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Memo to NFL Owners and Players: ENOUGH ALREADY!

Posted on July 22, 2011 by Dean Hybl

The owners announced that an agreement had been reached in the NFL labor talks, but evidently the players didn't quite agree.

The general consensus during the five month long NFL lockout has been that if the two sides end up with a deal that doesn’t result in the loss of games, then there will be no lingering side effects and the two sides can go back to playing football and counting their billions in revenue.

After the shenanigans on both sides over the last 24 hours, that may have changed, at least for the short term.

We have been continuously told over the last week or more that the financial framework of a new deal had been agreed upon and the two sides and their lawyers were now just finalizing other secondary aspects of the deal.

The timeline consistently being presented through the media was that the players’ representatives (no longer known as a union) would vote on the agreement early in the week and the owners were to meet and agree on July 21st.

Then suddenly things started to get bogged down and pushed back.

Finally, on Thursday the owners met as expected and approved the agreement. Expectation originally was that the players would be doing the same thing, but that soon changed.

It still isn’t clear exactly what, if anything, is a real issue hanging up the final end to an off-season that no fan wants to ever again endure. However, it is starting to appear that egos and a last chance of one-upmanship is the reason that a final agreement hasn’t yet been approved by the players.

Who is to Blame that there still isn't a new CBA in the NFL?

  • Players (75%, 3 Votes)
  • Owners (25%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

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Determined to stick to their own timetable, the owners met for their planned meeting Thursday even though a final deal may or may not have been agreed to (some owners say they had a handshake deal while the players association denies that). They ratified the agreement 31-0 with an abstention from the Oakland Raiders and at a press conference Roger Goodell declared that assuming ratification from the players, the doors to facilities would open on Saturday and training camps would start next week.

It was the news everyone had been waiting for, but no sooner had Goodell gotten those words out of his mouth that some of the players started taking to Twitter to claim a foul.

They say the owners had agreed to a final agreement that they had not yet seen.

DeMaurice Smith has nice hats, but it is time to see less of him and his hats and more of the NFL players in uniform.

In fact, their meeting later on Thursday night that originally seemed to have been designed as the final blessing of the agreement apparently turned into a two-hour “bitch session” where players expressed their frustration with being disrespected by the owners. They evidently didn’t like the timeliness of when they received information and also that the owners seemed to be trying to dictate how the union should re-certify once the lockout ends.

Given all the moving parts and huge egos on both sides, there is no way of knowing what has really taken place and whether the owners are trying to push the players into a final deal before they have finished bargaining or if the players are just balking for a few more days without training camp in the hot summer sun.

Regardless, I think I speak for all the fans of the NFL in saying that enough is enough and both sides need to put away their egos and finish this process with mutual respect and in a professional manner.

Because, at the end of the day the two sides are splitting more than $9 billion in annual revenue with an expectation that it could be more than $15 billion per year by the end of the contract in 2020.

This is not a teacher’s union fighting to keep cost-of-living raises and health benefits. Both sides are working with an abundance of riches that in and of itself is not going to create any sympathy from the American public.

So, with every day that the two sides continue to go without an agreement, the level of frustration amongst the fan base gets higher.

After a spring and summer where the bulk of the football talk has been about the CBA, fans are ready for a diversion from their real lives and are ready for some football.

In the long-term, the original premise that without losing games (especially regular season games) all will eventually be forgotten is probably still true, but neither side is winning points with fans by showing in the final hours that they really haven’t changed their ways.

Fortunately for the fans, this agreement should last for the next decade (though it is reported the players want a chance to opt-out after seven years), so we won’t have to deal with this again for quite a while.

Yes, I know the NBA is in a lockout, but most folks don’t care about the NBA until after football season is over, so they have six months before anyone is really going to care if they have an agreement.

Hopefully it will just be hours, instead of days before we can get back to paying attention to the game on the field instead of the games in the board room.


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