All NFL players and clubs will now be able to anonymously report any violations or issues with regard to health and safety to the NFLPA after it extended its agreement with RealResponse, a secure platform where users can share feedback in real-time. The partnership will begin this summer with the start of training camp and continue throughout the 2021 season.
The NFLPA first enlisted RealResponse last season as it worked with the league to put policies and procedures in place to deal with the pandemic. Players could text in or use an online link to the reporting system to anonymously communicate COVID-19 concerns and bring potential health and safety protocol violations to the NFLPA’s attention. RealResponse CEO David Chadwick said the platform was “heavily utilized” last season, prompting the expanded relationship.
COVID-19 policy infractions remain an area where the NFLPA is encouraging players to turn to RealResponse, particularly given the NFL’s strict protocol for this season, which includes a $14,650 fine each time an unvaccinated player violates coronavirus procedures. Players now also have the ability to anonymously ask questions about or report a wider range of health and safety issues to the NFLPA in real time and receive responses from the union. Medical issues, problems at training camp, drug policy infractions, social justice concerns, misconduct, hazing and harassment are among the areas the platform is designed to handle.
“We’re really excited that the NFLPA sees RealResponse as a way to not only collect the type of information that we have in the past year, but really expanding it out to any type of need or concern that someone might have that they want to bring to the union or they think might require the union’s assistance,” Chadwick said in an interview. “COVID continues to be part of the equation, but it’s just one part now.”
RealResponse’s two-way platform allows organizations like the NFLPA to carry on further correspondence with an anonymous reporter where, for example, they can ask further questions for clarity or begin to point the person to applicable resources. The platform also serves as a document repository, where sensitive information can be saved and stored in the process of addressing issues.
The NFLPA joins USA Gymnastics and more than 100 college athletic departments, including Maryland, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Baylor, as RealResponse partners. The company, which was originally founded in 2015, moved outside of college athletics in 2020, when it first partnered with the NFLPA. More than 50,000 athletes now have access to RealResponse.
“The NFLPA is committed to providing players a confidential way to bring forward any issues or concerns that may require the union’s assistance,” said Don Davis, senior director of player affairs at the NFL Players Association. “We believe this system will go a long way in addressing problems and letting all focus on the task at hand, which is being successful athletes, teammates and family members for decades to come.”