A grievance is a dispute between a player and a club or the League concerning his individual contract or the CBA. The NFLPA normally represents the individual player in his grievance, and is successful in considerably more than half of the cases. Filing a grievance is a legally guaranteed right of the player, so long as the grievance has merit. A player cannot be discriminated against for filing a claim. There are two types of grievances.
An injury grievance applies when a player is released by a team while he is injured and unable to play. A typical injury grievance involves a player who comes to camp, passes the physical, later suffers an injury or re-injury, and then is cut by the team during the same year. To have a valid injury grievance, the player must file within twenty-five (25) days of when he is released by the club. If a player wins an injury grievance, he gets the salary he would have received if the club had kept him until he was healthy. However, he can only win salary for the year he is injured, and not for any subsequent years. The non-injury grievance procedure applies to most other disputes between players and clubs.
Examples of non-injury grievances include:
- a player challenges a fine or suspension by his club;
- a player claims an incentive bonus which is disputed by the club;
- a player can't play because of a previous year's injury and claims the collectively-bargained Injury Protection Benefit.
For non-injury grievances (most other cases), a player must file within fifty (50) days from the date the dispute arises. For example, a player who files a grievance over a club fine would need to file his case within fifty days of when the fine was imposed by the head coach.