Aaron Rodgers and other veteran players condemn NFL changes

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Katie Feehan
Born in Yorkshire, Katie is a freelance journalist currently based in York. As a keen sports writer, Katie has a diploma in Multimedia Journalism from the Press Association and has worked on the busy Newcastle Chronicle sports desk. She has also written for Gateshead FC and contributed to various websites including HITC and Give Me Sport.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was reportedly among the biggest opponents to the NFL changes as the union rep players voted on Tuesday night.

The NFLPA voted 17-14-1 to send the proposed collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to a full union membership vote as the next stage in the negotiations.

Multiple sources report the players in the meeting were strongly divided on the NFL changes which include extending the regular season to 17 games and removing a bye week for the second seeds in the playoffs.

NFL owners had previously approved the new deal, although not unanimously, ahead of putting it to the NFLPA for their vote.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was reportedly among the biggest objectors, according to Adam Schefter, and it is believed he was arguing for “even more dramatic changes” to the off-season including more free time for players.

The veteran quarterback then took to social media to share his views in a lengthy post, stating: “I voted no last night.

“My decision to vote no is based off of the conversations i have had with the men in my locker room that I’m tasked to represent.

“This deal will affect every player that ever plays this game and we have made this decision with only an abbreviated version of the deal and that isn’t good enough.

“Although I do see that there are many things in the proposal that improve the lives and care for past, present and future players, there are issues with others.

“16 games to me was never something to be negotiated.

russell wilson and aaron rodgers against nfl changes
Opposition – Seahawks quarterback among players who shared opposition to NFL changes publicly

“The owners made it clear that the 17th game is about paying for the ‘added’ benefits, and had nothing to do with positive feedback received about any extra risks involved with the added regular season game.”

Rodgers goes on to say concerns were also raised by player reps about the workplace, the workload and the off-season program, claiming only some of these concerns have been addressed in the proposed NFL changes.

READ MORE: Here’s everything that’s wrong with the proposed NFL changes

He added: “With an extra game added to the schedule, added risk, and longer stretches before and after the bye week, we felt it was important to address adding more offseason recovery time.

“The ideas discussed would not add costs for teams, in fact if anything would lessen them.”

He went on to iterate his responsibility as a player rep to speak out on issues he feels strongly about, adding: “My involvement as a player rep and a 15-year player in this great game…allows me this platform to share my opinion, and at the same time, requires me to speak on behalf of the sentiment I hear from my teammates.”

Aaron Rodgers is not the only player to speak out publicly against the proposed NFL changes.

Aaron Rodgers was not only player to oppose NFL changes

Other players include Steelers centre Maurkice Pouncey, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Houston Texans’ JJ Watt who shared his thoughts ahead of the meeting of player reps last week.

Maurkice Pouncey shared a fiery denouncement of the new CBA on his Instagram stories on Wednesday morning.

In an explicit rant which also took aim at the players union, he said: “Our NFLPA, the dudes at the top, the leaders, that’s f’ing bs.

“F that. They’re not looking out for the best of the players. If y’all want my vote, the Pouncey twins vote No.

Russell Wilson shared his vote via his Twitter feed, stating “players come first” and that NFL players deserve the same deal given to NBA and MLB players.

The next stage in the negotiations will see the vote go to the full union but it will not be accompanied by a formal recommendation from the NFLPA player reps because of how their vote was split.

The rules require a super-majority of 2/3 for a reccomendation to be put forward by the player reps.

The full union vote is not expected to take place for a number of weeks.

A simple majority of some 2,000 players must accept the agreement for it to go into effect this year.

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