In recent weeks, numerous players and coaches have called for safer playing fields. This week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tried to pooh-pooh those concerns — and he found immediate support from NFL-backed statistics that, as always, can be twisted to support nearly any given premise.

The NFL Players Association has responded, accusing the “NFL PR machine [of going] into overdrive to spin a more favorable narrative to what the union and players know is a problem.”

NFLPA president JC Tretter, in a followup to his September 2020 column calling for all grass fields, has more specific requests this time around. In a new item posted at the union’s official website, Tretter requests: (1) the immediate replacement and ban of all slit-film turf; (2) no longer allowing games to be played on fields with “clear visual abnormalities”; (3) the raising of the field standards and testing the safety and performance of all surfaces; (4) the clearing the excess people and dangerous equipment from the sidelines.

Tretter explains, as to the first item, that “slit-film” playing surfaces have “higher in-game injury rates” compared to all other surfaces for non-contact injuries, missed time injuries, lower extremity injuries, and foot/ankle injuries. He said that the union wrote a letter this week to the NFL “demanding the immediate removal” of those surfaces.