The messy world of politics and the messy world of professional sports intersect it many ways and have over the years. We have another example of that on the eve of NFL free agency with an issue that could impact all professional sports in Ohio.
The NFLPA has been more vocal lately about the care that their players get. Recently, they released the results of a players’ survey about the treatment of players by each team. The survey brought out problems within the Baltimore Ravens and a number of other teams.
With one of the more exciting parts of the NFL offseason just around the corner, the NFLPA put out a statement yesterday deriding the Cincinnati Bengals:
ATTENTION ALL PLAYERS— NFLPA (@NFLPA) March 11, 2023
In a move that could impact our entire membership, @Bengals ownership is attempting to strip all athletes in Ohio of their workers’ compensation benefits.
Check your email for more info and reach out to your PD with questions: https://t.co/nrTf19WdOV
A copy of the letter sent to players was then acquired by a Cincinnati reporter:
So, just got this from someone in the NFL. The #NFLPA says the Bengals ownership wants to strip players of their ability to get workman’s comp. pic.twitter.com/C9xwtUvjlY— Tanya O'Rourke (@TanyaORourke) March 11, 2023
Since we are not attorneys, the layman's understanding seems to be that Mike Brown and the Bengals ownership group want professional athletes treated differently than traditional employees.
While Cincinnati’s ownership is pushing the bill, according to the NFLPA, the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Guardians and Columbus Blue Jackets and Columbus Crew, and any other professional teams in the state, would be impacted.
In the NFLPA’s letter, there are assertions that if Ohio has this pass it could impact ever NFL club in the future.
With free agency right around the corner, it will be interesting if the release of this information has any impact on free agency. The Bengals were not expected to be big players in the market, including losing Jessie Bates III, as they prepare to try to sign Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase to big, long-term deals.