I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but for some reason, the addendum to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA pertaining to the complications on the league due to Covid-19 is still not completed, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
“Per a source with knowledge of the situation, negotiations continue regarding the precise language of the final document, with terms supposedly settled nine days ago still in play”, he wrote in an article on the subject yesterday evening.
Part of the language in that document included the proposed timeline for players to exercise their right to opt out of the 2020 season. It reads within the text that players will have seven days from the finalization of the addendum to opt out, but because it has not been finalized yet, the window remains open, and players continue to opt out.
This is arguably the most significant issue pertaining to the fact that this matter is not yet settled, and it has been reported that, in spite of the fact that it is not complete, the NFL wants to set a Wednesday deadline—two days from now—as the point at which all players who wish to opt out of the 2020 season must do so in order to be eligible to receive a stipend and not be fined and disciplined for not showing up to work.
In order to get this language in place, the NFL will likely have to conceded something further to get the NFLPA to agree to this, since the language in the document is very clear that the window for opting out is seven days after it has been finalized. That was already more than seven days ago, and 11 players, including the likes of C.J. Mosley. E.J. Gained, and Marqise Lee, have exercised their opt-out rights since then.
It’s unclear if this is the primary sticking point holding up the completion of the addendum, which has provided for both the standards of returning to play, of workplace safety, of opt-out rights and compensation, and of the financial fallout of the coronavirus. It is also unclear what the NFLPA may be looking to gain in exchange for the finite deadline.
Every major sports league that has returned to play has given its players the right to opt out, including the MLB, with a more liberal policy. Just yesterday, the New York Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes failed to report to work. It was found during the middle of the team’s game that he packed his bags and left, several games into the season, having chosen now to opt out.
The NFL doesn’t want to run into that sort of circumstance, but it’s entirely possible that we could still see parallels. Players reserve the right to retire at any point and then unretire. We have seen players literally decide to retire at halftime before. If a player has a change of heart and doesn’t want to play the rest of the year, but doesn’t want to be disciplined, he can retire. If he wishes to play again, he can unretire, and his former team would still possess his rights.