NFL Players Begin Preparing For 2021 Lockout

I don’t mean to be a rain cloud on this Sunday but soak up all the football you can these next couple years. We could be looking at a lengthy lockout ahead of us. That might not be any more evident than what Albert Breer wrote for Sports Illustrated at the end of May, highlighted by a Deadspin article yesterday. After the last CBA that seemed to be a win for owners, the union is taking a different approach for the next one, a move that will allow more security and leverage.

From Breer.

“At the union’s meetings in March 2017, they voted to withhold the GLA money from every player’s paycheck starting this year, to prepare for a potential work stoppage in 2021, so each guy who’s still in the league then will have a sort of rainy-day fund waiting for him. If a new CBA is struck before then, the money will be released.”

As Deadspin explains, that money comes from group licensing revenue, things like the rights to players for Madden or jersey sales. Each player gets $16,200 from that pool, important money especially to players who don’t make relatively much and can hold out longer if a lockout goes deep into the summer.

The union will begin withholding that money this year, allowing them to save up even more, and drag this battle out if it comes to that.

Obviously, no parties involved want a lockout. But it’s hard to be optimistic about avoiding one. Relationships between Roger Goodell, owners, and the players union, appear to be at an all-time low with disputes over everything from Goodell’s arguably overreaching power, legalizing marijuana for players, and the never-ending anthem controversy where the NBA did more to stick up for NFL players than the league did.

The 2010 lockout dragged into the preseason, a fact I think some people forget. The only game that was lost that year was the Hall of Fame game but it’s a reminder of how close the league came to missing some serious time. Even an extra three weeks would drastically change the season, cutting out camp entirely and most of the preseason.

With tensions rising and how locked in each side is, and the union doing better prep work for a lengthy fight, there’s a good chance regular season action is missed come 2021.

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