The NFLPA and the NFL are at each other’s throats.
On August 17, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said he expects a lockout or strike in 2021. The NFLPA has some beef with the NFL and they are not happy and have not been happy for a while.
The NFLPA has a lot of grievances with the NFL and Roger Goodell over the last few years. The latter have mishandled domestic abuse situations. They have gone back and forth over the freedom of expression. Recently, the NFLPA has bickered with the NFL about Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension.
Tensions have risen over the past few weeks, especially relating to the Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot and a six-game suspension over what many perceive as a false domestic violence claim.
Not only is the NFLPA beginning to save money for the inevitable lockout a telling sign, but the following tweets display some of the heat between the two parties.
First, the NFL released the following statement.
Within 90 minutes, the NFLPA responded.
The next day Lorenzo Alexander, an NFLPA Exec Committee member, made the following statement on PFT Live.
It’s really appalling. We’re about representing our players at the end of the day and making sure they’re getting a fair and just trial whenever they’re going through anything with management.
Things are not fair or consistent. They’re really all over the place. You can have two players do the same exact thing and get two different punishments.
NFLPA President Eric Winston has had enough of it. On August 17, he tweeted out a story where he made the following statement.
I think it goes to show you, unfortunately, the way the NFL works and why we have to do the things we do. I think a while ago people didn’t realize that. I think they’ve come around to it and they understand why we have to do and why we have to take the positions we take in reference to the league because the league will use its extraordinary reach and its ability to try and curve the narrative away from things they don’t want the narrative to be. And we have to confront that. I’ve always believed that we’ve confronted that. I’ve always told my guys we’re going to confront that head on. I just believe in that. Maybe that’s the mentality of being an offensive lineman. I don’t care how big the huge giant is. We’re going to right at ‘em. That’s just what I believe in. Until I hear otherwise, that’s what we’re going to do.
Days after making the previous statement, WCPA in Cincinnati asked Winston whether he worried about the league’s future 20 years from now. He did not. His reply is below.
I’m certainly not worried about it,” he said. “I’m not going to be around that long. I don’t care if even if there are rookies in here — they’re not going to be playing that long.
So if this thing dies out in 20 years, it dies out in 20 years. That’s not really my concern, and I don’t think it’s any of these players’ concern in here either.
The owners locked us out the last time. They took the decision to make sure that people didn’t have a place to work. They cut off the insurance to our families. They wanted to force an 18-game schedule. What are you supposed to do? Fight back, right?
This isn’t the first time Winston has lashed out at the NFL or its commissioner since players elected him in 2014. The day after the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Winston took to Twitter to air some of his frustrations with the way Goodell handled a misfortune which caused OT Laremy Tunsil to drop to 13th overall.
While Winston has no problem putting the NFL on blast, he does feel that his statements are often twisted. Shortly after the news dropped about his statement regarding the health of the NFL in 20 years, he sent out a tweet defending his statement, with context.
The NFLPA President is not afraid to stand his ground. Given the current tensions, it is a good thing he does so.
With the rising tensions, it really appears that there is little hope for a new collective bargaining agreement being signed before the 2021 season. The chances of avoiding a lockout or a strike are doubtful, at best.