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NFLPA voices concern over La. workers' compensation bill

As many NFL hopefuls who were not drafted in last week’s draft sign with teams as free agents, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith wrote a letter to agents warning their clients about entering into contracts with the New Orleans Saints. According to a recent USA Today report, players who sign with the team may be jeopardizing their rights to favorable workers’ compensation claims in the event they are injured. 

Smith wrote about his concerns over a bill making its way through the Louisiana legislature (Bill 1069) that could limit the amount of benefits an injured player may receive. Essentially, the bill calls for workers’ comp claims to be based on a player’s current income, as opposed to future earnings. Generally speaking, a player who is injured must file a workers’ comp claim with the state where their team resides. As such, a player for the Saints who is injured at any time during their tenure with the team, whether it is during rookie camp, training camp, or the regular season, must file their claim in Louisiana.

However, there are some exceptions. California, for instance, allows players from visiting teams to file claims in the state as long as the game is played in the state. While the proposed law does not affect employers in California, it could raise questions about how future amendments to the state’s workers’ comp system may come about. We welcome any such inquiries from employers.

In the meantime, counsel for the Saints informed the media that the legislature’s move would not affect players covered under the league’s collective bargaining agreement. 

Source: USA “NFLPA warns agents about players signing with the New Orleans Saints,” Tom Pellisero, May 16, 2014

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