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The NFLPA’s misguided boycott might’ve cost Ja’Wuan James millions

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

When the NFLPA pushed players toward boycotting the start of league’s offseason program, they claimed it was due to concerns over COVID-19 protocols. This was never true, which was pointed out by many who were willing to look at the situation with a critical eye.

Earlier this week, the president of the Players Association admitted as much. The union’s stance was really about trying to renegotiate their Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL, which was agreed to last March.

When the boycott first began, there were plenty of people who raised red flags.

In Broncos Country, it was rightly pointed out that a team who used a lack of an offseason in 2020 as an excuse for their 5-11 record was now voluntarily choosing to once again go without every possible chance to prepare for the season. It seemed a bit hypocritical.

Others also mentioned the fact that the players were taking a big risk. If they were to get injured at their team’s facility, they’d be covered and would get paid for any time lost. If something occurred while working out on their own, their contract could be voided and they’d potentially be out millions of dollars.

Yes, the workouts are voluntary. But there’s a good reason to show up. It’s a safer way to train.

On Tuesday, news broke that brought this problem to the surface. Broncos right tackle Ja’Wuan James tore his Achilles tendon while working out on his own. He’ll miss the entire 2021 season. And he could be out a lot of money.

The union’s job is to protect its members. In this instance, however, they did the opposite.

Former Broncos offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus ripped into the NFLPA on Tuesday. During the first segment of “The Drive” on 104.3 The Fan, he called out the players for following the misguided advice of the union’s leaders.

“This is why the players are idiots for not working out at the facility right now,” Polumbus said. “You just cost yourself $10 million because of a dumb boycott.”

Later, it was revealed that it’s actually twice that amount of money.

“If you were working out with (Broncos strength and conditioning coach) Loren Landow, you might’ve still torn your Achilles,” Polumbus added. “But guess what? You’re still getting every last dollar of your contract. But because you have some dumb little boycott that’s going on right now, you’re not going to get your money now if the Broncos don’t want to pay you.”

This was a problem that many saw coming from a mile away. Unfortunately for Ja’Wuan James, the union decided it was worth the risk. The chance to get players the right to keep working out in Scottsdale or South Beach was more important than protecting his millions.

That’s a steep price to pay.


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