It seems as though if you have a brother who is also an NFL player, that increases your likelihood that you are against the NFL’s proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement. A pair of brothers in the league has already spoken out against it or implied their opposition, including the Pittsburgh Steelers’ T.J. Watt and Maurkice Pouncey. The latter did so in rather colorful language.
Pouncey and his brother, Mike Pouncey, are both decorated and highly-compensated interior offensive linemen who have had 10- and nine-year NFL careers, respectively. According to Over the Cap, Maurkice has collected over $66 million so far (under contract for another $16 million), while Mike has earned around $55 million (and is under contract for $6 million in 2020).
Both of them have been vocal opponents, and among others are looking to put their money where their mouth is. The NFLPA already has an emergency fund in place provided by the players themselves in the event of a work stoppage. Mike Pouncey said that himself, Russell Okung, and a number of other veterans are all beginning to pool their money together to create a separate, additional fund to pay players if there is a strike or lockout in 2021.
Considering that there are no games set to be played for the 2021 season for another 18 months, these veterans will have plenty of time to put together a perhaps rather robust package, which would be crucial right now if their goal is really to get the players to vote no.
The NFLPA’s player representatives have already voted, by a narrow margin, to pass the proposal on to the union body for vote, though that is a process that will still take weeks as a final draft of the CBA is put together under the guidance of their legal team.
Between now and then, these wealthy opponents of the CBA will have to convince the comparably poor players of the NFL, who may only make a few hundred thousand, that while it promises a pay raise for these players, it would still be in their best interest to remain united and pool with the more prosperous veterans to fight for more in the long run.
The current CBA still runs through the 2020 season, so right now there is no imminent risk of a loss of pay, let alone a loss of games being played. But it’s important to get the message out to these young and fringe players now that, should they vote no on this CBA, they will still be taken care of next year if the worst scenario could come up.