The NFLPA is investigating a complaint from New York Jets players after some of them learned of surveillance cameras in the team’s locker room at their New Jersey practice facility, according to ESPN.
If the cameras are found to be in violation of the CBA, the union will reportedly consider action against the team.
The New York Daily News reports that players learned of the cameras, which were hidden in smoke detectors, in recent weeks and soon filed their complaint.
Once the NFL received the complaint, it reportedly concluded the Jets have broken no rules and no further action is needed. The league claimed that the cameras have been in the locker room since 2008, when the team relocated its practice facility and that players were aware of them. The fact that players are complaining to their union now would indicate otherwise.
Jets players not happy about cameras
Per ESPN, the cameras function only for security purposes. Footage is reportedly retained on a 30-day rolling schedule and is only accessed by members of the team’s security department on an as-needed basis (i.e. reports of theft in the locker room).
It appears at least some players were aware of the cameras at one point, as ESPN reported there have been instances of players requesting help from security when valuables have gone missing.
However, when the Daily News asked current and former Jets players going back to 2018, all of them reportedly said they were unaware of the locker room cameras, were not informed by team officials of their presence and did not consent to be videotaped.
From the Daily News:
“I’m pissed,” one former player said. “That’s our space. Why would you have a camera in there? That’s bullsh---.”
Two out of four players contacted by ESPN reportedly said they knew of the cameras only because of investigations into missing valuables.
What the CBA says about locker room cameras
Here’s what the Daily News had to report about the legality of the Jets’ locker room cameras in the NFL’s CBA:
The NFL and NFLPA agreed to stricter COVID-19 protocols last month to ensure that team personnel adhered to safety measures to reduce the risk of infections. Additional video surveillance was implemented in common/public areas at team facilities. The use and placement of cameras at team facilities was a bargained addendum between the league and union.
However, there is no provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement about placing cameras in private areas like the locker room or showers/bathroom. It’s highly unlikely that the union would sign off on cameras or audio devices in those areas for myriad reasons.
The union reportedly intends to have the cameras removed, be it through the CBA or New Jersey privacy laws.
Even if the Jets are able to win on both fronts, you really have to wonder if “we need to videotape players who don’t want to be videotaped” is a battle the team really wants to publicly fight, especially with the current discontent around head coach Adam Gase.
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