49ers’ practice field complaints part of lingering turf war between NFL players union and the league

LAS VEGAS — In the expanse of three days and two news conferences, we got an answer to what will be fueling the next phase of a tug-of-war between the NFL and players union.

Grass.

Specifically, how many NFL fields don’t have it, how many, according to the NFLPA, don’t maintain it well, and how long it will take for the league to, according to the union, improve the overall consistency of playing surfaces from one stadium to the next. And there might not have been a more appropriate juncture to discuss it than this week, coming off a 2023 Super Bowl that had problems with a slick field, and in the wake of the San Francisco 49ers arriving in Las Vegas to find an overly soft practice surface at UNLV. That latter issue led to the 49ers complaining to the league and union, only to be brushed off by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during his state of the league address Monday.

“We’ve had 23 experts out there,” Goodell said of the UNLV field. “We had the union out there. All of them think it’s a very playable surface.”

That was hardly the tone struck by the NFL Players Association in a response Wednesday, with new executive director Lloyd Howell and NFLPA president JC Tretter both criticizing the condition of the surface, while also using it as a focal point to discuss the union’s ongoing push for improved playing fields. Leading into this week, the league laid sod over UNLV’s turf, leading to complaints from the 49ers about seams across the field and a level of sponginess that created concerns. According to Tretter, the NFL failed to lay down a necessary layer of rigid plastic between the field turf and sod, which would have prevented it from being excessively soft.

“My understanding is [adding the plastic layer] is not what happened, which is adding to the issue of the softer field,” Tretter said. “When the experts say that [plastic is necessary], I don’t know how that falls through the cracks. I don’t know how that doesn’t happen. ……


Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/49ers-practice-field-complaints-part-of-lingering-turf-war-between-nfl-players-union-and-the-league-064051097.html

Author : Yahoo Sports

Publish date : 2024-02-08 06:40:51

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