NFLPA want some COVID-19 changes to become permanent

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In the push-and-pull that punctuates collective bargaining, the NFL Players Association has become inspired by certain aspects of pro football in a pandemic.

In a Tuesday conference call with reporters, representatives from the NFL Players Association identified a couple of 2020 changes that they’d like to see made permanent.

“There’s absolutely no reason for us to go back to full-scale [Organized Team Activities], none,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said, via Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily.

Although the vast majority of the offseason program is voluntary, players routinely volunteer to participate, especially when they have bonuses, incentives, and salary de-escalators tied to showing up. NFLPA president JC Tretter, who also plays center for the Browns, said that he has seen no decline in performance once offseason workouts became virtual meetings.

That said, the absence of offseason workouts made it much harder for younger players to establish themselves, ensuring employment for older and more expensive players who don’t need multiple weeks of offseason workouts to prove themselves.

The union also wants the league to allow players to stay at home during training camp.

“You don’t see accountants move into hotels during tax season because they need to pay attention more,” Tretter said. “It doesn’t have any real proof of benefitting anything.”

Some coaches would say that keeping players in a hotel or college dormitories has a critical link to team building. In today’s NFL, that thinking may be outdated.

Regardless, any changes to the status quo between management and labor require bargaining. If the union wants fewer OTAs and/or stay-at-home training camps, the union will need to be prepared to give something to the league.

Possibly, the union has mentioned these two items as a hint at the potential exchange for a mandatory postseason bubble, which the NFL seems to want — but which the NFL doesn’t seem to want to ask for.

38 responses to “NFLPA want some COVID-19 changes to become permanent

  1. ““You don’t see accountants move into hotels during tax season because they need to pay attention more,” Tretter said. “It doesn’t have any real proof of benefitting anything.””

    THAT is their argument?

    Companies that employ 9 accountants operate the same whether or not they all like or hate each other. A football team needs to get along to function. I don’t know if that means they need to sleep in dorms at training camp, but I’ve never been a football player and they’ve been doing this for a long time so I have reason to believe it works.

    It is just a terrible comparison.

  2. I know a ton of accountants who sleep at the office during busy season.

    That said, I think more important than team building is the impact that teams can have on young millionaires: didn’t this off season we see a ton of arrests and other negative headlines? It might be worth the NFLPA to do research into seeing if arrests and civil suits go down or not when the players are required to be in in-person meetings

  3. Here I was thinking the Union would be supporting expanded Practice Squad rules, the chance for every player to return mid-season from IR, and things that make the game better. Instead they want to continue things that made the game worse, at least early in the season.

  4. The 32 owners should shutter the league, void all contracts, and open a new league. It’s obvious that the NFLPA just wants money with no work.

  5. Who didn’t see this coming… kinda like how there will never be another school snow day because they can go virtual.

  6. The championship caliber teams will continue to do what works for their organizations.

    For the other teams it will be like “Weekend at Bernie’s”.

  7. “There’s absolutely no reason for us to go back to full-scale [Organized Team Activities], none,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said, via Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily.
    __________________________________________________________

    Translated: We want more pay for less work.

  8. Could it be that the players are turning into lazy, entitled snowflakes that are turned off by hard work?

  9. curmudgeon13 says:
    December 15, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    The Great Reset……

    _______________________________________________________________

    Oh I see what you did there and I agree 100% cumudgeon13!

  10. This is kinda like alot of teachers wanting virtual school forever…paid same for less work

  11. Yes, let’s incorporate more ideas that put a lesser quality product on the field. That’s why ratings are down so much networks had to renegotiate advertising rates with existing customers. Or maybe there’s some other reason people are tuning out? Good luck negotiating that new TV deal that’s gonna raise the cap.

  12. Ryan Dubose says:
    December 15, 2020 at 7:44 pm
    This is kinda like alot of teachers wanting virtual school forever…paid same for less work

    **********************************************************************************

    Most teachers I’ve heard say the opposite — that they want to be in the schools, mainly because of the connection with students, frustrations with virtual learning, etc. No clue what “teachers” you’re talking to.

  13. vonmorrissey says:
    December 15, 2020 at 8:03 pm
    Its called negotiating. Give us this and we’ll give you a 17 game schedule. Easy.

    ———————

    So easy it’s already a done deal and in The CBA. But nice attempt, ace.

  14. “There’s absolutely no reason for us to go back to full-scale [Organized Team Activities], none,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said, via Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily.

    ___________________________________________

    Pretty sure how sloppy every team was for the first month of the season as well as the huge amount of injuries players suffered early says otherwise. OTAs help get you in football shape quicker.

  15. How can you not tell that there is a decline in performance? It’s easy to see. With less and less offseason workouts, especially with this year, you have seen it takes about a month or so to get in the swing. Younger players don’t get the reps and new players to teams don’t get the reps with their new teammates. This is why you are seeing teams like the Chiefs and Saints doing well. Their players have been together for a couple of years so they don’t need as much time together. Players need the reps to get in football shape and need cohesiveness. While they don’t need to do two a days, they do need more time together.

  16. OBP says:
    December 15, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Pretty sure how sloppy every team was for the first month of the season as well as the huge amount of injuries players suffered early says otherwise. OTAs help get you in football shape quicker.

    *****************************************************************************

    No training camp was likely a way bigger reason for the sloppy 1st month play and injuries than OTAs. A good chunk of OTAs (film review, meetings) can be done virtually. You can do team drills and stuff, but the physical activity is so limited otherwise. OTAs are also like 3 months before the season even begins.

    I’m not saying OTAs are worthless, but not sure I’d blame not having them on poor early play or injuries, either.

  17. If the players want to stay home February – September, their pay should also reflect this. This would help bring ticket costs down so the average family of 4 could attend a game for under $1000.00. I bet the Union doesn’t want that though…

  18. Nobody wants to hear from these whiny players at a time like this. If your job is too tough just retire.

  19. Then maybe you should have negotiated these things in some sort of agreement? You could have bargained on like behalf of all players..

    Demaurice Smith is the worst NFLPA head ever. His strategy is to negotiate a bad deal for the players then try to renegotiate it afterwards. He tried the courts on the previous deal and that failed miserably. Now he’s trying to the media I guess.. I don’t think he’s going to find most fans supporting the players regardless of what they think of NFL ownership.

  20. I don’t get the claim near the end that it’s outdated thinking to have players be together in their accommodations in training camp in order to help build up the team. Plenty of high schools and colleges do the same thing, because it’s pretty clear that it works nicely. I think back fondly on my preseason time in high school reporting in before the school year and being with the team all the time…and that wasn’t preparing me for my active profession.

  21. The 18th game combined with two bye weeks for every team, may be the giveback for these concessions from the teams.

  22. We’ve seen a ton of injuries this season. I think that’s due, in part, to not having offseason workouts for guys to get their bodies ready for the upcoming season.

  23. Don’t like it go get a real job!! Money start at 45,000 a year Fussing about playing a game for a living and making a lot of money is insane

  24. For 95% of these players, their NFL job will be the highest paying job – by far – that they have in their lifetimes…not even accounting for the time value of money (inflation).

    yes, for part of their job (removing the “dead” clock time during game, the average O or D unit is actually playing for about 7 minutes per 60 minute game) it’s a bit dangerous (even tho rules of today have removed a lot of the most dangerous parts), but so are thousands of jobs across this country where people make a whole lot less money…a whole lot less.

    additionally, the average NFL plays has more “free” time than 99.99% of those of us employed (full time) in the United States; yes they have to stay in shape – something a lot of us wud like to be paid to do – but most jobs require keeping up with the times even when not on the job.

    the owners concern here is quality of play as it may effect their product and therefore interest in fans watching (paying the owners) the games. but frankly, the players have 0 legs to stand on. if the owners feel that the quality of play is effected they should lower the hammer, make a 3 month offseason program mandatory if necessary, any player who says no…show them the door…….the minimum salary is $500K, the minimum….and this is for people in their 20’s….99% of you will never sniff that amount in your best earning years.

  25. Haven’t the coaches been complaining the last few years not having enough time especially with offensive lineman?
    This seems like the opposite of what they wanted.

  26. So no OTA’s (not training camp) and no bunking for training camp. How does this affect the product we watch on the field and why would any fan care about this? The team bonding experience isn’t like in Remember the Titans. I’d rather sleep in my own bed after practicing in the sun all day than sleep in some college dorm room, like Bills had to do when they were at St. Fisher College.

  27. I don’t know which coaches you’re referring to, but training camp is when everyone is involved in a very short, intense learning process. They crammed about 6 months learning into a couple weeks, and human brains function better when they’re well tested and have fewer distractions. Maybe back in Vince Lombardi’s day they were interested in something else, but there is a lot more to learn these days, especially considering the frequency of coaching changes and instilling new schemes. It’s also important for player safety. A lot of QBs get hurt when a blocker doesn’t know his assignment. This stuff takes time and reps to learn.

  28. ““You don’t see accountants move into hotels during tax season because they need to pay attention more,” Tretter said. “It doesn’t have any real proof of benefitting anything.””

    If you were for an Accounting firm you go where the client is, and you embed at the location, and outside tax season, get to go home on weekends. In Tax season, you live there. And make a pant-load less money than an NFL Player for doing it. And it isn’t for a week like an OTA, it is all year round.

  29. Kelly Arvin says:

    December 15, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    If the players want to stay home February – September, their pay should also reflect this. This would help bring ticket costs down so the average family of 4 could attend a game for under $1000.00. I bet the Union doesn’t want that though…

    ————
    Except it wouldnt bring the cost down. The owners set the ticket cost and the players get their percentage that they negotiated in the CBA it’s not the other way around. For example the owners could slash ticket prices to $10 a seat if they chose and then players salaries would go down because the salary cap would go down since part of the cap is based off ticket revenue hence why theres been negotiations on next years cap since this years revenue is down with a lot of stadiums not allowing or not allowing full capacity.
    On the other hand if every player decides to take a pay cut to their veteran minimum or if every one of the owners collude and decide to sign no one for above the minimum then ticket prices still stay the same.

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