Sunday, March 15, 2020

Prominent Players Spoke Up Too Late in NFL's CBA Talks

The sports world has been on pause with the coronavirus outbreak. The NFL still had business to tend to regarding their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). For several years the NFL’s owners have been pushing for additional regular season games. The players have been adamant that they did not want to play any additional regular season games. But here we are by a small margin after the players voted with potentially a 17 game regular season and expanded playoffs.

Many current and retired players have voiced their concerns over the CBA. This is what can happen when prominent players are not at the negotiating table from the beginning. The owners successfully used a divide and conquer strategy. They appealed to the short term needs by NFL standards of the middle and lower class knowing they were the majority, 1,019 yes-959 no final vote. Unfortunately in most instances the NFL has had to be forced to do what is right by their players by lawsuits or threats of a lawsuit.

-The late Reggie White led a class action suit in 1992 to get unrestricted free agency that we see today.
-The late Johnnie Cochran threatened to sue the NFL over its lack of hiring of Black Coaches with a 15 year report that chronicled hiring and firing practices. In 2003 the Rooney Rule was instituted making it mandatory that minority candidates are interviewed for head coaching positions. Its 2020 and issue has gotten worse, not better.
`-In 2013 ex-players agreed to a $765 million settlement over concussion-related brain injuries among its 18,000 retired players. But there is a lot of red tape and interpretation regarding who gets money and how much.
-Commissioner Roger Goodell has disciplinary power over players with many instances ending up in court and decisions being reversed or reduced.

The NBA last CBA both parties walked away pleased. Partly because prominent players like Chris Paul and LeBron James were involved in the negotiating. Reduced preseason, extended All-Star Break, less three games and four night stretches. And they play a game with less injury concerns than football. It helps when the commissioner is a listener and negotiator not a pawn.