NFLPA’s George Atallah: NFL Didn’t Concede To Union, ‘We All Conceded To A Virus’

NFL, NFLPA logos

There was big news last night on the negotiating front between the NFL and the NFLPA. While no formal, official announcements have been made yet, it appears as though the league has agreed that there will not be a preseason this year. They have also reportedly agreed to begin training camp with daily testing for Covid-19, with an extended acclimation period.

While these are important and high-profile issues, there are others that remain, particularly those relating to finances. The state of the salary cap, even possibly for the 2020 season, remains very much fluid as the two parties try to work out how to bear the brunt of the economic hit that they know is coming.

The way things have been reported, however, has been one of framing things as the NFL in the position of power and being willing to bargain. The NFLPA doesn’t see it that way, as George Atallah explained; rather, they were both bargaining with the virus.

It’s worth reminding that the two sides have remained in consistent dialogue and consistent contact with one another about this situation basically going back to March. When they began talking, they were optimistic that things would be different than they are now. They expected there to be full fan attendance, for example. Both sides were saying this.

Now they’re faced with returning to work needing to be as careful as they have ever been, because the virus is more widespread than it was at its height. As your latest reminder, there were once again over 60,000 new cases yesterday, and by the end of today we can expect to reach 4,00,000. We account for over 25 percent of the world’s cases, and nearly that in deaths as well.

The reality is that the average fan doesn’t really care about these negotiations. It’s not their problem. Millions of people far worse off than professional athletes have to go to work under similar hazardous conditions, without the opportunity to bargain with their employer about conditions, so why should they care, right?

Well, whether or not you care, these latest developments bring us one very important step closer to having football in September—and perhaps practices to talk about in a few weeks. Considering we haven’t had anything football going on since the Super Bowl, I think there will be plenty of people who will care about that.

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