With the NFL and the players union getting together for a tenth bargaining session on Monday, January 11 (per Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal), it remains to be seen whether these meetings are generating any progress — or whether the two sides are merely trading jabs and/or playing Madden.
All indications have been that things aren’t going well, and the union’s recent decision to leak to the media an internal memo that sounds the alarm to the rank and file suggests that the NFLPA is having a hard time getting the players to care about the situation.
And while the union hopes to win the P.R. battle by creating the impression that they’re trying their best to work toward an agreement as the NFL drags its feet, it would be interesting to know whether NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith actually has been attending the bargaining sessions.
We have reason to think that maybe he hasn’t been showing up, which would tend to undermine the notion that shirtsleeves have been rolled above the elbow and that all efforts have failed to get the league to behave reasonably.
UPDATE: A source with knowledge of the situation tells us that Smith attended the most recent session, and the source confirmed that Smith has missed at least one. The source contends that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has missed more of the negotiation meetings than Smith. Regardless of whether that’s accurate, the men leading the two sides of this effort need to be present at every meeting, or it will be harder to get a deal done.