The NFL Players Association is filing a grievance against the NFL and the Carolina Panthers for the hardness of the synthetic turf at Bank of America Stadium in the Dec. 24 game between the Panthers and Detroit Lions, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Sunday.
The NFLPA complained before the game about the field conditions in the coldest home game in Panthers history. The NFLPA wanted a delay before the game to address the issue and a delay during the game after it started at the scheduled 1 p.m. ET time, the source said.
The conditions improved as the game went on, and by halftime they had normalized, the source said.
Nevertheless, the NFLPA will take the stance that the hardness of the field when the game began violated the protocols in the collective bargaining agreement, the source said. An NFL official told Schefter, however, that no one from the union raised delaying or postponing the game.
“I thought the field conditions were below NFL-level standard,” Lions quarterback Jared Goff said after the game. “Specifically pregame. I know it warmed up a little as the game went on. I don’t know what the deal is here, but they need to figure out a way to make the turf not feel like cement.”
Panthers owner David Tepper installed field turf before the 2021 season in anticipation of more games with the arrival of his professional soccer team that shares the stadium with the Panthers. He also wanted to make it a multiuse facility that could host concerts.
Several Carolina players have complained about the surface, most notably linebacker Shaq Thompson.
Several players have suggested the turf was responsible for injuries.
“It’s probably going to take all of us to stop going to practice until we get grass,” Thompson said. “I mean, they make enough money off of us to maintain grass. I hate to say this, but with our last owner [Jerry Richardson], we had grass. … Listen to your players. We want grass.”
Team officials had no comment, noting the complaint hasn’t officially been filed.