The NFL has been deliberately slow in confronting the idea of a canceled or highly modified season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but some details of the league’s talks with its players union over the possibility is starting to leak out.
So far, the NFLPA isn’t liking what it’s hearing.
The NFLPA informed its board of representatives on Tuesday that the NFL had proposed 35 percent of player salaries in 2020 be held in escrow to help manage costs for the season, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Basically, the league wants to hold back a sizable chunk of player salaries in anticipation of decreased revenues to some or all teams being unable to allow fans into games.
The union’s reaction to the proposal wasn’t very welcoming, according to an executive.
It’s not hard to understand why players would react to the idea in such faction. NFL owners have raked in profits and seen their franchise values skyrocket into the billions for years with player pay lagging behind. Now, the league wants the players to help absorb its losses the one year it might not be profitable, and in a season in which they will face the dangers of a pandemic.
More players reacted to the news of the proposal on Twitter, and their universal rejection and derision of the idea indicates the idea probably isn’t going to get much traction.
NFL players react to league’s escrow idea
Steelers wide receiver Ryan Switzer followed suit with agent Drew Rosenhaus.
Former players also didn’t seem very keen on the idea.
If this is all starting to feel very familiar, you might also be a baseball fan. MLB and the MLBPA went back and forth with proposals for weeks, with doomed ideas like revenue sharing and sliding scale wages publicly dismissed within minutes of them being reported.
MLB negotiations eventually resulted in an impasse over the number of games played in the 2020 season, at which point MLB commissioner Rob Manfred simply imposed a 60-game season and potentially faced a grievance from the MLBPA.
Hopefully, the NFL fight doesn’t get nearly as ugly. That might be easier said than done.
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