NFL Superstars And Rookies Alike Tackle Poor Working Conditions
The first survey of National Football League players found that they want, among other things, locker rooms that are rat free and access to cell phone charging outlets.
Even N.F.L. football players who make tens of millions of dollars a year cope with poor working conditions.
They spend much of their time alongside rookies in locker rooms, training rooms, weight rooms, and cafeterias.
The NFL player’s union first-ever survey of the leagues 2,000 players found that some club facilities are better than others. A lot better.
Joseph Carl Tretter, Jr., a former offensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers and the Cleveland Browns, discussed the survey with Stephen Dubner, host of on the Freakonomics radio podcast.
Tretter, who is the president of the N.F.L. Players Association, said perhaps the most surprising player complaints came from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Players said rats invaded the locker room and laundry hampers for three to four weeks this season. “I mean, I would never have thought to ask, ‘Are there rats in your locker room?’” said Tretter.
The Jaguars ranked 28th out of 32 teams in the league, with a D-minus for its locker room. Each team was given letter grades on eight different factors relating to their working conditions.
(It should be noted the Jaguars are building a new practice facility that is expected to resolve the rat problem.)
It was probably no coincidence that the top three ranked teams in the survey - Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins and the Las Vegas Raiders - all have brand new training facilities.
Another gripe involved the Arizona Cardinals, which ranked 31st among the 32 teams. Players complained the Cardinals organization made players pay for food. Tretter said he didn’t think the “cost they were charging would pay for the meals anyway. It is almost like the control factor of it, of, ‘Hey, just know your place.”
(On the other hand, three teams did not provide players food at all.)
Control is an issue in any workplace and Tretter said it is no different in the N.F.L.
“From a union perspective, we’re negotiating for the same things that any union is: better wages, better benefits, better working conditions. But there is a level of control that’s always being fought after,” said Tretter.
The three teams that were ranked at the bottom of the survey are
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