The NFL and its union are in Atlanta today to discuss the Collective Bargaining Agreement for the first time in months.Seems like a good time to review where we stand in this never test of wills.
- The union reportedly filed a collusion lawsuit last week. The charge is that teams conspired to not sign free agent before 2010’s uncapped year
- NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith also requested in Occupational Safety and Health Administration documentation on “workplace injuries” from every team. Employers are required by federal law to turn over this information if asked.
- We’re still waiting on a special master to decide if the NFL has to give back its “lockout insurance,” the billions of dollars that TV network will pay to the league even if there are no games.
- The union has declared today “Let Us Play” Day, asking players and fans to turn over their social media (Twitter and Facebook statuses) to help “Block the Lockout.” Because nothing sways hard-nosed labour negotiators like a hashtag.
- About 30 players and their families will be on Capitol Hill this week, wooing Congress members to their side in that hopes that should the government intervene, it will do so in support of the players.
As we said, there have been no meaningful negotiations in months and the rhetoric between the players and the league is starting to turn ugly. The union has been so adamant about preparing for the disaster of a lockout, that they almost seem eager for it to happen.
Meanwhile, the owners know they can absorb the financial hit for far longer than the players can and are willing to give up a few weeks of to break the union.
On the bright side, there’s no need to panic yet. The next three weeks are the NFL’s biggest, especially in terms of exposure, so now is the time for both sides to get their bottom line case heard by everyone. There’s no reason to budge until the Super Bowl ends, which still leaves them one month until the CBA expires and another month before the draft (when the real trouble starts.) Until then, it doesn’t hurt anyone to shout and call names.
The next three weeks will be nasty, for sure. But once the glow of the Big Game has faded, that’s when the real work begins.
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