Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter isn’t a household name to most NFL fans, but he might become one before the end of the year.
Tretter is the NFLPA’s president and he has not been shy about speaking out about player safety as they return to work during the coronavirus pandemic.
In another article posted Tuesday to the NFLPA site, Tretter discussed how the NFL has to bend some of its views if it wants to have a full season.
“Every decision this year that prioritizes normalcy over innovation, custom over science or even football over health, significantly reduces our chances of completing the full season,” Tretter wrote.
One point in particular that Tretter made was questioning why the NFL is still pushing for any preseason games.
NFLPA doesn’t want a preseason
The NFLPA Board of Player Representatives voted unanimously to eliminate all preseason games, but Tretter wrote that the NFL is pushing for two games. The NFL has already canceled two of the four preseason games.
“When we asked for a medical reason to play games that don’t count in the standings during an ongoing pandemic, the NFL failed to provide one,” Tretter wrote. “The league did provide a football reason, though -- to evaluate rosters.”
The NFL is stuck in its ways in many, many areas, and most of them are relatively harmless. The insistence on holding preseason games, mostly because coaches would feel lost without them, seems reckless.
That wasn’t Tretter’s only point. He also said the NFL was unwilling to follow the recommendation of a 48-day training camp by a joint committee made up of doctors, trainers and strength coaches. Even with a concern of player injury spikes due to the lack of a normal offseason, Tretter wrote, “the NFL is unwilling to prioritize player safety and believes that the virus will bend to football.”
NFL has to ‘fit football inside the world of coronavirus’
The NFL has had the benefit of time. It can see what happens with other leagues because it doesn’t have a scheduled regular-season game until Sept. 10. But there will be a point in which the NFL has tough decisions to make.
Tretter’s message Tuesday was a logical one: Players want to play the season in full, and it wants the NFL to do everything it can to ensure that.
“It has been clear for months that we need to find a way to fit football inside the world of coronavirus,” Tretter said. “Making decisions outside that lens is both dangerous and irresponsible.”
Tretter has been speaking out, perhaps more than any recent NFLPA president, as the league goes toward an unusual season. Training camps start soon, and it seems there are still unanswered questions. If there are labor disputes coming before camps or the regular season starts, Tretter will be the face of them. He’s already getting out in front of any potential issues.