Lawyer: NFL CBA Passed Despite Altered Language

Veteran NFL safety Eric Reid has called for a revote.

670 The Score Staff
March 31, 2020 - 11:28 am
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(670 The Score) Veteran NFL safety Eric Reid is demanding a revote on the league's new collective bargaining agreement because of language that he and his representation found to be changed without players being informed.

Reid, a current NFL free agent, believes that CBA provisions were meaningfully altered pertaining to disability plans for disabled players and their families. The CBA was passed by the NFL Players Association by a 1,019-959 vote on March 15, which locked in labor peace through 2030.

Reid hired attorneys Ben Meiselas and Ray Genco to review the CBA on his behalf. Meiselas recognized the changes to the language, he explained on the Julie DiCaro Show on 670 The Score on Monday night. 

"The CBA had provisions that basically took money away from disabled players," Meiselas said. "There are a number of provisions that amended prior disability plans and prior benefits that disabled families believed to be guaranteed. That money was drastically reduced by, for example, having offsets where social security disability payments would be offsets from disability payments you were promised.

"These are not multi-millionaire families. These are players from the '80s, '90s, 2000s who are disabled, struggling with CTE, have a ton of problems, who were promised benefits. They're just being taken away, which the NFLPA claims is a small concession they had to make. It sounds like a big concession to me.

"In any agreement, a labor agreement, a settlement, even if there's a minor change after the agreement is consummated, after a vote, you flag that. You have to address it. You don't just make a change after there's a done deal and the players vote. But as I dug into it, it became clear that the change was actually a material change and significantly impacted disabled players. 

"By making this edit after the vote took place, you're just taking away a significant amount of benefits from a whole new population of potentially hundreds if not thousands of disabled players, and making a change like this in an agreement after the vote took place is unheard of."

Meiselas found the language in the CBA changed from when the vote began March 4 until it was passed 11 days later. The alterations meant only players who applied for Social Security disability insurance payments after Jan. 1, 2015 would receive those benefits. Those who applied before that deadline would lose their access to plans.

"Buried in there were provisions that significantly harmed disabled families," Meiselas said. "We pointed it out. A number of players when they heard about it wanted to change their vote. This was amidst the current pandemic we have. And the NFLPA refused to allow people to change their vote who obviously wanted to change their vote when they knew what this was.

"This was rushed to a vote for reasons that are inexplicable."

Listen to Meiselas' full interview below. It begins around the 13:45 mark of the first hour from the show Monday night.