NFL players will have two extra days to vote on the new collective bargaining agreement, the league’s Players Association have confirmed.
The NFLPA on Monday moved the deadline for voting on the proposed CBA from Thursday night Saturday night.
The deadline change was approved by a vote of the 32-member board of player representatives.
“Every vote matters, and we encourage all players to review the materials sent via email in order to make an informed decision,” the NFLPA said in a statement.
A “yes” from a simple majority of the players in the union would bring an unprecedented 11 years of labour peace to the NFL.
The union also decided against letting players who have already submitted their ballots on the proposed CBA to change their votes. According to ESPN.com, team player reps discussed allowing vote changes but ruled against it in their meeting Monday at Key Biscayne, Florida.
Also on Monday, the New York Times reported veteran offensive tackle Russell Okung charged the NFLPA with unfair labour practices in a filing submitted to the National Labor Relations Board.
Okung, one of four candidates in the vote for NFLPA president that will be held Tuesday, has been an active opponent of the proposed CBA. His NLRB submission accuses the NFLPA of negotiating the deal with owners in bad faith.
He maintains that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith violated the union’s rules by forcing a vote on the proposal over the opposition of the executive committee.
Union spokesman George Atallah told the Times the NFLPA couldn’t comment immediately because it had yet to see the filing.
According to the Times, the NLRB usually needs a few weeks to conduct an investigation into the allegation. If litigation is found to be warranted, that could take months.
In a trade widely reported last week, Okung would be traded from the Chargers to the Carolina Panthers in a deal that would send guard Trai Turner to Los Angeles. The swap can’t be completed until the league’s new business year begins on March 18.
Among the central points in the new CBA sparking debate among players is the addition of a 17th regular-season game starting in 2021, which Smith implied was tied to the reduction of preseason from four games per team to three.
NFL player representatives voted 17-14-1 to approve the deal at the NFL Scouting Combine, clearing the way for the full union vote.
While superstars who have hit $100 million paydays such as Russell Wilson and J.J. Watt were critical of the proposed pact, several player reps indicated the deal serves the majority of the union in multiple ways. That includes the addition of downtime in the offseason, as well as immediate raises for those making at or near minimum NFL salaries.
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