DeMaurice Smith: Allen Sills tried to meet with UNCs, without union present

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After last month’s situation involving Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to make important changes to the concussion protocol. As to whether the prior protocol was properly followed regarding Tagovailoa, the league and union agreed to disagree.

It wasn’t the only disagreement that arose. Beyond the decision of the NFLPA to fire the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant assigned to the case, another irregularity emerged.

During a Tuesday appearance on #PFTPM, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said that NFL Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills tried to meet with all UNCs, without the union being present or involved. Smith credited Commissioner Roger Goodell for preventing Sills from meeting with the UNCs alone.

The situation underscores the tension between management and labor as to the UNCs. The UNCs believe (or perhaps more accurately previously believed) that they work only for the league. The union believes that the UNCs answer to both parties.

The union is correct. While the protocol is being applied, someone needs to advocate for the player — especially since the player often is inclined to ignore his best interests in the name of getting back on the field. With the team physician being employed by the club, the UNC is the closest person to a player advocate. The UNCs need to realize this duty, and to act accordingly.

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