As a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement between NFL owners and the NFL Players Association moved closer Wednesday to being ratified, two of the league’s most respected but least outspoken players vocally opposed its terms.
Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson — player representatives for the Packers and Seahawks, respectively — took exception to the inclusion of a 17th regular-season game in the CBA and the addition of a playoff contest for No. 2 seeds.
Rodgers and Wilson were among the 14 dissenters in a Wednesday morning vote on the CBA by the NFLPA’s 32 player representatives. Both men cited player health as their primary concern. Because 17 representatives voted in favor of the proposed CBA (one abstained), it will move to a final election that includes the full NFL union membership.
“The value of our players and the strength of the NFLPA can only be realized, if we ourselves know and believe in our worth,” Rodgers wrote on Twitter.
Said Wilson on Twitter: “The @NBA & @MLB are doing it right. Players come first. ALL @NFL players deserve the same. WE should not rush the next 10 YEARS for Today’s satisfaction. I VOTE NO.”
49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who also voted against the proposal, offered his thoughts as well. He has long spoken out about player wellbeing and has recommended steps the NFL should take to protect its athletes.
Despite the public positions taken by Rodgers, Wilson, Sherman and other NFL players against the CBA, the proposal is still expected to pass in the final vote, according to The Washington Post. The process could conclude within the next few weeks.
In addition to an extended regular season and expanded playoffs, the proposed CBA includes, among other things, a raise in the minimum NFL salary and relaxation of in-place policies curtailing marijuana use.
If approved, the CBA would go into effect for the upcoming season.
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