The votes are in and the NFL has officially entered into a new collective bargaining agreement that will span the next 11 seasons, but not everyone is happy with the final outcome.
Several key members of the Green Bay Packers took to social media Sunday to express their frustrations with the newly ratified CBA, which passed with a 1,019 to 959 majority vote that concluded a minute before midnight on Saturday. The new deal runs through the 2030 season and could see the regular season move to 17 games as soon as 2021.
“They can’t see the forest because they are so focused on the tree,” veteran cornerback Tramon Williams tweeted. “You will be a former player a lot longer than an actual player in the NFL.”
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had been one of the most vocal opponents of the new CBA since the NFL Players Association’s 32 team reps met to discuss the proposal in late February. He was one of 14 reps to vote “No” on advancing the proposal to a league-wide vote and later outlined his reasons for standing against it, including the addition of a 17th game and a lack of support for the NFL’s former players.
Most dissenters around the NFL were worried some of the benefits of the CBA — such as a higher minimum wage and no drug suspensions for marijuana — would tempt younger players to vote “Yes” without considering the long-term ramifications of the agreement.
While Rodgers used his platform to take a decisive stance on the issue, other Packers players joined the conversation during the 10-day voting window to encourage players to consult their representation and get an informed opinion on the CBA and how its consequences could impact them. Most of the dissenters around NFL were concerned players would vote “Yes” without considering
Starting left tackle David Bakhtiari managed to accomplish both with his dedicated social media presence, retweeting numerous objections to the CBA while also offering resources to help others make their own informed decisions. He did, however, make it clear in the hours after the CBA passed that he was frustrated with his fellow players’ shortsightedness on the matter.
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Notable Portion of Players Didn’t Even Vote
The CBA passed by a mere 60 votes, which is pretty close when you consider just shy of 2,000 players submitted their decision one way or the other. But what is a little more alarming — and is surely dispiriting for the minority — is about 500 players didn’t even vote. That’s roughly 20 percent of the NFLPA’s current membership.
While it would be easy to deem the non-voters lazy or apathetic, the situation might not have been as simple as it sounds at first. Former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee pointed out he thought some younger players, ages 21 to 25, might have lacked the confidence to make a decision after seeing respectable names backing each side, opting to step back and let the veterans decide.
The CBA was also nearly 500 pages and certainly doesn’t make for the most compelling of reads, especially to young players who have never been deeply involved in those types of financial matters.
“I don’t love it because of how close the votes ended up, but I understand the thought process because I probably would’ve done the same at 22,” McAfee tweeted.