When the NFL announced late last week that the Eagles' Week 15 matchup with the Washington Football Team would be postponed until Tuesday instead of being cancelled and forcing Washington to forfeit, fans and players alike were furious with the NFL.
The decision felt like the league purposefully sidestepping its own rules, the ones it had laid out clearly before the season: if a team experienced a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated members of its team and was unable to play a game, that team would have to forfeit.
So why was the game instead being postponed, giving the Eagles an unexpected short week on the back end to prep for the Giants? Most people blamed commissioner Roger Goodell.
But on Monday, Browns center JC Tretter - who is also the president of the NFL Players Association - explained the decision actually wasn't the league's doing:
"The issue wasn't about how many guys we got back. Our position, as a union, is that we fight for wages, benefits, and working conditions. We don't worry about competitive balance, we don't worry about standings, we don't worry about roster composition - we worry about those three things.
"So the NFL's position last week was that those three games were going to be cancelled, they weren't going to be played, and if they weren't played then nobody on either team was going to be paid. That's obviously an issue for us as a union, when over 18% of our player population was at risk of not getting paid last week.
"So our position was that we needed to make sure all of our games are played in order for our guys to get paid, and that was our position. We took a vote with the executive committee of the union, which voted unanimously that our position was that games needed to be rescheduled and not cancelled, and we pushed the league for that resolution."
That makes sense.
It's still frustrating that the postponements happened because the league was pressing to punish both sides, when only one side of the Eagles-Washington game had an outbreak that was preventing a safe and fair game from being played, but it's certainly noteworthy that the NFL's plan wasn't to postpone the game and put the Eagles at a competitive disadvantage. Instead, the NFL's plan was to cost Eagles players their game checks over something totally out of their control.
Is that any better? Eh, not really. It's still the league mishandling the situation. The Eagles should never have been at a point where they were being punished, but the only solutions that were presented by the league and the NFLPA indeed punished the team in one way or another.
But it's good to know all the facts of what was a super weird week.