Done Deal –
NFL players voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). It was a really close vote; majority only won 1,019 to 959. Just 60 players moved this deal forward. The new agreement starts with the upcoming 2020 season and goes through the 2030 season.
- Two more teams in the playoffs starting this season
- Increase in minimum salaries and performance-based pay
- Option to increase the regular season to 17 games starting in 2021
- Increase in benefits and pension for retired players
- No suspensions solely for using marijuana
- Growth in revenue for players; 47% in 2020 and at least 48% in 2021
So no concerns about a NFL lockout. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) can rest a little better. The New League Year will start this Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET with the beginning of free agency. Teams have to use the franchise or transition tag on a player by today at 11:59 a.m. ET.
And what’s this tag? –
In the NFL, a franchise tag is a label teams can place on a player who is about to become an unrestricted free agent that keeps him with the same team for one more year if certain terms are met. When a team gives an unrestricted free agent player the transition tag, they are guaranteed the right of first refusal to match any offer that player may have received from another team. It puts them in a good position to be able to keep the player. With the new CBA, teams have to use one or the other; not both.
The coronavirus pandemic has shut down sports leagues and events. Here are the major updates:
- Augusta National postponed the Masters golf tournament
- NCAA cancelled Men’s and Women’s Division I Basketball tournament; That’s no March Madness at all
- Major League Baseball delayed the start of its season by two weeks to April 9 (A New York Yankees minor leaguer tested positive for the virus)
- Major League Soccer suspended its season for 30 days
- NASCAR cancelled races this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway
- National Basketball Association suspended its season for at least 30 days after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. He was the first athlete in an American professional sports league reported to have the illness. His teammate, forward Donovan Mitchell, and Detroit Pistons forward Christian Woods who guarded him during the game on March 7 also tested positive
- National Football League cancelled its annual meeting and prohibited all in-person pre-draft visits involving draft-eligible players.
- National Hockey League suspended its season for at least 30 days
- PGA Tour (golf) cancelled The Players Championship and all other tournaments until April 16
Showing the Love –
NBA players are making donations to help their teammates who work hourly off the court. With the NBA suspending the season for at least 30 days, event or game day staff at the arenas will miss hourly wages for a month. Cleveland Cavaliers center, Kevin Love, who has discussed his battle with anxiety and depression and is an activist for mental illness, was concerned about the anxiety this sudden change would have on the staff. He pledged $100,000.00 to support Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse arena and support staff and encouraged other players to do so as well.
Players and owners are following the Love shown by the Cavs champion. New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai all made pledges to compensate and support arena staff.
The Charlotte Hornets (owner Michael Jordan and players), Chicago Bulls (and Blackhawks) will pay game day staff.
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