The NFL Players Association sent a letter to all NFL players Wednesday in response to a claim by attorneys for Eric Reid that last month's vote on the league's new CBA should be invalidated because of a change in language, saying the claim is "completely false."
Attorneys for Reid, a free-agent safety, sent a letter Monday saying that the collective bargaining agreement posted on the NFLPA website after passage of the agreement on March 15 contains language different from that in the document on which the players voted. The NFLPA acknowledges the difference in the language but says in its letter that the change is not significant enough to warrant the investigation and re-vote for which Reid is calling.
"Yes, the NFLPA fixed a cross-reference in the final version of the new CBA," states the NFLPA's response, which was sent to its executive council and board of player representatives on Tuesday and to all players Wednesday. "No, that cross-reference reflects no substantive difference whatsoever from what players were told about the proposed CBA and what the players voted to approve."
The Monday letter from Reid's attorneys, Ben Meiselas and Mark Geragos, pointed out a difference in the wording of the section of the CBA about the league's disability plan. The letter noted that the document that was sent to players for voting said Social Security offsets would impact disabled former players who applied for Social Security disability insurance payments after Jan. 1, 2015, and the final document affects disabled former players who applied before that date.
"The reason none of the information provided by the NFLPA to current and former players draws a distinction between players who applied for disability before or after January 1, 2015 is because [of] the Union's agreement with the NFL to offset certain disability payments for Social Security Income applied to all players regardless of when they had applied for disability benefits," the letter states. "Never was there any suggestion that the Social Security Income offset applied differently depending on when a player applied for disability. And there was transparency -- indeed, there was extensive discussion and debate -- that this offset would impact approximately 400 former players. The NFLPA's presentation to former players during the Board meetings likewise made clear that all players who receive disability and Social Security would be impacted, approximately 400 players in total."
After Reid and his attorneys made their claim public Monday, the NFLPA had its attorneys review their claims and the differences between the two documents. They concluded that the change represents "a cross-reference" and not a material or substantive change in the agreement.
"It is correct that the final version of the 456-page CBA includes an additional subparagraph with a crossreference to a section of the Disability Plan that the parties had inadvertently omitted in an earlier version," the letter states. "The final CBA corrected the omissioner, as the bargaining parties were required to do based on their agreement that 'if any typographical errors or incorrect crossreferences are found in the 2020-2030 Agreement, the parties will act in good faith to correct them' (just as similarly agreed when finalizing the 2011 CBA). This correction did not, however, change what had been agreed to with the NFL, what information had been provided to players, or what players had voted upon."