NFLPA director: Players may need ‘two-year strike’ to get what they want

NFLPA strike DeMaurice Smith
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL and NFL Players’ Association continue to engage in negotiations on a new collective-bargaining agreement. As NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith prepares his message for players about the process, he is cautioning them to be ready for a lengthy strike to get what they want.

While the current CBA doesn’t expire until March 2021, Smith and the NFLPA are set to hold a meeting on Thursday with the board of player representatives to discuss their negotiation tactics. As part of that message, Smith wants players to know that a two-year strike might be necessary to get the CBA accommodations they want.

“People need to understand that it’s really easy to call for a work stoppage, it’s really hard to win one,” Smith said, via ESPN. “So that’s why I started notifying players four years ago about saving their checks, making changes to their debt structure, and the reality is that if we want to hold out and get everything we want, that’s probably going to mean a two-year strike.”

One of the most contested issued between NFL owners and players is the proposal to expand to a 17-game season. As owners continue to push for an expanded schedule and an increase in sales and new money from television deals, players remain adamantly opposed to the additional game and subsequent hits. According to the report, more players have started speaking out against a 17-game season under any circumstances.

Meanwhile, players are seeking to receive a larger share of league revenue, see the league soften its drug and discipline policy and want better benefits for active and former players. In order to give the players an increased revenue share, owners are insisting on 17 games per season.

While NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was once hopeful a new CBA could be reached in the near future, it appears increasingly unlikely that will happen. Players are being told to prepare for a potential work stoppage after 2020 and it might be time for fans to do the same.