Light talks union issues, fines

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots offense tackle and team players union representative Matt Light spoke to reporters in the locker room on Thursday, in advance of a Thursday visit by NFLPA executive director De Smith.

“Anytime you have the leadership here and in place, they’re here to deliver a message, to let the guys know what they’re thinking, what we’re all thinking, what we need to be planning for, what we need to do,” Light said. “It should be very informative, and that’s their job, to inform guys of the upcoming battle and what to expect, so I think a lot of these guys have been waiting for this for a while.”

Patriots players will vote today to decertify the union as part of the process leading to the expiration of the NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement after this season.

Light also expressed his concern on the increasing amount of fines involving on-field contact rules.

Fairness is a concern. You have to make sure that these things are fair, that they’re measureable, that you can judge them, that it’s not just one person’s opinion. You have to be able to measure these things up against something else and I think that’s the biggest concern,” he said. “At the end of the day player safety is another huge concern. It’s a fine line, and I’m sure that they’ll find a system that will work the best.”

He also noted the difference between fines stemming from the drug policy, which are not deducted from the player’s paycheck until the appeal process is completed, and fines from on-field incidents, which are immediately taken from the player’s pay.

“You can’t take a guy’s money before he’s been found guilty, or had a chance to appeal a decision that’s been made,” he said. “It should be the same process [as the drug policy] for what happens on the field, and it’s just not right now. So there are definitely things we have to work on.”