Things have grown increasingly turbulent between the NFL and the NFL Players Association in recent years.
Qualms have been raised over Roger Goodell’s authority, the league’s drug policy, and the team-friendly contracts.
And though the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) doesn’t expire until after the 2020 season, Pittsburgh Steelers guard Ramon Foster, who is also the Steelers’ player rep, is already urging players to prepare.
“Hit them in the pocket,” Foster said (via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler). “That way, money always talks. For us to do that, we have to save on our end. We can’t be just blowing money and not realise what’s coming, especially with guys coming into the league now.”
Foster said there are “bigger issues than pot,” and that if players want to also improve things like revenue and post-career care, they must save their money now.
“It’s coming. They have hired certain people on their legal team, the NFL has, and we have to be the type of players and union that’s not borrowing money from banks and stuff like that to survive a lockout, a strike. That can’t happen this time around. We have to be smarter this time around because there are a lot of things we’re going to be fighting for and a lot of things they are going to want and we’re going to want, too.”
It’s a strong message, particularly because 2021 still seems so far away. Perhaps feelings and the overall league temperature could change in the next five years, but with the CBA locked in, that seems unlikely.
According to Fowler, the Steelers were the only team to vote against the proposed CBA during the 2011 lockout.
Though it’s an issue nobody wants to think about this far in advance, the next round of labour negotiations has the potential to get messy, and we may already be looking at a severely delayed season.
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