Because both sides could not agree on a new CBA, the NFLPA decided to decertify. By taking this nuclear approach, the players have forced the hands of the owners. Instead of negotiating, the process heads for the courts. And based on what was said yesterday, clearly, there is a deep divide between the League and the NFLPA. Unfortunately, with a federal negotiator present for about two weeks, the owners and players cannot find common ground. This is very disconcerting. Here are some takeaways from Black Friday:
1. Both sides do not care about the fans. I resent hearing sanctimonious comments made about the fans. NFL omissioner Roger Goodell's letter to the fans is a complete travesty. Here is his ribald note. His closing sentence is pathetic. First and foremost it is your passion for the game that drives us all, and we will not lose sight of this as we continue to work for a deal that works for everyone. Money is what drives you! Roger.
2. Both press conferences were a badly acted situation comedy. Goodell came across as an impotent leader. For a man in charge of a 9 billion dollar enterprise, his inability to close a deal with players proves he is incompetent. Anything that comes out of his mouth is bull bleep. Your 18 game season sales pitch was a complete sham too. According to Goodell, the fans wanted this. Perhaps the fans who he talks to wanted this ludicrous idea. Former NFL Commissioner Peter Rozelle must be rolling in his grave. How in the world can Goodell screw this up? Speaking of screw-ups, a decision was made to have phony Panthers owner Jerry Richardson say a few conciliatory words. This was completely staged and scripted. Recall, during a negotiating meeting with players, Richardson allegedly made inflammatory remarks to Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. Things got worse when Giants co-owner John Mara decided to open his mouth.
“I’ve been here for the better part of two weeks now, and essentially during that two-week period the union’s position on the core economic issues has not changed one iota,” said the Giants president John Mara, a nearly constant presence in the negotiation process. “Their position has quite literally been ‘take it or leave it,’ and in effect they have been at the same position since last September.
“One thing that became painfully apparent to me during this period was that their objective was to go the litigation route,” he said. “I believe they think it gives them the best leverage. I never really got the feeling in the past weeks that they were serious about negotiating.”
Mara: you cannot be serious. The way he has shafted his fan base with the PSL garbage. He is doing the same thing to the NFLPA. Again, with Mara it is all about the money.
3. NFLPA's executive director DeMaurice Smith's pious plea about apologizing to the fans is ridiculous too. Like the owners, the players do not care about the fans. Additionally, Smith was clever about slamming the owners for opting out of a CBA which was good for the NFL. And the last CBA was very fruitful for the players. So why should the players concede anything here? Nevertheless, Smith has been adept at handling the Billion dollar buffoons. As of last week, the players received a major victory from Federal Judge David Doty. Doty ruled in favor of the players over the 4 billion dollar television revenue package also known as lockout insurance. This ruling stripped the owners of any leverage.
So where do we go from here?
Besides desertification of their union, the players filed an antitrust suit against the NFL. Subsequently, the NFL will lockout the players. Then, the NFL antitrust exemption is going to be challenged by the players. With congressional involvement, the owners could be ordered to open up their books. Without their 4 billion dollar nest egg and possible embarrassment by having to divulge sensitive financial information, the owners appear to be in a corner. Nonetheless, we are going to hear more press conferences replete with negativism. Look for this impasse to be played out over the next few months.