NFL players, who have been locked out since March 11, will return to work starting this week after the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) Executive Board and the 32 team representatives voted to approve the terms of a settlement with the owners.
As players report to team facilities this week, they will vote on the settlement, along with a vote to recertify the NFLPA as a union. The NFLPA renounced its status as a union in March to take legal anti-trust action against the owners’ lockout.
Also yesterday, the NFLPA Executive Board voted to recommend a settlement in the anti-trust suit (Brady et al v. NFL) against the league by 10 players. NFLPA President Kevin Mawae says the negotiations have “been a long road for everyone involved.”
While it is not yet over, the diligence demonstrated by active and former players speaks volumes to their dedication to reaching a fair deal. This settlement is an essential component to what will be a long-term agreement benefitting players, owners and fans.
Speaking to reporters, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said:
I know it has been a very long process since the day we stood here that night in March, but our guys stood together when nobody thought we would. And football is back because of it.
Detailed terms of the 10-year agreement were not released today, but Smith said the agreement covered a number of aspects, including safety issues and pensions.
The final process for negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement will begin after the NFLPA recertifies as a union. Benefits and health care, handling of grievances and the substance-abuse policy are all things that players will negotiate after they reform as a union.