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