NFL Accuses Players Union of Fueling Fake Injury Claims for Contract Leverage


The NFL has lodged a complaint against the NFL Players Association, accusing union executives, President JC Tretter among them, of guiding running backs to consider mimicking or overstating injuries to amplify their bargaining power during contract discussions.

The grievance, which was tabled on September 11, awaits an arbitrator’s assessment.

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In a memorandum that was dispatched to the league’s management council executive committee, and discreetly procured by The Associated Press, the NFL specified that the union advised the running backs in a pre-season Zoom conference.

The league argues that any player opting to follow the union’s counsel and feign an injury would contravene the collective bargaining agreement.

The memo clearly stated, “Such behavior flagrantly breaches the union’s accord to employ ‘best efforts to honor the terms and conditions of the (CBA)’, and ‘see that the terms and conditions of all NFL Player Contracts are fulfilled in their entirety by players’. Additionally, the union’s behavior is considerably reckless as any player choosing to adhere to this advice and wrongfully withhold services under their player contract will be liable to disciplinary action and financial penalties under the CBA, club regulations, and/or the player’s contract.”

Through its grievance, the league calls for the union to halt such inappropriate behavior and additionally seeks other remedies that the arbitrator may deem fitting.

Star running back for the Giants, Saquon Barkley, and the Raiders’ All-Pro, Josh Jacobs, reject their $10.1 million franchise tags, expressing discontent about the absence of long-term contracts.

Jonathan Taylor, a Colts RB, has been implicated in a contract disagreement and was added to the Physically Unable to Perform list at the season’s commencement, due to his recovery from ankle surgery conducted during the offseason.

In July, Tretter candidly discussed the contractual difficulties running backs encounter on ex-NFL player Ross Tucker’s podcast. He stated, “One must attempt to generate as much leverage as possible, which becomes challenging with the franchise tag, or movement restrictions, as they diminish your leverage. Thus, creative means must be sought to establish leverage elsewhere. We’ve observed instances of players, not inclined to remain where they currently are, reporting injuries that prevent them from practicing and playing. However, they cannot be fined or penalized for not reporting. I can’t publicly endorse these tactics. However, each player must devise ways to gain leverage to negotiate a fair deal. Effectively, that is what everyone seeks, to be justly compensated.”