The NFL Players Association is in the middle of a heated public relations battle with the league’s chief medical officer over its decision to allow the inclusion of the term “male doctors” in its “Players, Anthem and Players Health” policy.
According to an NFLPA statement, “in light of the ongoing health crisis in the United States, we believe it is important that the term ‘male doctors’ be included in the Players Anthem and the Players Health Program.
The inclusion of male physicians is critical to providing high-quality care for our players, their families, and the general public.”
The statement says the league and the union reached an agreement to exclude the term from the policy, which was drafted to address the health care needs of NFL players.
However, the statement goes on to say that the union has since received the policy revisions to include male doctors as well as male-only teams.
The league is currently reviewing the policy and has not yet decided whether it will allow male doctors to be included.
The players association’s efforts to remove the term were in response to a New York Times article last week that detailed the health issues facing female players in the NFL, including injuries and deaths.
In that article, NFL executive vice president of player safety Eric Winston said the league was in “a state of crisis” as the league faces an estimated 7.7 million players on active rosters who have suffered injuries or died.
The union has taken to social media to decry the inclusion, calling it a “disgrace” and calling for the removal of the phrase.
“The inclusion of ‘male physicians’ in the Player Anthem and our Players Health program is an affront to our players and an insult to the health and safety of NFL fans,” the union said in a statement on Monday.
“In order to ensure all players are treated with dignity and respect, we will continue to work with our players to eliminate any and all language that is discriminatory and does not reflect the best medical practices.”
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.