I've grown the most disinterested in the NFL that I can remember in my lifetime, due to the NFL Lockout. I'm severly jaded as is, which comes with being able to see how teams are run, etc. from the media side of things. However, all of this lockout garbage and public posturing is pushing me towards the edge. I don't have the motivation to write about anything. Occasionally I'll spark up a Blaine Gabbert and David Garrard debate because it's entertaining to debate about it, but in reality it's fruitless. Until mid-July, there is going to be nothing but legal jargon surrounding the NFL that 90% of the fans aren't going to understand or care about.
Queue the newest public relations garbage from the NFL, written by John Mara. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of this disingenuous public finger pointing on both sides, when both sides are at fault.
I'll be clear up front: We're in the mess we are in right now because of the owners. That's the honest truth and if you want to blame the players at all, it's simply misguided. The owners voted 30-2 to agree to a CBA they knew wasn't sustainable. They even put in provisions so they could opt out of it if it were as bad as they imagined, and they did. They opted out, waited until the final season the CBA covered and then chose to negotiate in a hollow fashion and locked the players out. That sparked the legal mumbo-jumbo we're in right now.
Titling your piece "Let's Get Back to Football" is akin to me stealing someones basketball, and asking why they're not practing their jump shot. You took it away. You refuse to negotiate, genuinely. Don't tell me "Let's get back to football," when you're sitting on your hands making idle comments about wanting to negotiate when you've had plenty of time to negotiate, but only do it when it's court ordered.
Now, onto the last PR stint from the owners...
There was no reason for the situation to come to this. The NFL's business model needs to be fixed. Of that, there is no doubt. The 2006 collective bargaining agreement was not balanced. Players have readily acknowledged they "got a great deal." Then the economy went south, adding to the problem. A fair adjustment must be negotiated in a new CBA.
Hey John Mara... you knew the deal was bad, yet you voted for it. Citing the "economy went south" is ridiculous. That economy didn't stop you from going in on a multi-million dollar stadium, did it? That economy didn't stop the NFL from once again, making record profit, did it?
Instead, the NFL Players Association walked away from mediation. It put a litigation strategy in play and filed a lawsuit declaring virtually all league rules relating to player employment as being violations of antitrust law. The union said many times it had no plans to dismantle the core elements of the collectively bargained system that has been in place since 1993.
Right, the NFLPA walked away from negotiations... on the last day possible of negotiations... after it had been extended, twice. Why did the NFL wait until the final day of negotiations to make an offer? Was it just coincidence that the NFL waiting until the last possible moment to present the NFLPA with a CBA proposal, that they'd have to either accept or decertify, considering the decertification deadline was a mere few hours after your proposal? You expect me to believe that wasn't a calculated plan... ?
The NFLPA lawyers want to wipe away fundamental elements of the NFL's appeal to fans, including the draft, "the Salary Cap, ‘franchise player' designation, ‘transition player' designation, and/or other player restrictions," according to their lawsuit.
This strategy is no doubt designed to gain economic leverage in negotiations.
What in the hell do you call locking the players out, then? Don't complain about a side trying to gain economic leverage when the courts ruled that you, the owners, negotiated a television deal in bad faith. What do you call that? Not a strategy designed to gain economic leverage in negotiations you knew were on the horizon for years?
The solution lies at the bargaining table. Everyone should realize what is at stake, especially in this economy. Right now, fans are caught in the middle listening to rhetoric and legalese they don't want to hear. That is why, as ownership and players, we must recognize our shared responsibility as stewards of the game to compromise and reach a fair agreement -- one that highly compensates players, protects their health and safety, ensures the on-field competitiveness of 32 teams, helps retired players, and improves the fan experience and fan value. The best way to get there is to let both sides exercise their labor law rights.
Then go to the damn bargaining table. Stop talking about it and do it. While the NFL and the NFLPA both continue their diarrhea of the mouth about how they need to get at the bargaining table, both sides sit idle letting the courts make their decisions for them.