NFLPA president JC Tretter elaborates on offseason workout concerns

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There’s another president suggesting that the media is the enemy of the people.

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter, in a new column posted on the union’s website, blames the media in part for players feeling compelled to show up for voluntary offseason workouts.

“For the small number of players who choose not to volunteer their time, the media write articles questioning whether they are a team player or some kind of locker room problem,” Tretter contends. “It’s easy to see why many players feel like they have no choice but to attend.”

Here’s the truth. Players attend because the coaches want them there. Coaches pressure them to be there, through a wide range of tactics and strategies aimed at getting them to choose to attend.

Do reporters and various hot-take artists periodically chastise players who choose not to attend? Sure. It happens. It shouldn’t, but it does. Does it influence the players any more than the express or implied wishes of their coaches influence them? Nope.

The media isn’t the only entity Tretter blames for the dynamic. He also calls out coaches, front-office staff, and owners. They deserve to be called out. The media’s role in players feeling compelled to show up for voluntary workouts is minimal, at best.

Voluntary workouts have never really been voluntary, not for the players whose starting jobs and/or roster spots weren’t secure. Coaches know what they can and can’t say publicly. Privately, they have a way of getting their point across.

If/when (when) coaches cross the line, the players have remedies in the CBA. Ditto for concerns regarding the things that happen during offseason workouts.

“[T]he intensity of OTAs has continued to be ratcheted up,” Tretter argues. “What used to be seen as a time for teaching has turned into full-speed, non-padded practices that are injuring players unnecessarily. There is no reason a player should get injured, beat up or have a concussion during the offseason.”

Tretter is absolutely right about this. But if that’s happening, the union should take action. Practices are videotaped. Teams have been punished — significantly — for going too far in offseason workouts, both in the form of fines and forfeited draft picks.

Regardless, Tretter seems to be pleased with the fact that the pushback against the offseason program has prompted some teams to make changes. Although these issues could have been addressed twice last year during collective bargaining, the fact that the players are using their right to withhold offseason services to secure better terms during offseason workouts counts as a victory.

It would be better for global changes to be made via negotiations between the league and the union. Perhaps that’s where this eventually will finish, based on the experiences of those teams that have agreed to ask players who volunteer to do anything to volunteer to do less.

9 responses to “NFLPA president JC Tretter elaborates on offseason workout concerns

  1. The more the NFLPA talks the more clueless they sound. Maybe their “leadership” should read the CBA to figure what exactly is in there. If they want to push for changes in the next CBA that’s fine but they shouldn’t be advising their membership that they can just ignore the current rules unless they’re going to financially cover them for losses.

  2. How about this: the NFL should treat pro players like the professionals they claim to be. Most professionals are expected to show up and work 40-60 (sometimes more) hours per week, for a salary, then they get X amount of days off for vacation, sickness, etc. Instead of structuring contracts so that the players get paid mostly for games, why not prorate it throughout the year and get rid of anything termed “voluntary”. You are being paid to work: show up and work. Some days, that will be a game. Some, meetings or practices or therapy. Some, working in the weight room. And you get 4 to 8 weeks off during the year to go to Cabo or work on your rap album. Nah, it’d never work.

  3. Why attend voluntary workouts?

    If you are a newer player you get some extra coaching, a chance to get in good with the coaches, and improve your chances of staying in the NFL.

    If you are a veteran player, you can workout on your own (not pickup basket ball but NFL training) if you get the teams written permission, which you probably can get. Coming may help you maintain good relations and keep your job.

    If this was a big deal to the NFLPA they could have negotiated it last year, but they didn’t.

  4. JC Tretter should resign as NFLPA president, along with the rest of the NFLPA leadership for their stance on this issue, which has cost players millions.

    He has zero credibility.

  5. Players attend mini-camps to improve, and maybe some actually like the opportunity to work out at team facilities and to improve their craft. However, he is correct that those practices should be low impact if the players are without pads — that’s not too hard to address.

  6. OTA workouts are getting ramped up cause Training Camp has been nerfed, what a shocker? I genuinely think that a lot of the soft-tissue injuries in the NFL is a result of not enough conditioning. that said ofcourse any off-season work before training camp should always have been about getting reps in, walkthroughs teaching technique.

  7. Everyone else is going back to work…… Time for the guys making millions playing a game to do the same …

  8. Millionaires complaining about having to actually go to work and do work is laughable. I go to work every day, as does most everyone else. You want to stay home in may? Heck, me too. Millennials!

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