NFL’s Injury Memo takes away player’s season of pay

Around this time of the year, NFL players start training to prepare for the upcoming season. Since team facilities aren’t open, players train in private gyms, public areas, or training facilities until OTAs and team practices begin. Tuesday, May 4 2021, Ja’Wuan James, offensive lineman for the Denver Broncos, tore his achilles while working out from home. Soon after, the NFL released a memo stating that teams aren’t obligated to pay their players if they hurt themselves off of team facilities. 

The Injury and the Memo

James was going to make $10 million this upcoming season. Normally, if an injury occurred in the team facilities, the team will cover for medical care, pension credit, and other benefits. Since it wasn’t on Broncos facility, the NFL reiterated that James’ injury is classified as “non-football injury.” Now James’ contract is no longer fully guaranteed. James will miss a full season of pay.

Players’ Reaction

The ironic thing about the NFL’s memo is that no team asked what to do if their players if they got injured off the field. The memo came out right after the report of James’ injury. This move by the NFL ruffled a lot of feathers and players were quick to voice their opinions. “So they are going to take his contract for working out in the offseason???” tweeted star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes’ teammate Tyreek Hill and many other joined in James’ injury treatment.

What’s Next?

The bright side about this injury-contract dispute is that it’s up to the team on how they’ll handle the injury. At the moment there are no reports of the Broncos plan. Player feedback will probably push the team to take care of James but time will tell if the NFL can fix the tension with their players.