NFLPA STATEMENT ON NFL COMPETITION COMMITTEE AND HIP-DROP TACKLE
During this week’s annual NFLPA Board of Player Representatives meeting in Hawaii, we discussed alternative methods to ensuring that players’ voices on the rules of our game are presented and heard with the appropriate level of seriousness and respect.
With that in mind, and operating under the belief that game rules should only be written if they can be fairly and reasonably applied, our player leadership passed a resolution to issue the following statement opposing the NFL Competition Committee’s consideration of a rule prohibiting the “hip-drop tackle”:
League members of the NFL Competition Committee have indicated it is considering instituting a new playing rule prohibiting a tackling technique it described as the “hip-drop tackle.” Despite this intent, the NFL also acknowledged that they were having a difficult time defining a “hip-drop tackle.”
While the players have consistently advocated for health and safety advancements, any prohibition on the “hip-drop tackle” technique is unfair to players and unrealistic to implement. It places defensive players in an impossible position by creating indecision in the mind of any tackling player, puts officials in an unreasonable situation that will result in inconsistent calls on the field, and confuses our fans.
We call on the NFL to reconsider implementing a rule prohibiting the “hip drop tackle.”
This year, our union player leadership made the decision to not send any players to the NFL’s Competition Committee meeting last week in Indianapolis (Members of our legal department did attend to reserve all of our rights). Here are our reasons behind this decision:
- The Competition Committee is not collective bargaining, and our union has little to no say over the process or outcomes from these meetings. The agenda is set and the decisions are made by the NFL’s appointees. We one vote to the NFL's ten.
- From experience, our union’s presence at these meetings, especially in recent years, only gives the Committee cover to mislead the public about any rule changes or other decisions that are made. For example, when the Committee implemented the taunting point of emphasis in 2021, its Chairman, Rich McKay, was quick to say that the NFLPA pushed for the change. The fact of the matter is that the change was never raised or supported by the NFLPA; it was simply passed through because the NFL has the overwhelming majority of votes and they used the union’s presence at the meeting as cover for the backlash that followed.
- We want to do everything we can to uplift and promote players’ voices and perspectives; but our union’s player representatives and presence at the Competition Committee meeting should not be used as PR cover for bad policy, and we have seen that happen far too often.
- It is better for our player members to reserve our rights on health and safety issues for collective bargaining. Most, if not all, of the advancements to player health and safety are a result of our union’s negotiations with management. The recommendations and decisions made at the Combine during the Competition Committee meeting have rarely helped our player members do their jobs more safely or effectively.
- We know how much these decisions can impact our player members on the job; but unless we are offered an equal and legitimate seat at the table in this forum, our presence is simply counterproductive.