What do the players think about the new Collective Bargaining Agreement proposal?
The ongoing negotiation process of a new National Football League’s collective bargaining agreement that was set in motion about ten months ago might be coming to an end– Or maybe not. That is the best we can say on the matter right now, unfortunately. Most of the negotiation action mainly took place on Thursday and Friday between the league’s players and the owners, and the owners voted towards the approval of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) proposal on the table.
Negotiations between the two sides have been going on since April, and the current CBA proposal on the table has its expiry date to be after the 2020 season. This proposal made it look like both sides might have a happy end. However, there was a chaotic turn of events for the players, which made it impossible to predict whether the two sides would agree before the 2020 league year starts next month. So here’s what happened this week.
On Thursday afternoon, all 32 individuals that make up the NFL’S team owners came together for a meeting that lasted two hours in a hotel in New York City to vote on the terms of the new CBA proposal. They needed at least 24 of the league owners to vote “yes” to push approval of the new CBA proposal, which they got, even though the vote was not unanimous. At the end of it all, the league owners walked out and through the media present at the hotel where the meeting was held without leaving a comment. Additionally, they issued a printed statement that said that if the league players would not vote towards the approval of the new deal, then they had also voted to have the 2020 season played under the terms of the current CBA. Also, in the statement, they said that by next week they would need to know the rules with which they would be operating when the new NFL year begins on March 18.
And about the owners’ vote that was not unanimous, you should know that it does not affect the process, but it rather highlights the fact that some of the league team owners are not excited with what they would be forfeiting for the new deal to be operational. A credible source close to Thursday’s meeting told ESPN that there were owners who still expressed doubts about the proposal during the meeting even after they had voted. But it was still passed regardless.
The NFLPA Conference Call
The following day, Friday, the league players association (NFLPA) held a conference call that lasted nearly three hours, where they delivered on the proposal with its 32 team player representatives. But the union executive council had voted 6-5 against the proposal being recommended to the rest of the union, hinting mainly on the league’s desire to expand the normal season from 16 to 17 games. The NFLPA had high hopes that after the conference call, they would get votes from the player reps, but they did not. According to a source, the board of player reps was placed in a state of confusion because of the executive council’s vote, and most of the time on the conference call was spent trying to understand why voting went on like that instead of discussing their vote.
This lead to the player reps deciding to table the discussions and push through with the negotiations with the league owners. According to another source, although the union would have preferred that the player representatives voted to recommend the deal, they still have plans to have its full membership vote held next week. On the record, out of the 32 player reps, 21 would have to vote “yes” so it qualifies as a recommendation, the NFL Players Association had said in a statement that, “Our player leadership looks forward to meeting with NFL management again next week before the Board takes a vote shortly after that.” The players feel that playing 17 games in the season does not sit well with them as well as their health and safety in general. But the chances of convincing executive council members like Russel Okung and Richard Sherman to reconsider the 17-game plan are slim. However, it might bring clarity to both sides and encourage the player reps to vote for the proposal.