The National Football League Players Association have elected JC Tretter, a center for the Cleveland Browns, as its new president, succeeding the retiring Eric Winston.
During a union meeting in Key Biscayne, Florida, Tretter prevailed in a race for the post over Michael Thomas, a defensive back for the New York Giants, and Sam Acho, a linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Acho is in favor of a proposed collective bargaining agreement with the NFL now before players for a vote. Thomas is against the deal, and fellow opponent Russell Okung, who has filed a complaint against the union with the National Labor Relations Board, dropped out of the bidding, in part to avoid splitting anti-CBA votes among the membership.
Tretter, meanwhile, is seen a more moderate and balanced candidate, and one with a deep background in labor matters. He has a degree in industrial labor relations from Cornell University, the same school and program that has produced Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman, among other US sports industry leaders. Tretter has also been an alternative player representative on the Browns for the past two years.
Last week, Tretter completed and distributed a detailed analysis of the proposed CBA in an effort to make fellow player better informed on the potential impacts of the deal. He has not made known publicly his own views on the proposed CBA, but rather has pushed an agenda of organizational unity, communication, and education.
“Players: we are preparing to vote on a CBA that most of us will play under for the rest of our careers,” Tretter tweeted last week. “Before you decide whether you’re for or against it, please get informed. Read up on it, talk to your player director/rep, send me questions, etc. Get as much info as you can.”
Winston had held the union president post since 2014. Tretter’s two-year term begins immediately.
“It’s an honor to be in this position to lead our player membership,” Tretter said. “This is what I’m passionate about, and I’m excited to fight and protect and advance the rights of all players, past, present, and future.”
Players have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 14 to submit their votes on the labor deal, with a simple majority required for passage. If the vote fails, the current NFL-NFLPA deal that runs through the 2020 season continues to be in force, but the likelihood of some type of work stoppage after next season could increase.