With the bankruptcy of the XFL earlier this year due to the pandemic, many talented football players were left without a job and given no voice in how they were to be treated during the league’s collapse.
Every player, injured or healthy, was left to figure things out on their own, and very quickly many football families were tasked with relocating, filing for unemployment benefits, obtaining health insurance, and more.
In an effort to help avoid any similar situations in the future, former XFL Seattle Dragons running back, Kenneth Farrow II along with many other AAF, CFL, and XFL alumni have been working hard to create the “United Football Players Association” (UFPA).
The goal of the newly established 501(C)4 nonprofit organization is to push for the best interest of players outside of the NFL and NFLPA in order to avoid more negative situations similar to those that followed the bankruptcies of the XFL and AAF.
Along with creating a safety net, the UFPA is looking to give players an organized environment to voice any concerns about the way any of the alternative football leagues are run.
The UFPA seeks to negotiate specific workplace benefits similar to the NFLPA. The benefits desired include higher pay, better living arrangements, improved practice facility conditions, greater training/weightlifting opportunities, setting up the framework for a player’s name, image, and likeness to be used, and just more overall transparency in how alternative leagues such as the XFL are financed and operated.
One major difference between the UFPA and the NFLPA is the UFPA is not actually a players union and it is not authorized by the National Labor Relations Board to do any collective bargaining. Unlike NFL players, those in alternate football leagues cannot use the UFPA to go on strike or make labor demands.
As a 501(c)4 nonprofit entity under the Internal Revenue Code, the UFPA is a social welfare organization, which means it will use advocacy and education to push for what benefits the players will receive.
Having an organization such as the UFPA giving players a collective voice in a football league owned by a single entity like the AAF or XFL is in my opinion an absolute necessity. A league being owned by a single entity makes it fairly easy to limit player salaries, restrict free agency, and even more to manipulate aspects of the league in ways that players may see as unfair, with little to no consequences.
The UFPA as an association will seek to meet with league officials to bring attention to any concerns players have, giving them the collective voice they’ve lacked in the past.
Although we are still pretty far out from the XFL and CFL returning, Don Povia, a key advisor to the UFPA, believes that these delays caused by the pandemic will actually work in the UFPA’s favor long term. The XFL not returning until 2022 gives them much more time to communicate with the new ownership of the league and advocate for policies they’d like to see implemented upon the league’s return.
The new ownership has been quite vocal about how the new XFL will be a league that supports the players as well as the fans. With that mentality, I would be shocked if Dany Garcia, “The Rock”, & RedBird Capital don’t work to make sure everyone is happy and safe.
For players interested in learning more, sign up for the UFPA Newsletter and other updates at UnitedPlayers.org
UFPA Instagram: @UnitedFBPlayers
UFPA Twitter: @UnitedFBPlayers
UFPA Facebook: facebook.com/unitedfbplayers
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