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Why Players Associations Must Continuously Evolve: NFLPA Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs George Atallah

As the PTPA continues its growth, learning from successful decades-old players associations, like the NFLPA (NFL Players Association), is invaluable. As part of its collaboration with fellow players associations, the PTPA has hosted a series of conversations with leaders across sports to explore and demonstrate professional athletes’ need for strong, autonomous player representation.  

In this series’ latest installment, the PTPA sat down with George Atallah, the NFLPA’s Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs, to discuss how the NFLPA has evolved over time, the importance of advocating for players, and more. Watch the full conversation below.

The Importance of Evolving with Player Needs

“Even though we’re more than 65 years old now, we’ve had to take a look every three to five years at ways to refresh our business model.” -George Atallah 

The sports industry is extremely fast-paced and always changing, and the same can be said for the needs of professional athletes. As the game and athletes evolve, so too do players’ needs, challenges and opportunities. Despite being an established players association, the NFLPA is constantly evaluating how it operates to best serve its players, just as the PTPA is doing and will continue to do into the future.

How Players Associations Address New Challenges

“How do we make the next set of advancements in health and safety? What are the working conditions that we need to improve?” -George Atallah 

As new challenges arise, players associations are responsible for proactively engaging with them and coming up with a plan of action to provide necessary solutions, resources and support to players. This is core to the mission of the PTPA, NFLPA, and all players associations.

Why Player Engagement Matters

There is a symbiotic relationship between players associations and the players they represent. For players to maximize their collective power and representation, they need the resources and organization of the PA. For PAs to make positive change and drive impact, they need the support of the players. 

“I think there has to be a rallying cry among the athletes around a few basic fundamental rights.” -George Atallah 

For more exclusive interviews, subscribe to the PTPA’s YouTube channel.