JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An NFL arbiter has ruled that the Jacksonville Jaguars cannot fine players for missing appointments with a trainer or physician after the NFLPA filed a grievance against the team because it fined one player more than $700,000 for doing so during the 2018 offseason.
Dante Fowler Jr., whom the Jaguars traded to the Los Angeles Rams during the 2018 season, basically confirmed on Twitter that he was the player.
They literally hated me . I got it all back though! Thanks to the NFLPA https://t.co/vUIg5tsKvr— Dante fowler (@dantefowler) December 16, 2019
Per a letter the NFL Players Association sent to players, the NFLPA said the jointly appointed arbiter ruled that offseason activities are "strictly voluntary" (with limited exceptions) and no team can make those activities mandatory. Teams cannot require players to rehab or go to medical appointments at team facilities in the offseason or pre-training camp period.
Per the NFLPA letter, one Jaguars player, whom the source said was Fowler, was fined 25 times for more than $700,000, and that was "just one of the many grievances we had to file to protect our players from the Jaguars' actions."
The NFLPA letter says the arbiter's decision "puts a stop to the blatant overreach by the Jaguars."
The letter also stated that Jaguars players "continue to be at odds with Jaguars management over their rights under the CBA far more than players on other clubs." In addition, the letter said that more than 25 percent of the grievances filed by NFL players have been against the Jaguars and "you as players may want to consider this when you have a chance to select your next club."
The letter does not name anyone with the Jaguars, but executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin has previously gotten into trouble with the NFLPA over similar matters. The NFLPA investigated a letter that Coughlin emailed to several players under contract that they needed to report to the team facility for a physical in March 2017 -- less than three months after Coughlin was hired.
Former player Jared Odrick also won a grievance he filed against the Jaguars shortly after Coughlin was hired. The Jaguars were refusing to pay part of his guaranteed salary -- he was cut in February 2017 -- because they claimed he voided it by not showing up to the team facility for checkups during his rehab.