NFLPA releases statement, could file grievance against the NFL

Dec 2, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gestures towards an associate during pregame warmups before a game between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL released a statement earlier on Friday indicating that it is looking to move forward with the 2020 season amid the ongoing pandemic.

That all sounds swell. However, there’s a lot of issues that must be worked out between the league and its players. Chief among them, the NFLPA is concerned over COVID-19 testing protocols and other rules to keep players safe during the season.

The union has now responded in kind.

NFLPA releases statement

The statement covers several different layers.

  • Player safety: The NFL might have already set forth plans to keep players safe earlier on Friday when it released several restrictions for teams traveling during the season. Though, that does not take into account issues players have with a lack of answers pertaining to testing protocols.
  • League revenue: It was noted earlier on Friday by NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith that the salary cap could drop by as much as $70 million per team next season. Hence, why the NFL wants the player to bear some of the brunt this season. It’s already being reported that the NFLPA has turned down the league’s latest financial offer.

Could the NFLPA file a grievance?

According to respected NFL insider Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, the union will in fact file a grievance against the NFL if it forces players to report to training camp without specific conditions being met.

“There is much concern about this as everything has not been finalized in regard to what camp will look like and how the NFL will handle injury designations, roster sizes, and more,” Pauline noted. “Because of that, the NFLPA will file grievances against the league if camp opens and economic, health protocol, and other issues are not agreed to.”

Under the current collective bargaining agreement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does have the power to force players to report to training camp. Though, that could not have foreseen the circumstances we’re seeing during the era of COVID-19.

Stay tuned. Things are moving fast in this regard.