Last year saw the owners and players embattled in a labor dispute, and out of that dispute came a new agreement, one that was ratified by the players and signed by their representatives. Both sides heralded the new agreement as a milestone and a victory for their side. Now the players have found that maybe they didn’t get what they thought they were getting, or even really wanted.
It is no mystery to anyone who reads this site that I thought DeMaurice Smith was the wrong choice to represent the players from day one. A man who never stepped on the field, and a man who was going to get paid and applauded no matter how the fight went down last off season. My choice was Harry Carson,a Hall of Fame Player, a man of principal, a man who had been fighting for players rights since the 70′s, and a gentleman respected by the owners, players, and the fans.
The players say they got what they wanted on their end……which after review amounts to less practice time, less contact, and less meeting time. And yet we hear of “Special Players Traing Camps” held privately. Mark Sanchez and his Jets West, and other guys getting together on their own to get more time together. I thought you wanted LESS practice? Yes, teams like Cleveland, and Buffalo must now spend 90% of their cap money instead of pocketing it, but that turns out to be a small victory.
The players did not get any sort of guaranteed contract situation. You get hurt in the NFL, you get cut. You want to sit out while renegotiating your deal, your fines are double what they used to be. The players are also now finding out that The Office of The Commissioner, a position held by Roger Goodell, and hired by the owners, has absolute power. The Office is now judge, jury, and executioner. Sorry fellas….but you signed it.
“Obviously we don’t want Roger Goodell having absolute power,” Winston told Nate Davis of USA TODAY. “In a lot of this process, it seems like he does. It’s unfortunate. It seems like he’s running amok with it and deciding to do what he wants and it really doesn’t matter what the evidence says. Unfortunately, we don’t have an alternative option to appeal to.”
The sad part is that not many players took a minute to ask questions, to maybe leaf through the document, to inquire as to what are we getting, to ask their agent advice. The rank and file were told it’s a good deal, we did the work, now sign it and move on. Players complain constantly about the amount of fines…guess what guys…it’s written into the agreement. The fine schedule is part of the new CBA, negotiated and agreed to by your representative. Players complain that discipline is solely in the hands of the commissioner, which we know is not true. There are committees of ex-players and yes lawyers that recommend the discipline to the Commissioner, and he announces the decision. The appeal process is again written into the agreement.
My advice is to look a little more internally at your representation, and maybe ask your agent about what exactly the new CBA that you signed includes. I think you might be surprised.