Here's The Question The NFL Players Union Needs To Ask Itself Today

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Photo: By dougtone on Flickr

Sometime today (before the courts close around 5 p.m.), the NFL Players Association has to make a decision.They need to cut a deal with league, make a big concession to keep the labour talks going, or decertify and take their fight to the courts.

But one sports industry lawyer (who appeared on ESPN’s Mike & Mike this morning) says there’s one important factor for NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith to consider before making that choice: Will the deal that the players can get right now, be better than the deal that’s forced on them when they finally go back to work?

If there’s no CBA by this fall and players start missing games and paychecks, the solidarity of the union will be tested. (Made even harder by the fact that decertification technically tends the union.) Fans, agents, the courts, and the players themselves will like put pressure on the union to end the stoppage in any way possible. (The league is counting on it, actually.)

Some kind of deal will eventually be struck — and it may not be in their favour. So are they better off doing it now or later?

The union probably thinks the answer is later. They’ll be counting on the courts to block a lockout. But the NFL knows they will have more leverage once the players start missing game checks. So that’s why we’re at an impasse and a resolution is still months away.

Oh, by the way: The lawyer who raised the question is David Cornwell, who worked for the NFL during one of its work stoppages in the 1980s. He website also touts his campaign to replace DeMaurice Smith as NFLPA executive director, so while he’s probably right, he’s not exactly neutral.

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