In before the ‘stick to football’ comments.
Now with that out of the way…
The NFLPA announced yesterday that they have filed a non-injury grievance on behalf of its members against the NFL in response to the league’s new anthem policy that the owners passed a couple of months ago in late May.
From a statement issued through their website yesterday, in part:
“Our union filed its non-injury grievance today on behalf of all players challenging the NFL’s recently imposed anthem policy. The union’s claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL’s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights”.
The Players Association has consistently maintained that their group was not consulted on the anthem policy, and that they found out about it the same way everybody else did: late-night rumblings of a surprise policy that would be voted on in the morning. It’s hard to imagine that wasn’t done intentionally.
The statement read on:
“In advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA Executive Committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation. The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions and we look forward to starting them soon”.
So it sounds as though the league and the NFLPA will come to the table to talk about what to do next, though I have a hard time imagining that much will be accomplished. The policy has already been passed, so it’s unlikely that they would do away with it all of a sudden unless coerced legally.
It may eventually come to that. if it indeed violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement, as the NFLPA suggests, then there would obviously be a case to be made in an effort to erase it. That is a process that could take a while to run its course, however.
Players Association president Eric Winston advocated for a two-party solution. “Players are hoping to get together and come together with ownership and find a solution”, he said. “I think that’s what’s best for the game. I think when we’ve done that, when we’ve had solutions that have come from both sides, that’s been good”.
The veteran lineman also said that the league’s policy hasn’t seemed to satisfy anyone, which may have been a reference to President Donald Trump and the fact that owners have admitted that his criticism of the league was part of the driving force behind passing the policy.
For his part, the President recently said that the new policy is “in many ways worse” than the old one, though he initially declared a victory for himself when it was first passed. The league was surely mistaken if it seriously believed it could please anybody by attempting to please everybody. I’m sure there is a lot of buyers’ remorse on this one.