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NFLPA files complaint against Pats over Butler penalty

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The NFL Players Association has formally filed a complaint against the New England Patriots for not allowing Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler to participate on the field during the team's first six offseason training activities, NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Thursday.

ESPN first reported the news.

Butler himself has nothing to do with the complaint, per Breer. The NFLPA is allowed to move forward without his consent.

The NFLPA is filing the complaint on the grounds that club officials cannot tell a player that offseason activities are not voluntary, citing the current collective bargaining agreement. Butler was not allowed to participate because he was late to the first offseason training activity due to a cancelled flight, Breer reported earlier this month.

In limited media appearances this summer, Butler has kept quiet about the issue and said only that he hasn't missed a step. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick did not directly address the issue when asked by reporters.

Breer notes that generally the union will ask for materials such as practice attendance and participation records, practice film, and discipline schedules in cases like this to see if there is a pattern and whether more than one player was disciplined.

When contacted by NFL Media on Thursday, the club declined to comment on the matter.

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