Although NFLPA Executive Director De Smith chose to talk to the 2009 incoming class of rookies not about the status of the Collective Bargaining Agreement but about Shakespeare and Nicholas Sarkozy, we’re told that at least one of the other guys who spoke at the Rookie Symposium addressed the issue of labor unrest.
Per a league source, Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch warned the new players that there’s a “100 percent” chance of a league-imposed lockout in 2011.
We continue to think there’s a chance (albeit less than 100 percent) that the owners are bluffing about their intention to prevent the players from working once the current CBA expires.
If it’s a bluff, it’s apparently working.
We think it’s a bluff in part because of the reality that, unlike the strike years of 1987 and 1982, more than a few owners are carrying significant amounts of debt. Shutting down the games will make it very difficult to make ends meet, especially if the economy hasn’t recovered significantly within the next two years.
Meanwhile, Adam Schefter (technically of NFL Network but soon-to-be member of that mom-and-pop operation known as ESPN) writes at his brand-new Twitter page that talks on a new CBA will heat up after July 4.
“NFL planning to visit and educate its teams,” Schefter says. “Caution will be preached.”
In other words, “The bluff is working. Here’s how to keep it up.”
And so for the first time as an official member of the NBC family, I can proclaim with confidence . . . “That’s what she said.”
UPDATE: Said one league source in response to this story, “Charlie Batch should have been locked out ten years ago because he stinks.”