As the NFL and NFL Players Association continue their peace-time conflict over offseason workouts in the second year of a pandemic, union president JC Tretter was asked to address one of the prevailing explanations for veterans not wanting anyone to get reps in the offseason.
Appearing on The Rich Eisen Show, Tretter addressed the opinion of Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians that veteran players prefer not to have offseason workouts (“[t]he veterans love that sh-t,” Arians said of a world without on-field offseason workouts) because they give young players a chance to develop — and in turn to threaten the employment of the veteran players. Tretter disagreed.
“My job and our job is to know what our players want,” Tretter told Eisen. “And this is what our players want. And we surveyed our players, and the vast majority of our players think the virtual offseason is the best for this year. And that wasn’t just the veterans saying that. Just as many young guys, just as many guys with one year of experience, two years of experience, three years of experience responded saying that they think the virtual offseason is the best thing for them this year as the older guys did. So that’s a narrative that just doesn’t have any factor or proof to it. It’s just used to try to divide the union. But we know what we want. We have players talk and we as a union are in charge of representing what all players want, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Without knowing much more about the survey (e.g., how the question was phrased, how many players responded, how many didn’t respond, and whether the young players who want no offseason program have job security), it’s impossible to properly scrutinize those comments and/or to determine the reliability of the results. Regardless, the notion that Arians or anyone else is trying to divide the union misses the mark. The union necessarily is divided; its goal should be to avoid taking positions that highlight those divides.
The work force isn’t homogenous. The offseason complement of 90 players inevitably gets cut to 53. Each of the 90 wants to be one of the 53.