NFLPA president JC Tretter: NFL tried to “walk back” concessions made during negotiations

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The NFL and NFL Players Association struck a verbal deal regarding a revision to the Collective Bargaining Agreement to reflect safety protocols and economic realities of the pandemic on July 24. So why did it take so long to reduce the agreement to a signed writing, 10 days later?

As NFLPA president and Browns center JC Tretter told PFT by phone on Tuesday evening, the NFL tried to undo certain aspects of the deal that had been negotiated on July 24.

“Especially this weekend but through the whole thing, the NFL wanted to kind of walk back a lot of the really good things we had gotten in the deal,” Tretter said. “And once they realized there were things they didn’t like, they wanted to change that. And we weren’t willing to move off the deal that we signed because we thought we had a really good deal. There were issues on the economics, there were issues on the safety protections that they wanted to make last-minute adjustments to that we just weren’t going to allow to be changed.”

Tretter mentioned that the union had fought to spread the financial losses from 2020 over four years; the league wanted to change that after the deal was done. Tretter also said that the union pushed to ensure that all players would be guaranteed the $350,000 non-refundable payment for higher-risk opt outs, even undrafted players who otherwise would be in danger of not making the team.

NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs George Atallah confirmed Tretter’s viewpoint, explaining that the league attempted to “relitigate” multiple issues that supposedly had been resolved on July 24.

The NFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the contention that it attempted to alter terms of the deal that was negotiated on July 24.

Although the players eventually agreed to modify the seven-day window for opting out after signing the deal, Tretter pointed out that players received extra time to make their decision, as a result of the delay. As Tretter explained it, the delay also gave players with health issues that would qualify them for a “higher-risk” opt out (which gives each player $350,000 without an obligation to pay the money back) a chance to ensure that their conditions were properly documented during the physicals taken at the outset of training camp.

As Atallah noted, the haggling that happened after July 24 also gave the union an opportunity to ensure that league and club personnel would be subject to the same discipline as players for engaging in prohibited activities. The NFLPA also was able to ensure that players had appropriate protections and appeal rights if/when players are accused of engaging in high-risk activities. Per Atallah, those protections weren’t present when the deal was informally finalized on July 24.

Tretter and Atallah emphasized that the players were unified throughout the process, and that, as Tretter explained, the protections the players sought during the negotiations were “demands not requests.” Tretter said the players realized the significance of the issues to the players and their families, given the gravity of the public-health crisis.

Tretter and Atallah also expressed confidence that players will take the situation seriously moving forward, doing what they have to do — and not doing what they shouldn’t do — in order to limit the possibility of team or league-wide outbreaks.

19 responses to “NFLPA president JC Tretter: NFL tried to “walk back” concessions made during negotiations

  1. The NFL did a remarkably poor job all around.
    They had a lot of time to negotiate and sat on their hands.

  2. As I said, regarding the stipends; the mafia and payday lenders are jealous of how these billionaires are screwing the players!

  3. As I said, regarding the stipends, the mafia and payday lenders are jealous of how these billionaires are screwing the players!

  4. The billionaires who claimed players were negotiating in bad faith were in fact negotiating in bad faith themselves?

    I, for one, am shocked by this revelation

  5. Who cares. Until both NFL & NFLPA sign on the dotted line, NOTHING is firm. NFLPA head, DeMaurice Smith, is a trained lawyer and should tell his underlings to stop embarrassing themselves in public like this.

  6. If you are wondering who’s the bad guy in all this, the billionaire owners who are completely detached from reality, vs. a bunch of players who came from nothing and were exploited in highschool and college, it’s the former.

  7. This Tretter guy doesn’t sound like he’s going to be any more successful than the other guys. If you want something from a large organization of billionaires, you have to ask nicely and show some respect. Otherwise you’ll always be fighting the good fight, and making a name for yourself in certain circles, but the players you represent will be the losers.

  8. NFLPA should just say they don’t feel safe going to work ! Maybe see you next summer.

  9. So the NFL wanted to walk it back and you (NFLPA leadership) let them on the opt-out time because they generally don’t have time to take the “health protections” information to get competent medical advice on what they should do.

  10. It’s a wonder that the NFL got to be worth so much. This makes them look foolish or evil or both. Why sign the deal if you’re not happy with it? If you sign the deal, then it’s too late to change it.

  11. Negotiating 101, Junior College level; Soft on people, hard on the issues, keep emotions out of it and of yeah!!!! It ain’t a deal until its signed and done. That is why it is called a negotiation. Crying in public makes the NFLPA look like weak amateurs. I wonder what else the NFL got in the deal while pushing their buttons?

  12. stubborndata says:
    August 4, 2020 at 8:28 pm
    If you are wondering who’s the bad guy in all this, the billionaire owners who are completely detached from reality, vs. a bunch of players who came from nothing and were exploited in highschool and college, it’s the former.

    ——————————

    Re-read what you wrote and try to comprehend what you said.

    Billionaire owners are detached from reality vs. players that came from nothing and were exploited in high school and college?

    If it wasn’t for high school football, most of these guys wouldn’t have gotten a scholarship and gone to college. If it wasn’t for college football, none of these guys would be in the NFL, and if it wasn’t for the NFL, none of these guys would be millionaires from playing a kids game.

    What do players have to lose from the current state of our country? Their yearly paycheck? The owners have to make insurance payments, stadium rent, player payroll, etc, etc, and with COVID, they now can’t sell tickets, concessions, parking, etc.

    THEY are the ones that stand to lose more.

  13. All the safety and health improvements are on the NFL dime. As time passes and it becomes more evident that football games will be played in empty stadiums, revenue projections go south and , yes, the NFL would naturally want to decrease expense. There is nothing inherently evil to disaster planning in the face of no 2020 season at all.

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