I think we all realize that the NFL at some point will be back in operation. The question is: when? Tom Benson seems optimistic that the “Owners and Players will work out problems”. Again, I don’t think anyone doubts that eventually a resolution will come. As the lockout progresses and we come closer to actual games being missed, though, where player’s game checks are lost – then things will only get testier. The NFL and the owners seem to be using player division as a possible ploy, and eventually you have to believe that will work. While the players have shown a unified front so far, the prospect of missing games could change things. Guys like Jeff Saturday, Drew Brees, Brian Dawkins and other team reps can afford to miss a couple game checks… but other players lower on the salary totem pole cannot. The closer the threat of them not receiving pay, the more they’ll be pressing the higher ups to make a deal.
I had the opportunity to sit in on a press conference with DeMaurice Smith, head of the recently decertified player’s union, and Takeo Spikes. A few things of note that I took from that call:
– DeMaurice Smith said “does that sound like good faith negotiating to you?” more times than I care to remember. That’s in response to the owners making a statement that they made an offer in good faith. The disconnect, Smith reiterated, is essentially that the owners are asking for more money but are unwilling to share the reasons why they need the financial boost by opening up their books. Simply put, the players don’t trust the owners.
– DeMaurice Smith also said “Roger Goodell said more in the letter he sent to the players than he ever said in the entire time we were negotiating during labor talks – and you can quote me on that”.
– Takeo Spikes was asked if missing games was a possibility. His response was actually scary: “I honestly don’t know. That’s a question for the owners. I will say we’re so far apart right now I have a hard time seeing a deal happening anytime soon”.
These quotes are slightly paraphrased but you get the idea. For the first time since this whole ordeal started, I’m starting to think games being missed is the only thing that will eventually make one side break into making concessions. I honestly wonder if a deal can be reached prior to that happening.
Do you think a deal will happen before games are missed?