On Thursday afternoon, the NFL Players Association issued a brief statement. It was so brief that, without doing additional research, it provides no context or background or, ultimately, helpful information.
Titled “NFLPA Statement on Comments by NFL’s Jeff Pash to ESPN Radio Show,” NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen said this: “The Players will contribute over $800 million to the construction and operation of the Jets/Giants stadium alone. If that is ‘kicking the can,’ then we just sent it 60 yards through the uprights in a headwind.”
The statement apparently comes in response to Pash’s characterization of the league’s and the union’s position as “two different visions,” with the league hoping to make meaningful changes in the hopes of growing the game and the union preferring to keep things the way they are. Pash describes the union as wanting to keep the current deal in place.
“I think when someone says let’s just kick the can down the road for six
years, that kind of complacency and status-quo orientation doesn’t serve
the fans very well,” Pash said.
And so Berthelsen’s point seems to be that the current system has helped pay for some of the new stadiums. The real issue is that the league wants to carve out even more of that same money in support of further growth of the game; the union doesn’t want to reduce its slice of the pie absent hard evidence that the reduction is necessary.
For present purposes, none of that is conveyed via Berthelsen’s statement. It comes off as petty and confusing, and it does nothing to advance the union’s agenda or interests.
That said, we think Pash’s comments misrepresent reality, too. He tried to tie the union’s reluctance to shrink its current cut of the pie to unrelated issues, like hGH testing and a rookie wage scale, in the hopes of persuading fans that the league wants to make the game better, and that the union doesn’t.
So, basically, this red state/blue state vibe will only make it harder for these supposed partners to establish the trust and momentum necessary for getting a deal done.