Could there be an interruption in the NFL after the 2020 season?
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith sent a letter to all player agents asking them to urge players to save money in the event of a yearlong work stoppage in 2021, SportsBusiness Journal reported.
“We are advising players to plan for a work stoppage of at least a year in length,” Smith wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN. “We are also encouraging players to save 50% of their salary and bonuses and to save the entirety of their Performance Based Pay amounts they should earn over the next two regular seasons.”
Talks of a potential work stoppage when the collective bargaining agreement ends after the 2020 season have been ongoing for months as players continue to speak out against it. According to ESPN, one union source describes the letter as “part of our ongoing message to negotiate for the best but prepare for the worst” possible outcome.
“Having a membership that is financially stable will only increase the chances of NFLPA player leadership getting a new CBA that will benefit not only players currently in the NFL but also the players that come after them and the ones that came before them,” Smith wrote.
ESPN had reported in January that teams were using language in coaches’ new contracts to protect themselves in the event of a work stoppage in 2021, which prompted a cryptic tweet from the NFLPA.
These contract provisions were also seen in the lead up to the 2011 lockout 🔒. Take note. https://t.co/iiBry4MRey
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) January 13, 2019
The NFL and NFLPA have started negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, though the two sides have yet to reach an agreement.
In the meantime, the league will kick off its 100th season by honoring its oldest rivalry with a Bears-Packers opener Sept. 5.