With many issues to work out during the next labor negotiations between the NFLPA and NFL, the union is telling players to save up for a potential 2021 lockout. This is something that Ramon Foster raised as an issue in 2016, and it appears the NFLPA is really working hard to impress upon its players how serious an issue it is.
Speaking with Alex Marvez and Geoff Schwartz of SiriusXM NFL Radio, via Sporting News, NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs, George Atallah, discussed this in detail. He noted that, the last time around in negotiations, measures the union took to secure financial stability for its players proved insufficient for a long-term battle with the league.
“We wound up in a situation where unfortunately (savings) didn’t happen across the league as much as it could have happened,” Atallah said. “In 2009, we were faced with a major sort of signal that the owners were going to try and lock players out. We were trying to get as many players prepared as possible.”
As a result of their efforts before the 2011 lockout, which lasted just 132 days, the NFLPA took out a $44 million insurance policy, which was enough to pay each player $200,000. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for certain players, and the union lost some serious bargaining power which led to concessions.
“We need players of every generation to really help the young guys understand what it takes to go through some ‘labor strife,'” he said. “For the players who went through it in 2011, the union administration and player leadership did everything it could to prepare players across the league. I think it needs to happen again with the same sort of fervor.”
This time around, issues like concussions, commissioner authority and eliminating marijuana as a banned substance will take center stage, among other things. These are topics that will require no small amount of fortitude by the NFLPA to make headway in negotiations, which in turn will require a financial commitment from players willing to hold out an extended amount of time if necessary.
If a large number of tenured players take these warnings seriously and prepare accordingly, then we could be in for quite an extended 2021 lockout. Many feel the NFL took the union behind the woodshed during the last negotiations, and players haven’t been happy with the results. Stay tuned.