotiating a new CBA based on 17 games (instead of taking the position that 17 games is a non-starter), it’s hard to expect the media to get worked up about something to which the union is obviously willing to agree, if the price is right.

The problem is that the price, at least in Sherman’s view, isn’t right, yet. On Thursday, we’ll find out whether enough members of union leadership are happy with the currently proposed price to push the current proposal toward a full union vote.

89 responses to “Richard Sherman calls out “hypocrisy” of 17-game season

  1. I recall a proposal where the season gets extended by one or two regular season games, the roster goes from 53 to say 63, and no one player can play more than 16 games.

    Arguably players are better off Because they all get one or two games/weeks off in season. Teams build better depth with a bigger roster and more game experience for the second team guys. League gets one or two more Sundays a year, kaching.

    Where has this proposal gone?

  2. Leave the 16 games as it is. Give every team a second bye week. Better for player safety and an added week of tv revenue. Win win.

  3. It isn’t hypocrisy. They’re trading one (or two) preseason games, where players get paid nothing, for a regular season game, where they get a game cheque.

    Let’s be honest: his message is they want more money, not more safety.

  4. I dunno why they don’t just increase the season to 18 weeks, but still only play 16 games, give each team 2 bye weeks. Players get extra week of rest and NFL gets extra week of tv time. Heck, go 20 weeks… I’d love more sundays of football, even if my team plays the same number of games.

  5. The players get paid X dollars per game to play, and figure they have X number of games in their body. They play that number of games and retire. You can divide it up any way you want, the players only have so many games in their body.

  6. I don’t want any extra games. We already have enough fake records in this no defense era.

  7. Well, the players who don’t want this can just resign. Protest with peaceful signs, from the parking lot.

    I think they’ll learn a few things rather quickly.

  8. I’ve said it before, this can be done where everyone wins. Bump the cap, and all existing contracts up 1/16th. Add 4 roster spots for more roster depth.Remove 2 preseason games. Add 1 game, and 1 bye week.

    Players get the extra game, but get an extra off week, and 2 less play for free pre season games. Owners get 2 more weeks of games people will actually watch (2nd bye week and 17th game), so they get more money (all they want). Fans win because we get 2 less preseason games, it’s easy in the schedule as you just get a matching standing team from the other conference.

    It won’t happen, but could

  9. If he’s so concerned with safety why not limit all players to only 5 years in the league? That certainly would be safer for them, eh? But somehow I’m guessing he’s not THAT interested in safety.

  10. He’s right. Injuries have a major impact on the outcome of seasons. They should go back to 14 game schedule and open up the playoffs.

  11. Might make some sense if the roster’s were expanded, to allow some of these guys an in-season break beyond the typical bye week too?

    With the IR lists handicapping player availability now, seems logical to get more able bodies into games on Sundays.

  12. Sherman is a bright young man, but he doesn’t have to be smart here. It’s obvious the owners have profit over safety on their minds.

    It’s all abt greed or maximizing resources.

    You be the judge.

  13. Superstars don’t need an extra game cheque, because really, there’s no difference to them making $10m over 16 games or $10.625m for 17 games. However, for the MAJORITY of union members, they only have an average 3 year NFL career – adding those three extra game cheques can be huge…

  14. OK Richard, for your safety the league should go back to the 1977 schedule of only 14 regular season games. In return, the players’ average annual contract in 1977 was $65,535. $1 adjusted for inflation (3.54%) would be worth $4.32 ~ so the “new” average annual contract will be $283.111k. Still think you want 1977 14 games and salary?

  15. “I’m hoping that one day people will be brave enough to call out the hypocrisy of saying, ‘Hey, we really care about player safety but hey we also want you to play an extra game, put your body on the line, and risk your career.”

    This doesn’t make sense. The risk of getting injured in Week 2 is the EXACT SAME as the risk of getting injured in Week 17. Put it in another way, the probability of a player getting injured in the Wild Card game is no different than the player getting the same injury in Week 1 of the next season.

  16. Gee Richard, if you are SOOooo concerned about player safety; why aren’t you retired and calling for abolishing the game? What is safer than NOT playing? Wait, what? You need to get paid? So you have set a price for your safety? Ah. Double standard. Got it.

  17. I could see a 17 game season if they dropped two pre season games. The NFl is just like Hockey, NASCAR and Baseball, they want to extend the season into the other sports seasons. When the season ends the advertising dollars from commercials ends too and some other sport gets to jump on that train.

  18. No. The owners don’t care about the safety of the players, other than how it affects the bottom line.

    As long as revenues increase, more players are on IR isn’t relevant. If careers are shortened, as long as there’s more meat for the grinder, that’s not a problem.

    Next man up.
    It’s no wonder players are all about the paycheck…

  19. Sherm just towing the party line. These athletes are paid well and deserve every penny they can negotiate. But let’s not pretend they can’t be bought.

  20. Soo.. why play in the playoffs then. Why add that 17th game when the check is fixed @ like 30k? Why take the risk of playing THAT extra game? Yes, some players get endorsements.. like 2/53 per roster.

  21. The hypocrisy would be on the part of the players if they agree to it for money.

    The NFL is a dangerous job. It is a very highly paid job because few can perform it. There are people who do dangerous jobs every day without the millions.

    If these players were truly worried, they’d quit. Most won’t. They will choose money and fame over their health. That’s fine. People make that choice every day. Just own it and save me the victim rhetoric.

  22. Lots of Americans have jobs much more dangerous than playing football, deathly dangerous and they have to go to work all year long. Plus all these players want more money don’t they? What other option besides football do they have? They can’t play football for this money anywhere else.

  23. The union is made up of all the players, the star players like Sherman on big money are unlikely to want more games. The majority are nearer the league minimum and those guys are more likely to put cash before long term health.

  24. I don’t think fans want extra games added on to the season. 16 is the perfect number. The argument, as I’ve heard it, was add a game or two to the season and eliminate the preseason. Well how about we just eliminate the preseason and keep 16 games. Do more joint practices or something if you’re worried about reps. Preseason games get guys hurt, and surely you can evaluate fringe players in a practice setting…

  25. If Sherman is more worried about player safety than money, how about adding a game, remove a preseason game, expand the regular season roster, and introduce a rule that each single player can only be active in 16 regular season games.

    Owners get their money, players only play 16, and the rosters are expanded meaning more money to the players, and introducing a new element of strategy to your lineups.

  26. I don’t read Sherman’s remarks as saying that the players have a price tag for adding a 17th game. What Sherman said was that the owners think that the players have a price, but Sherman believes that the players do not. That is what Sherman means when he says parties are not in the same ballpark on the issue.

  27. Players want less games not more , you know less work for more pay … just like us day jobers.

  28. Richard makes a case for his argument only. He fails to mention that an extra bye week will be added, for the players and their safety.

  29. The NFL is hellbent on a 17 game schedule. If it has to happen, I would like to see expanded rosters. Also, every player should be subject to being a healthy scratch one game a year. So no player has to play all 17 games. This also would add an element of strategy to the game. Do you sit your starting QB when you know you’re gonna beat your opponent anyway? Or you’re pretty sure your opponent will beat you?

  30. He’s not that wrong. True, media is reporting on the proposed 17 game schedule. but media is also spending more time covering Antonio Brown than it is pointing out the hypocrisy of a 17 game schedule. But 17 games doesn’t just equal more money for owners, it also equals more money for media. so this is going just about as expected.

  31. Sherman is right. Injuries already are increasing at an alarming rate, especially traumatic brain injuries. There is a reason great players now are retiring in their prime. Eliminate two of those meaningless preseason games and keep it at 16 regular season games.

  32. Richard Sherman whining about anyone else’s hypocrisy is – how you say – picturesque.

  33. “I recall a proposal where the season gets extended by one or two regular season games, the roster goes from 53 to say 63, and no one player can play more than 16 games.”

    Which is a terrible idea. What happens when a fans spends 1000 bucks on tickets to bring his family only to find that’s the game where the starting QB and other stars are sitting to miss the required week they can’t play?


  34. sityourselfdown says:
    January 29, 2020 at 9:11 pm
    Goodbye single season records and eventually, career records if they add an extra game
    That’s what they said when it went from 14 to 16 game season. Now if they do increase it to one more game, they do need to add more players to the active roster.

  35. The NFL’s only concern with player safety is preventing another $700 million law suit. They pretend to care, but only at a price. “let’s make more money on game 17 while we pretend to care about the quality of life of the players.” Mr. Sherman is right, Don’t play 17 games. Put your foot down and tell the owners, the league, and Goodell NO. Quit treating the players like objects, and go count your millions, while the players risk life and limb for you.

  36. If the owners want more money, start a JV league. No practice squad but friday night games using the B squad players, or buy an XFL team and make some money for two years before they fold. 17 is such an ugly number.

  37. Sherman says: And I don’t think it’s something that players are interested in, honestly, and if that’s the point they’re negotiating on I think these negotiations are going to go on a lot longer than anticipated.

    From this I take: that His viewpoint is he doesn’t THINK the players are interested.

    Ok so get a survey going and do it quickly. Ask them. get data in a format that can be sued to represent their stance with factual support. Someone in that Players organization should have started this already. It is common practice to poll members of the unions and seek out their inputs especially if you represent them. You need to know the pulse of your membership

    If this player union doesn’t understand those basic practices, it is no wonder they always end up on the short end of the stick in bargaining with Owners who run major businesses.

  38. Players don’t mind a 17th game season when the 17th game is a playoff game. One quarter of the league plays 17 games each season already. New England ALONE has played at least 18 games in a season for 13 of the last 19 years. They’ve played 19 games in 4 of the last 6 seasons. Let’s ask them, eh?

  39. All the arguments have merit but in the end more money benefits the owners and the players especially the lunch pail guys who are the voting majority. The superstars have a voice and I appreciate Mr. Sherman’s viewpoint but a 17 game season could work and be safer if the rosters were expanded and a second bye week added effectively creating an 18 week regular season and reducing the preseason to two games. I personally hate the idea but strongly feel that active and game day rosters need to be expanded for both player safety and quality of play. Also there should be no restrictions moving players back and forth off of IR and the practice squad. Why have an injured player deplete your active roster? It forces players to return too early and risk re-injury.

  40. The real hypocrisy is the NFL broadcast partners who themselves and their 24 hour news channels claim to support unions but behind the scenes are plotting with the league for the added game and the added revenue.

  41. I want MORE football. It bums me out when the season is over and the final play is done in the Super Bowl. This is a ENTERTAINMENT field! Work it out and give us more football to watch.

  42. Part of the 17 game deal is eliminating two preseason games and adding an additional bye week. Increased revenue =s more money for players.

  43. Player safety is the last concern I’d have. I believe it’s just a talking point from players that want to get paid more for doing less. Two teams are about to play their nineteenth game of the season are pretty healthy going into it.

  44. There is a win-win solution. The goal is really an extra week of the NFL TV show.” That can be done by adding a 2nd bye week and extending the “TV show” one additional week. *Plus with the extra bye, they would make it safer/healthier for the players to get through a season(and also make it possible to ensure that all THURSDAY games could be scheduled after the participating teams bye weeks.)

    This solution would ADD a week of TV show revenue – AND make the season EASIER for the players health/safety wise. Why aren’t they ALL proposing THIS solution?

  45. I think a lot of this anti-17 game talk from players is just posturing.
    They don’t really believe it, they just need something in return once negotiations start, so they need to appear to be against it.
    If they get something good in return no one is actually going to have a problem playing one more game and getting more money for it.

    If they really thought it was player safety hypocrisy how come there hasnt been ONE player saying for player safety we should get paid less and play 14 games instead?

    They act like 16 games is totally fine, but then one extra game is troubling, dangerous territory.

  46. The NFL owners don’t give a damn about the players. Trying to expand the season proves it. They talk about concussions and then try this? Football is the most dangerous sport anyone can play. Have they not noticed players retiring after a few years? The toll the game takes on their bodies is huge and they want to ask them to sacrifice more? The whole, no one can play more than 16 games is hypocritical, as is the owners refusal to increase the roster. Cutting preseason is a load because many veterans aren’t even playing in those games. I stand with the players – leave things at 16 games.

  47. The football records and hall of fame talk and who’s the best talk is so useless to me, it’s just an entertaining game at the end of the day. And you can bet on it, legally, in most areas now. The only thing I can take away from Sherman’s talk is that he wants a lot more money for adding a game. I don’t see anything wrong with adding a game, it will definitely make a LOT more money from advertising, concessions, tickets, tv contracts, etc. There is a price per game that the NFL has, and there’s a percentage of that price that the players get, and it’s as simple as that. Maybe adding a game is going to be hard for players but that will just necessitate managing rosters better. I would like to see the rosters expanded quite a lot because today there are plenty of great players who don’t even get a paycheck and sit at home just because they are on the cusp. It would mean a lot more guys having NFL careers in the end, more contracts for players, and it’s an invitation to negotiate those numbers. Saying it’s hypocritical and can’t be done is not a great stance in a negotiation if you want to get to some number.

  48. fngs1 says:
    January 30, 2020 at 8:21 am
    sityourselfdown says:
    January 29, 2020 at 9:11 pm
    Goodbye single season records and eventually, career records if they add an extra game
    That’s what they said when it went from 14 to 16 game season. Now if they do increase it to one more game, they do need to add more players to the active roster.
    The only played 12 games through the 1960 season. Simple solution though. Records are categorized per game rather than season.

  49. I don’t care what any single player thinks. They are replacable. But I don’t believe a 17 game schedule is necessary to grow the game. Make it an 18 week season with two byes. Done.

  50. Your fellow union members don’t know how to manage money, and your employers will break you like they have every time before.

    Sorry Sherm, time to embrace the horror.

  51. Like many other’s before me have stated, and I have repeated on these threads time & time again:

    The solution is really simple: Add another bye week.

    It would be so good for the entire league. Every team receives 2 bye weeks, increasing player safety, adding time for injuries to heal, increasing competition with healthy players – the product would be better. The league can negotiate another week into their TV deals.

    Player safety: solved
    NFL greed: solved

    It’s such a no-brainer.

  52. Those that are saying that the NFL should increase the number of games and also the roster sizes so tat players can rest during some weeks.

    Unfortunately, that’s not how the real world works. There is no doubt that most teams will start their best players every week. They will not sit their top guy and take a chance on losing.

    I think that best suggestion, so far, is to keep the number of regular season games played by teams at 16, but increase the number of weeks to 18. That would give the NFL two more weeks of revenue. It would also give players 3 weeks off during the season…and it would give fans 2 more weeks of NFL action.

  53. I dunno bout 17 games none but shucks, Richard Sherman is smart.
    He went to Stanford you know.

  54. If he is against playing an extra game and cutting out a preseason game or two, McDonald’s is hiring. He doesn’t mind cashing the paychecks, does he?

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