Given the recent squabbles between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, any progress in labor talks is good news.
And, on Tuesday, the two sides apparently made some progress. In a banker’s hours session that wrapped long enough before 4:00 p.m. ET to permit the issuance of a press release by the NFLPA, the parties discussed “some non-core CBA issues.”
In other words, they talked about issues that the league and the union regard as unimportant. For example, the current CBA prohibits teams or the league from disciplining players for hair length. The league has, at times, shown some interest in preventing the Samson/Gene Simmons look that several players are sporting. So that’s one issue that, if it was addressed, would be regarded as “non-core.” (And, of course, 12.6 percent of you will interpret this paragraph as an affirmative report that hair length was discussed. And two of you will leave a smartass comment along the lines of, “So they discussed hair length?”)
The NFLPA described the meeting as “good.”
Perhaps more importantly, the statement released by the union closes with an indication that another meeting will be held ”in the coming weeks” during which the union “will respond to the league’s non-economic proposals.”
This implies that the league has presented the union with a list of things the league wants to see in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement unrelated to player compensation. Despite the fact that the broader talks are expected to focus on money, there’s a lingering sense that the union snookered the league in 2006 at a time when the owners were focused only on the 59-plus cents on the dollar that is paid to the players and the issue of revenue sharing. As we heard it at the time, the league paid little or no attention to non-economic terms contained in the union’s take-it-or-leave-it proposal.
This time around, the league might want to recapture some of the ground that previously was lost.
Regardless, they’re at least talking, which is good. And hopefully the next meeting set loosely for “the coming weeks” will come before the first snowflake flies over FedEx Field.