There is an uphill battle ahead between the NFL and the NFL Players Association as the two parties must mutually agree on what the upcoming season will look like.
The NBA just went through the same process with the Board of Governors unveiling a 22-team format to resume play and the players voting on whether or not to go along with it.
It’s not always a smooth sailing sea between the league’s front offices and the players. The president of the NFL Players Association and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter released a statement called “Protecting the Rights of Football Players” on the NFLPA website.
Any time there is uncertainty, a tough issue or even when we are at odds with the NFL, a few common narratives arise from the media and public. Professional athletes in every sport have to regularly fend off criticism that our profession should be considered less of a job and that we shouldn’t fight for protections and benefits. As we begin our fight for necessary COVID-19 protections, these recycled misconceptions will be used to undermine the strength of our union and the legitimacy of your career. — JC Tretter
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Seahawks legend Steve Largent].
There are several misconceptions in the NFL that Tretter dishes out in this statement:
“Playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right.” (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says from time to time)
“You should just play for the love of the game.”
“Just go play! You’re young and healthy. You will all be fine. We need sports back.”
“Athletes are overpaid! Why don’t our [teachers/nurses/first responders] get paid more?”
“I had to go back to work. You should have to go back, too.”
Where is the fine line between the safety not just of NFL football players but of human beings and having football in the fall? Football players are not invincible to the coronavirus. There are bigger things in life other than football.
I encourage all workers to hold their employers accountable to high standards. More so than any other sport, the game of football is the perfect storm for virus transmission. There are protections, both short and long term, that must be agreed upon before we can safely return to work… — JC Tretter
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio adds, “…it’s the job of the union to fight for player rights; otherwise, those who will be assuming zero physical risk during football games in a pandemic will be tempted to push for scenarios that are less about maximizing player safety and more about illustrating the concept of 'my guts, your blood.'"
The NFL recently noted that 26 teams, including the Seattle Seahawks, will begin training camps starting on July 28. What that looks like and how that impacts health and safety will be revealed shortly after.