NFL and NFLPA headed for minicamp showdown

Who wins?
Who wins?
Illustration: Shutterstock

There’s a brewing fight between the NFL and NFLPA, though that’s always kind of the case. The NFL and its owners, GMs, and coaches would like players to show up for voluntary workouts and minicamps soon. The players, citing the whole pandemic thing, think it’s perfectly fine if they continue to work out on their own and worry about it come training camp. Which they did last year, and everyone agreed that it went just fine.

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It all centers around Broncos guard Ja’Wuan James, who tore his achilles while working out at the team facility, but not during organized workouts. The league decided to use that injury as an example of what could happen to players who work out on their own, and get hurt, i.e. how teams could opt to simply not pay players that get hurt working out on their own. Amazing how these billionaires are always looking for ways to not shell out a small percentage of their overall worth to employees.

Obviously the union was less than thrilled about the not-so-veiled threats of cutting players’ checks over injuries occuring while prepping for the season.

It’s just another reason why players will tell you that aside from the actual games, their job sucks. Their teams want to control them around the clock, and just about as soon as they prove to be more than just a grunt they’re looking for their cheaper and younger replacement. And any misstep, any perceived loss of ability, and you’re cut.

The NFL already had complete dominion over its players because the contracts aren’t guaranteed. Why it felt the need to further wield the sword of Damocles over the players’ head is a mystery, other than simply they thought it could. Players know what is at risk every day of their careers. If teams were worried about players dogging it on their own, that’s far-fetched given the ramifications and how last season went.

It’s just another shining example of the paranoia of all NFL coaches and execs, the idea that nothing can be out of their control. Letting their players train on their own might put them behind another team that is all together. No one’s ever happy thinking about what the other guy could be doing.

This fight will continue, and it won’t get any prettier. 

We can't be too careful. Two guys in an airport...talking? It's a little fishy.