The NFL owners accepted the negotiated terms of a new collective bargaining agreement Thursday, but some star players are pushing back.
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt tweeted Thursday night that he was a "hard no" on the new CBA, and 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman strongly agreed.
Leadership! I am with you! Please communicate with your team rep. https://t.co/JucZbwqoa2— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 21, 2020
The proposed CBA reportedly would give the NFL the option to expand the regular season from 16 games to 17 and expand the playoffs to feature seven teams from each conference. Sherman told reporters in January that the league's push for a longer regular season flies in the face of their commitment to player safety.
“The league kind of pretends that they’re interested in it, pretends that they care about it, makes all these rules, fines all these players, but then still proposes players to play an extra game," Sherman said last month (H/T Pro Football Talk). "And not just 17. They’re really just saying 17 so that they can get to 18. And so that’s two more opportunities for players to risk their bodies, put their bodies on the line. And that’s what so ridiculous about it, and nobody calls them out. Nobody calls out the hypocrisy. I’m hoping that one day people will be brave enough to call out the hypocrisy of saying, ‘Hey, we really care about player safety, but hey we also want you to play an extra game, put your body on the line, and risk your career.”
The next step in the CBA negotiations requires a two-thirds majority of the NFL's 32 player representatives to approve the proposal, hence Sherman compelling his peers to contact their reps. If enough reps approve, the CBA then would only need to be passed by a simple majority of the NFL Players Association. The owners reportedly didn't unanimously approve the CBA, but they reached the required three-fourths threshold.
Sherman and Watt are two of the NFL's most respected veterans, and their words will carry weight. We could know just how much as soon as Friday when the 32 players could vote on the proposed CBA.