The NFL Players Association president for the past two years has been J.C. Tretter, the center for the Cleveland Browns. He will also act as president for the NFLPA over the course of the next two, after being unanimously voted to retain the title in an uncontested election this past week.
Tretter was officially elected president on March 10, 2020, which was just days after the NFLPA formally ratified the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement between themselves and the NFL. He was resistant to that CBA deal, and remains so, and has been an outspoken advocate for his peers to a greater extent, at least in my impression, than his predecessors.
He succeeded former Cincinnati Bengals tackle Eric Winston as president, who served in that role for six years, among the longest tenures for an NFLPA president since the association’s founding. Offensive linemen tend to be popular candidates, and tend to serve longer.
Tretter’s term as president has been as complicated as any in recent memory, as it has almost entirely taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, which began to grow widespread that very same month. It was on March 12 that the NBA first canceled a game due to the virus, which many viewed as the first major event in acknowledging the growing matter.
Since then, the past two NFL seasons have been played under unusual circumstances. In 2020, most games were played in front of few if any fans in the stands. Multiple games had to be postponed, some by days, some weeks. In 2021, they had issues employing a two-tiered protocol system for vaccinated and unvaccinated personnel.
In my view, Tretter overall has been a strong advocate for the players thus far, and it would be interesting to see how CBA negotiations were to fare under his watch. But that won’t be for some time now, and long after he likely retires, as the current CBA runs through 2030. Tretter himself is 31, so unless he pulls an Andrew Whitworth, he won’t be around for the next round.
He did have to oversee supplemental agreements tied to COVID-19 protocols, and I do think that the players managed to get some things out of that, including a permanently expanded practice squad, and what will likely be a permanent change to the Injured Reserve rules.
Five new player representatives were also voted to the NFLPA’s Executive Committee Board. The 12-player committee includes no members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but includes Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell.