The 456-page proposed collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and players has been sent to players for a vote, with ballots now due back by Saturday.
It’s unknown how many players have voted, or how many will take the time to digest such a voluminous document, which is likely filled with lawyer-speak that’s overwhelming for many of us.
So, Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid decided to do his fellow players a favor and have his lawyers review the proposal and summarize it.
Their opinion? Vote no.
Reid: ‘It’s a bigger disaster than we could have imagined’
On Monday, Reid posted a four-page letter to his Twitter account from attorneys Ben Meiselas and Ray Genco.
“It’s a bigger disaster than we could have imagined,” Reid wrote.
The attorneys’ first page makes it clear: they believe the proposed CBA is a bad deal for players.
“This Proposal disproportionately EMPOWERS Ownership, disproportionately ENRICHES Ownership, and disproportionately BURDENS the PLAYERS with the RISKS of the 10-year proposal,” they wrote.
“At this critical time, Players must demand that their health, money, data and dignity be respected and truly valued. Instead, PLAYERS are being mislead, taken from, and left vulnerable. ... The Proposal adds games at the discretion of the Owners, reduces PLAYER safety benefits, guts disability benefits, and reduces civil rights, while giving greater than the majority of revenue and benefits to the Owners.
“It is our view that players should vote “NO” to the Proposal. Player Safety is Worth More.”
‘Players are locked into these terms’
Over the next three pages, Meiselas and Genco lay out several bullet points highlighting their reasons for why players are getting a bad deal if they agree to the proposed CBA.
“This deal doesn’t have an opt out or any meaningful step-up or increase in revenue or benefits to Players during the 10 years. THIS MEANS PLAYERS ARE LOCKED INTO THESE TERMS WITHOUT INCREASE IN BENEFIT FOR THE ENTIRE 10 YEAR DEAL.”
The 17th game owners want means “more games, more plays, more injuries, shorter careers, without more money.”
Since owners have declared a 17th regular season game “non-negotiable,” then players should also have a non-negotiable — to the lawyers, that is a 50-50 revenue split.
The outside revenue streams team owners have that do not benefit players — “Not only is the split unfair and undervalues Players, Owners are allowed to exclude significant revenue from the pie altogether.”
The lawyers also note that an agreed-upon CBA is valuable to the NFL because the league has negotiations coming with television networks, and the NFLPA needs to trade on that.
They encourage players to stand firm and not believe reports that say the league’s proposal is take it or leave it, noting that national labor laws prohibit such a thing.
Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey has been very vocal in his opposition to the proposed deal (he called it a “bulls--- ass deal”), and he echoed the summary’s findings.
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