National Football League Players Association
The National Football League Players Association, or NFLPA, is a labor union representing NFL players. Founded in 1956, the NFLPA is the second-oldest labor union of the four major professional sports leagues. The organization was not recognized by the NFL as the official bargaining agent for the players until 1968, when a CBA was signed.
About National Football League Players Association in brief
The National Football League Players Association, or NFLPA, is a labor union representing NFL players. Founded in 1956, the NFLPA is the second-oldest labor union of the four major professional sports leagues. A series of strikes and lockouts have occurred throughout the union’s existence largely due to monetary and benefit disputes between the players and the owners. The NFLPA represents and protects the rights of the players; the organization’s actions include filing grievances against player discipline that it deems too severe. It negotiates and monitors retirement and insurance benefits and enhances and defends the image of players and their profession. The union is a member of the AFL–CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States. The organization was not recognized by the NFL as the official bargaining agent for the players until 1968, when a CBA was signed. The most recent CBA negotiations took place in 2020, with the Chicago Bears being the sole holdout. It was established to provide players with formal representation to negotiate compensation and the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. It is the only labor union that represents players in all four major U.S. sports leagues: the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and the MLB. It has its headquarters in Washington, D. C. and is led by president J. C. Tretter and executive director DeMaurice Smith. It began when two players from the Cleveland Browns, Abe Gibron and Dante Lavelli, approached a lawyer and former Notre Dame football player, Creighton Miller, to help form an association to advocate for players.
The first meeting was convened at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in November 1956 where players decided on demands to be submitted to league commissioner Bert Bell. By November 1956 a majority of players signed cards allowing theNFLPA to represent them. Players for 11 of the 12 teams in the league voted to join the new association. The case, Radovich v. National Football NFL, 352 U. S. 445, made its way to the U.N. Supreme Court in January 1957. The court ruled that the NFL constituted a business under American antitrust law and did not enjoy the same immunity accorded to Major League Baseball. It set the foundation for a series of court battles over compensation and employment conditions. The league’s initial agenda included a league-wide salary, plus a diem when players were on the road, a requirement that uniforms and equipment be paid for and maintained at the clubs’ expense, and continued payment of salaries when players are injured. One particularly sore point involved the lack of compensation for preseason exhibition games; while owners charged and benefitted from a lucrative season-long contract payment. No preseason games were made until a player’s contract payment was made up to eight weeks, risking season-ending injury or career-ending injuries. The players would work for up to 8 weeks without pay. The owners, however, were immediately antagonistic to the concept of their player’s union’s position.