The NFL and the NFL Players Association have begin to make agreements aimed at allowing the season to get started, with the broader goal of getting it finished. NFLPA spokesman George Atallah took to Twitter on Monday night to recap an eventful day.
Atallah said that the league didn’t “offer” to give up preseason games, but that the NFL had the right to set preseason games, or not, under the existing labor deal. He also said that the NFL didn’t “concede” regarding healthy and safety issues, but that the two sides implemented the best COVID-19 protocols togethers.
That’s a matter of semantics. Obviously, the two sides negotiated. Obviously, the league gave in on aspects of the safety rules that, as of Sunday, had prompted a coordinated effort by star players to place pressure on the league to relent. While the union may be taking the high road — especially with financial issues still to be finalized — the truth is that the NFL moved in enough areas to get the union to agree to the safety procedures.
Still, the union’s position seems to be that it wasn’t about compromise as much as it was about doing the right thing for everyone.
“[O]ur union had to advocate hard for all of these protections because everyone wants to to start and — most importantly — finish a full season, but the fact is we all conceded to a virus that is still rampant in our country,” Atallah said. “Crassly put: no protections, no games, no $.”
Regardless, the two sides found a way to get the protections that the players believed they needed.
“Bargaining is often like that,” Atallah said, “it is not linear, players still have to fight hard for seemingly obvious things and even when they ‘win’ them people will quip ‘that was easy.’ Fact check: it was not easy.”
It wasn’t easy. But it’s done. Or part of it is done. Hopefully the rest of it will be done soon.