The NFLPA has reportedly filed a grievance against the New England Patriots for not allowing Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler to practice during voluntary OTAs, according to ESPN’s sources.

NFLPA Files Complaint Against Patriots

During the Pats’ OTAs many people were wondering, where was Malcolm Butler? The Super Bowl hero, who intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass to seal New England’s victory, was mysteriously missing from the field. Something that was only emphasized by the media’s coverage of the team’s defensive back situation: this year, with the departure of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, the starting roles are up for grabs.

Apparently, Malcolm Butler’s flight was canceled due to inclement weather and he showed up to voluntary OTAs a day late. As a result, Bill Belichick benched the defensive back for over a week. So the NFLPA has decided to file a complaint against the Pats, but have done so without the approval of Butler, who just wanted to move forward from the incident.

Still, the grievance is happening with or without him, as the complaint was filed to the NFL Management Council. And the NFLPA  demanded “all video tape, any other recorded evidence and documentation that would include the team’s player attendance and participation lists” be released by July 1.

As for their argument, the union used Article 21 of the CBA as the basis for their complaint, according to ESPN’s sources. This article states that a player cannot receive “adverse consequences affecting his working conditions” if he missed a voluntary practice. And if he does, then that goes against the very literal definition of the word voluntary.

Belichick’s policy is that all players should plan accordingly for weather. It is a factor in New England and therefore his athletes should get in at least two days before the first day of practice. Therefore, a cancelled flight is not a proper excuse. Still, Butler was allowed to workout at the team’s facility and participate in playbook sessions during his suspension.

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