I am George Atallah, Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs at the NFLPA. In my role, at least today, I will be answering your questions. You can find me on twitter @georgeatallah Ask me anything...


Comments: 219 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

AndrewBrandt230 karma

Do you like girls?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA145 karma

I knew this was coming...

Traveladdict1234118 karma

George, I wanted to ask you about the madden exclusive license. Do you plan to end this soon? The the 9-yr exclusive license ends this year and the fans are sick and tired of not having a choice of picking a nfl game to play. Madden is becoming stale and the community wants 2k sports to have a chance to make video games again. Nfl 2k5 was the best representation of the nfl to this date.... Please make this happen Mr. Atallah. Thanks for your time

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA15 karma

We have an agreement with EA and Madden. I have heard some opinions like yours, but honestly, EA is one of our best partners. I know they hear some of your input as well and work to improve the game every year.

Traveladdict123466 karma

Sorry Mr. Atallah, but I will not purchase another ea nfl licensed game until the consumers are ale to have a choice again. The consumers should be in your best interest sir.

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA95 karma

I'm sorry to hear that. One thing to clarify though, my job and the job of the NFLPA, is to ensure that the players' interests are top priority. I know that might not be the most popular answer, but it's our mission.

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA40 karma

I don't know...please call me George. Changes to the game itself are out of my purview. Players often have input. And my dad is Mr.

NapoleonBonerparts21 karma

Hah, Fair enough. I was more looking for a fan opinion, rather than anything official. I always seem to be the minority when I bring it up. I like the idea as it'd be more easier to convert towards the end of the game, either to attempt a comeback or run out the clock. Thanks for the response!

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA37 karma

I don't have the luxury of having an opinion. I love football and I'm a fan of the game. (Now I sound like the League). I think game changes that would help health and safety issues are worth looking into. We should then stop charging during kneel downs, though.

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA36 karma

Very few NFL Combine like questions. Must not be too many NFL GMs in the room...

cubedG34 karma

How's it going George? Would you mind taking us through your typical day as Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs at the NFLPA?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA81 karma

What's up cubedG...I try to play hoops from 6:30-7:30am when my two daughters allow me to sleep through the night. Morning is usually sorting through emails. Most of the remaining time of the day is spent on plotting ways to make the NFL mad at me.

hoopdreams292825 karma

That's awesome, but no, really... what's it like to work there?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA39 karma

It is truly a great experience. I have the privilege and responsibility of looking out for our union's public interests. We interact with members of the media regularly, provide information about our work to players and try to plan events that help educate our constituents about what we do. Today, I'm here with you at this AMA.

mul4mbo16 karma

You work with the goddamn engineers so we don't have to!

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA47 karma

My uncles are both engineers. And yes, I worry about those that have red staplers.

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA26 karma

Thanks to everyone for joining. I'm signing off. Find me on twitter @georgeatallah I hope to do this again soon and often.

jblah24 karma

Hi Mr. Atallah, Thanks for doing this. My question is do you see the league and/or players association expanding it's efforts to finally put an end to DUIs? I make a fraction of even what the lowest paid players make, yet I can still afford a cab ride home if I've had too much to drink. Isn't it ridiculous that this is still an issue? Thanks again.

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA23 karma

It's a problem, obviously. Players acknowledge it's a problem. I know it's a problem. At this point, the only thing I can tell you is that our executive committee has opened a dialogue with the league on it.

jblah11 karma

Thank you for the response. Follow-up, do you think harsher penalties would be effective?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA22 karma

The truth is I don't know. I know that the NFL thinks they would be more effective. We can't always discipline, or punish, our way to a better or more effective behavior. That goes for on and off the field. Again, nobody wants to see that type of thing happen ever again. We have Player Transportation Link and other educational programs. Obviously, we all need to do more.

Pixelpaws22 karma

What was it like trying to negotiate with the league during the lockout?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA55 karma


xajii21 karma

George, that k you for being here.

What do you think the motivation is for the NFLPA to oppose HGH testing?

Is there ever going to be an agreeable solution to the issue of head trauma? It seems like.even the PA is split on this. In my eyes, players are terrified of losing their jobs and will do stupid things like play with a concussion or attempt to downplay an injury as a result. How do the PA feel they can approach this issue?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA19 karma

Hi xajii...Our motivation is actually to have an hGH test. Players want testing. They also want a fair system in place. I know that, right now, the proposals the players have received from the NFL do not include the same rights as say, MLB does.

On the issue of head trauma, the best answer is that we want the science and data to drive treatment and protocols.

anteros8617 karma

I've noticed this trend with both fans, players, announcers and coaches alike: when the effect of hard hits causes a player to be sidelined, or commit suicide or just not have a normal post-NFL lifestyle, everyone is on the MAKE FOOTBALL SAFER! bandwagon. Yet when we see a game with very... active referees that are calling most of the illegal hits and contacts such as defenseless receivers etc, people yell "let them play!" "this is football! They know what they signed up for!"

My question is, during a neutral time point such as the off season right now, what is the view of the NFLPA towards big hits, injuries and the whole "let them play" aspect. I understand you represent all(most?) NFL players so do you hear anything from the likes of Ed Reed or Dunta Robinson or other notorious big hitters when you pursue a safer sport? Are there players that are opposed to that?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA20 karma

Yes. We like "Let Them Play." We do represent every NFL player. 'Hits' are part of playing football. There are safer techniques that can be taught starting at the Pop Warner level. There are ways to make sure dangerous hits are eliminated from the pro level. But for anyone that has actually been to a game and seen players go full speed, it's hard to regulate some aspects of a collision sport...

aceofshades17 karma

Hello Mr. Atallah, thank you for doing this AMA. My question is in regards to expansions. Are you in favor of moving a team to LA? And as a fan of the Bills, I wondered if you had any opinions on the Toronto series and how it is accepted by both fans and players. Thank you!

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA29 karma

An NFL team in LA? Sure. Only if Kobe plays QB and Dwight Howard is at WR...My wife and her entire family are Bills fans. They obviously like the team to be in Buffalo and stay in Buffalo.

Measure7615 karma

A couple of years in, are the players happy with the bargaining agreement? I'm glad this one means a decade of football with no labor issues, but how is it working out from the NFLPA perspective?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA18 karma

Very good, actually. Players are very happy with the overall economic and non-economic elements of the agreement. We always have issues we need to work on and improve, but it's a very good framework for everyone. And for fans, you don't have to worry about a "work stoppage" anytime soon. I hate that term by the way...

TitanSized13 karma

Hi Mr. Atallah,

Thanks for answering our questions. Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs at the NFLPA is a pretty lengthy title. Do you mind describing what kind of work you do/job description?


GeorgeAtallahNFLPA21 karma

Only if you tell me what is actually TitanSized...

TitanSized31 karma

Bud Adams' incompetence

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA16 karma

(waiting for lightning to strike me)...I think I answered this below. Dealing with members of the media, mostly.

atrollsatan13 karma

I can imagine that the first openly gay NFL player who is a star/starter would be a huge deal. Do you have any kind of plans to deal with possible social media ramifications: for example, an NFL player who spews homophobic abuse towards this gay player? Would the NFL/NFLPA take action to preserve its image, or would this homophobic player be allowed to insult a fellow NFL player?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA15 karma

Of course. I took a lot of heat, if anyone remembers, at the abuse dished out to Jonathan Vilma post-bounty on Twitter. Maybe I didn't express the tweet literally as best as I could, but there is no place for intolerance on any platform. Twitter is awesome, but it does lead to a fair level of stupidity and at times, hate. Specifically as it relates to the potential of an openly gay player, we would be ready to support.

l33tb3rt11 karma

What is the NFLPA's relationship toward other unions, and more generally toward unions in general? Is the NFLPA active in helping promote labor rights beyond the football field? (e.g. letters of support of pro-labor legislation.) Do administrative members of the NFLPA come from a labor background? I ask because it seems like a large disconnect would exist between the membership of the NFLPA and say, the local iron workers.

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA14 karma

We have a great relationship with unions and we have all supported each other in the past couple of years. DeMaurice Smith was just this week at the AFL-CIO executive meetings. We participated in rallies against Hyatt during the Indianapolis Super Bowl, vociferously opposed Right to Work in many states and support the Labor Day efforts of American Rights at Work.

Drunken_Economist11 karma

How proactive are the players at participating in fan outreach? Do they come to you, or do you go to them with ideas?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA16 karma

Very proactive. It's one of the favorite aspects of what we do as an organization. Providing support and resources.

ryanvb10 karma

George - There sure are a lot of contract restructures going on this year. What's the PA's take on that? Also, do see more pressure to increase the cap for 2014, beyond the projections that it will stay mostly flat?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA11 karma

This 'flat cap' narrative is misinformed. Here's a simple equation for those that want to understand basic principles of NFL economics: Revenues go up, the cap goes up. It's not our job, or our business, to get ourselves involved in individual player contract negotiations. We setup the deal for every player to take advantage of their value and worth.

owl_man10 karma

Just remember Mr. Atallah, despite the fact that a good number of people here will respond with snarky responses to you doesn't mean that we don't appreciate the fact that you're doing this. That being said, what exactly is the NFL's relationship with the UFL and the possibility of it becoming a minor league?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA11 karma

This is fun and I like interacting directly with fans. It's a good reminder of how much people care about football. We don't have an official relationship with the UFL. I think the UFL will be hard pressed to rival NCAA football when it comes to a minor leagues. I mean, wasn't an 8th grader offered a scholarship this week?

natedogg898 karma

Thank you for doing this.

Do you feel that the league is taking positive steps to ensure player safety? How do you feel about the new rules that some say protect offensive players and not defensive players?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA10 karma

Yes. I do. We all could still do more. I believe that players understand that there is an inherent physical risk to playing football. Frankly, that's why I never wanted to play it. I don't like getting hit. I also know that in the collective bargaining process, players fought for things to ensure that their own safety was improved. Rule changes, or on-field rules in general, have to be clear and enforced consistently. We work closely with the Referees Association on the latter.

ApolloAbove8 karma

Aha! Your Proof and your Link are one and the same!

...Not quite sure where I was going with that. Welcome to Reddit! Be sure to read up on what NFL players are active Redditors, and beware, we are a snarky bunch!

For my question...What does an Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs actually DO?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA13 karma

Afternoon! Thanks for joining the chat. I can be just as snarky, believe me. Have you seen my tweets to anonymous twitter warriors? Good times. As far as what I do, I think I manage our external affairs: media, social media, fan outreach, some other institutional relationships.

ApolloAbove11 karma

So you're the guy they send to do IAmA's?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA23 karma

My sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, say 'yes.'

liberalsarestupid8 karma

George, my man. Please work on bringing back endzone celebrations. I need some steve-smith-using-a-pylon-as-a-putter action in my life.

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA15 karma

What's up conservativesareawesome? I would like to do a touchdown dance as well. Dancing in the endzone is allowed I believe. Greg Aiello, can you confirm that? I know you're on here... :)

cpredsox7 karma

What are your thoughts on a 19 game regular season? Do you think that will ever come to fruition?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA16 karma


GeorgeAtallahNFLPA7 karma

I've got about 10 minutes peeps...

b24stmode6 karma

I will have a law degree in June, are there any opportunities within the NFLPA for a new attorney who really cares about both sports and labor rights/labor relations? If it helps, I have courses in labor relations, negotiation and bargaining!

If not, I will stick to my original plan of trying out at a regional combine and joining the NFLPA as an undrafted free agent with the Seahawks. Win Forever!

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA6 karma

What's up. We have a link to job opportunities on our website. Check that out as a start.

Safeeyes6 karma

Do you like Hummus?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA11 karma


Mc2sand3s6 karma

Do you think the NFL/NFLPA does enough to grow their market share outside of the United States?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA7 karma

I think we can do more. I've been to NFL London 3 years now and it is a very cool event. I think we have to work together with the League to figure out what we want to do on this front. There are also health and safety considerations to consider.

pinkerbelle6 karma

Why doesn't the NFL pay taxes?

PrettyCoolGuy4 karma

Because it doesn't make a profit. All the profits go to the teams. The teams pay taxes. The NFL just funnels money from TV to the teams and allows the league to negotiate fat TV contracts as a unit.

Edit: it appears that the NFL might make a profit. If that is the case the IRS should do something about it. If no one is making them pay I have a hard time blaming them for non-payment... Take away their 501(c)(6) status.

rab3326 karma

Hi George -- Thanks for doing this. I am curious about NFLPA Shop. Do you think you can compete with NFL Shop?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA7 karma

I think the goal of "ONE TEAM SHOP" is to give every player the opportunity to sell their own officially licensed merchandise. We are very happy that people are interested in apparel (hats, shirts, mugs, cups, sweatshirts) for every NFL player.

superheavyelement5 karma

I was so excited at the prospect of using your app during the Superbowl to see what non-championship players were Tweeting about...but it didn't work! I know you're not working directly on the tech, but any idea when it will be fixed?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA10 karma

Ohhh...I'm on it. Thanks for sending a note on that. I'll fire off an email today.

hoopdreams29285 karma

Name your top 10 favorite memories from working at the NFLPA.

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA11 karma

Wow. In no particular order: My first day on the job. Hugging Kevin Mawae on the field before the Steelers-Titans opener in 2009, My first Super Bowl, the Super Bowl I got to take my dad to, start of the lockout, end of the lockout, the Jeff Saturday and Kraft embrace...will come up with a few more.

RyJones3 karma


GeorgeAtallahNFLPA6 karma

Figuring out this issue of medical care. During our SB press conference, we want to pursue a more in-depth medical credentialing process and also proceed with our medical research ($100M with Harvard).

Closshog3 karma

Hi George, I always wished to hear more about the players that actively represent the NFLPA and are out there pushing for what the players want.

Who doesn't get the credit they deserve in that sense?

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA7 karma

I'd say our reps are just a tremendous group of leaders. Here are the guys that don't get as much credit as they deserve for making tough decisions on behalf of all players; past, present and future: https://www.nflplayers.com/About-us/NFLPA-Officers/NFLPA-Board-of-Player-Reps/

MonkeyStealsPeach2 karma

What do you think is the biggest issue that the NFLPA faces today? Thanks for doing this AMA!

GeorgeAtallahNFLPA5 karma

It is health and safety. So much ground to cover on that issue. It's really amazing how far we've come in recent years both as a union and League, but there's more to do. I know that players are more aware than they've ever been on this issue and it all ties together: workers compensation, concussions, medical care, prescription drugs, drug testing, equipment, field conditions and the list goes on...