Richard Sherman rips NFL: League ‘just pretends’ to care about player safety

© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL and NFLPA are reportedly working on potentially increasing the regular season to a 17-game schedule as part of the new CBA, but Richard Sherman isn’t on board with that.

Speaking with the media ahead of Super Bowl LIV, Sherman ripped into the league for proposing this change, juxtaposing the proposal with the constant “player safety” comments coming out of the league office.

Sherman said he doesn’t think players are interested in the 17-game schedule and hinted that the league could be in for a longer negotiating period if that continues to be pushed.

“It’s always odd when you hear player safety is [the NFL’s] biggest concern,” Sherman said, per the Sun-Sentinel. “They’re really standing up for player safety, player safety, player safety, but it seems like player safety has a price tag. Player safety up to the point of ‘Hey, 17 games makes us this much money, so we really don’t care how safe they are if you’re going to pay us this much money to play another game.’

“That’s the point that’s really concerning for us as a union and us as players. They think players have a price tag on their health and I don’t think we’re in the same ballpark in that regard. Players have been more aware of player safety and longevity and just life after football.”

Sherman also believes the league’s “player safety” campaign is just a public relations stunt.

“The league kind of pretends they’re interested in it, pretends that they care about it,” Sherman said. “They make all these rules, fines all these players, but then still proposes to players to play that extra game. And not just 17, they’re really just saying 17 so they can get to 18. And so that’s two more opportunities for players to risk their bodies, put their bodies on the line.

“That’s what’s so ridiculous about it and no one calls out the hypocrisy and I’m hoping one day people will be brave enough to call out the hypocrisy.”

The bottom line is that, for the NFL, it’s always about the bottom line.

Sherman has been outspoken on labor issues in the past as well. He has advocated for players to get more guaranteed money, and it wasn’t long ago that he advised his peers to start putting money away for an extended strike.

Sherman has always been one to call it like he sees it. Chances are, many players agree with him wholeheartedly on this topic. Whether enough of them can stand alongside him when it comes time to make a statement remains to be seen.