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Union tells players that “internal deadline” for reaching new labor deal has expired

DeMaurice Smith

One of the reasons for the lack of a new labor deal has arisen from the absence of a clear, natural deadline for getting a deal done.  As we’ve been saying for two years now, neither side will begin to move toward a bottom-line negotiating position until a natural deadline emerges.  And while some think that the natural deadline comes from the expiration of the current labor deal in early March, others think that there’s a loose date in July or August, which if a deal happens would allow enough time for training camp and other preparations for Week One.

In bargaining, if one side approaches its bottom line too far before the moment that the proverbial clock strikes 12, that side could end up being compelled to move below its bottom line when the bell begins to ring.

But while the two sides have been unwilling to fashion an artificial deadline in the hopes of doing a deal sooner rather than later, the NFLPA has told its players in a letter from executive director DeMaurice Smith that the union developed an “internal deadline” for getting a deal done, and that the deadline has passed.

According to the Associated Press, the union consequently has advised the players to prepare for a lockout, and to commence that process by saving their final three game checks of the 2010 season.

In our view, it’s more of the same meaningless posturing aimed either at getting the public on the players’ side, or at getting the players to take the threat of a lockout seriously, so that the NFL won’t assume that the players will cave in and take the best deal after missing a game check or two.

And the tactic once again ignores the fact that the NFLPA has lined up authority from every player on every team (indeed, we’re unaware of a single “no” vote) to decertify the union and essentially block a lockout.  Eight days ago, NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said in an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show that the union prefers to negotiate a deal over a strategy that the NFL dismissively calls “going out of business.”  (The fact that the NFL has come up with a derisive name for the move confirms its potential effectiveness.)

So whether it’s the union telling players to save their money in the event of a lockout or the league telling fans they’ll get their money back if a lockout happens, these exchanges won’t get a deal done.  Only bargaining will make it happen, and while the union has committed on multiple occasions to participating in intensive, “lock-in” negotiations in December, the NFL continues to dance around accepting that offer unequivocally.

While we’ve been pushing both sides to do it, the fact remains that it will be difficult to forge a consensus without a natural deadline, especially in light of the acrimony that currently exists between the two parties.

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30 Responses to “Union tells players that “internal deadline” for reaching new labor deal has expired”
  1. blackcatnfl says: Dec 4, 2010 1:12 PM

    I think the fining of defensive lineman this season has all but guaranteed a season lockout. Enough players are pissed off that nothing will get settled.

  2. redskinsince87iegee says: Dec 4, 2010 1:19 PM

    They have to start letting them celebrate too. Or at least not draw a flag on the play costing the team yards. Ridiculous.

  3. 1bottomline says: Dec 4, 2010 1:30 PM

    The deadline is the date of expiration of the contract. They can make all the self-imposed deadlines they want(both sides), but the expiration is the deadline. I can’t understand why your mind can’t wrap around that this is what Unions do. They always have a “sky is falling” mentality and try to conjure up support with these tactics. I’m a member of a Union and this is all normal. They don’t need to tip their hand any more than the League has to in reference to what has or is being agreed upon for the next contract until they ‘shake’ on it. They can waft smoke as the League will, but you won’t know if the fire is starting or finishing until both sides come to terms. This is how it works. Neither side owes any information to the public other than to drum up support for their side. Stop wishing to be the exception.

  4. Florio's Lawyer says: Dec 4, 2010 1:34 PM

    “In our view, it’s more of the same meaningless posturing aimed … at getting the players to take the threat of a lockout seriously”

    What’s meaningless about that?
    Sounds to me like it’s not only a possibility at this point, but damned likely.

  5. j0esixpack says: Dec 4, 2010 1:34 PM

    What’s the point of announcing a deadline once it’s passed?

    It’s like Dean Wermer putting Delta House on Double Secret Probation

  6. Florio's Lawyer says: Dec 4, 2010 1:35 PM

    2010.
    The year the NFL died.

  7. redskinsince87iegee says: Dec 4, 2010 1:46 PM

    It’s bc favre is retiring.. It’s only right to have the season suspended for a year in remembrance.

  8. bluvayner says: Dec 4, 2010 1:49 PM

    Internal deadline?………..what does that even mean? The current deal doesn’t expire until March.

  9. nomesayin says: Dec 4, 2010 1:51 PM

    Save 3 game checks to last you for the whole lockout. lol. I can picture the faces of some of the spoiled, high maintenance WAGS right now.

  10. socojava says: Dec 4, 2010 1:52 PM

    There isn’t going to be a lockout. Trust me.

  11. thesmartest1 says: Dec 4, 2010 2:18 PM

    UPS is the only union worth a damn.

  12. johntonioholmes says: Dec 4, 2010 2:19 PM

    I hope the league locks itself out until Goodell gets fired.

    I can’t excuse the ownership, but the fact that Goodell is fining players for tackling too hard because he wants to facilitate an 18 game season is inexcusable. He the NFL’s biggest enemy.

  13. juancorsair says: Dec 4, 2010 2:26 PM

    Florio’s Lawyer says:

    2010.
    The year the NFL died.

    It is appearing more and more like the “Day the NFL Died” was the day Gutless Goodell took over as Commissioner!

  14. broncsfan says: Dec 4, 2010 2:49 PM

    I wonder how season ticket renewal/sales will go from here on out. I’d assume the teams will begin bombarding their fans early (if they haven’t already) so they don’t have to go hat-in-hand when the season’s over and the impending lockout starts to dominate what proves to be a mind-numbingly repetitive post-season sports cycle.

    Hopefully most fans will stand pat so the owners start to get a tangible taste of what’s to come and stop acting like they hold all the cards.

  15. canadianvikingfaniii says: Dec 4, 2010 2:53 PM

    What a bunch of douche bags running the NFL and the Union.

  16. hail2tharedskins says: Dec 4, 2010 3:11 PM

    Socojava is absolutely correct there will be no lockout. There are two key factors in why there would be no lockout, first the league could impose work rules on the players with terms acceptable to them absent a CBA instead of locking them out; and second the union has already taken a desertification vote which means even if the owners wanted to lock the players out the union can block by de-certifying and there would be no union to lockout.

    Considering that union knows it can block any lockout, unless this memo is all PR posturing, the only strategic value it has in advising players to hold onto game checks in case there is no football next year is if THE UNION IS PLANNING TO STRIKE! Maybe the union realizes that it isn’t going to get the deal it wants and also isn’t getting the political support it was hoping for, so maybe they are starting think about a strike – of course they will continue to call it a lockout for now as if they mention the word strike all the PR and political pressure would rain down on them! But even if the NFLPA leadership is contemplating a strike threat, I doubt they could get the membership to actually vote to approve one.

  17. hail2tharedskins says: Dec 4, 2010 3:15 PM

    Florio,

    As a member of the media you need to call the union on its BS and put it out there that if there is no football next year that it would be entirely in the hands of the union! Since the union already has membership approval to decert and thwart any lookout by the owners – the only way no football is played is if the union strikes or plays a PR game and sits by and allows the owners to lockout the players all the while they know they already have the means to stop it!

  18. ronedde says: Dec 4, 2010 3:23 PM

    I readily acknowledge that there are some idiots on both sides of this situation. That said, however, the players are either going to come to the obvious realization that they do NOT call the shots in management vs labor disputes, or they will be out on the street watching people who accept their roles as employees playing football in 2011.

    Labor is delusional when they try to position themselves as an equal “partner” in business with ownership. It isn’t. They are about to have their arses handed to them, and I say its about time. The players are greedy and ungrateful for having a job that pays them in 3-5 years what an average person might make in a lifetime.

  19. frostymugobeer says: Dec 4, 2010 3:47 PM

    i can’t imagine how many “reality shows” would spring forth from a lock out.
    this sunday on fox…….
    “on the farm with favre”
    “cromarti’s kids”
    “in the kitchen with cutler”

    something has got to be done,before it’s too late !!!!!

  20. tommytd says: Dec 4, 2010 4:02 PM

    Shut the whole damn thing down, can that useless commissioner and start over…he’s bad for the game

  21. vikesfansteve says: Dec 4, 2010 4:54 PM

    Dumbest move ever hiring Demaurice Smith. The guy has no capability to think out of the box & compromise. Greed.

    Haven’t the players learned yet what the owners already know. The fans do not cheer for the individual players, they cheer for the team. The owners will not give the players what they want. They will just replace them if push comes to shove.

  22. domeunit says: Dec 4, 2010 5:13 PM

    I wish Smith was never involved with all of this in the first place. He is an absolute moron and all he ever talks about is how the “lockout’s coming”…how about doing your job? I would kind of enjoy the idea of watching football next year

  23. WingT says: Dec 4, 2010 5:44 PM

    The NFLPA continues to beat the S#$t out of the owners in these negotiations.

    The NFLPA tried to save next season by offerring to extend the current deal another year – the owners said no.

    The NFLPA set a dealing to get a deal done – sounds like they are much more interested in getting a deal than the owners.

    Open up the books owners and show us the losses , otherwise get prepared to shut your doors.

  24. rscalzo says: Dec 4, 2010 7:22 PM

    Who cares. They are overpaid crybabies. Lock them out.

  25. SteelTown6 says: Dec 4, 2010 8:24 PM

    #juancorsair says: Dec 4, 2010 2:26 PM

    “It is appearing more and more like the “Day the NFL Died” was the day Gutless Goodell took over as Commissioner!”

    What I don’t understand if why the owner’s are tolerating this jerk, after all, he works for them.
    They hired him, they can sure as hell fire him.

  26. patfan1951 says: Dec 4, 2010 8:46 PM

    No football…….no money……..for anybody. The owners and the players have a lot at stake here……a lot of money. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why the players risk serious injuries to play the game. That’s why the owners build huge, expensive stadiums and pay enormous salaries to get and keep the best players. People pay a month’s wages for tickets, parking, beer, food, and souvenirs to freeze their asses off in a stadium a thousand miles from the action just to say they were there.
    Baseball had a strike several years ago but it didn’t last long and neither will any stoppage of play in the NFL whether a lockout or a strike.

  27. john601 says: Dec 4, 2010 9:37 PM

    With the kind of money these player reps are demanding for these so-so players who aren’t even as good as college and show no effort the gate should be locked for a year and ALL money revoked under failure to perform clause
    There is no one worth more than 3 mil/yr including medical. But if it is to be done right then the owners must sell tickets at $7 to $100
    max. and sell advertising at greatly reduced raes as well. Maybe then the game will return back to what it is “A GAME OF SPORT” and not a business more interested in investments and priveledge.

  28. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says: Dec 4, 2010 10:19 PM

    Walkout, lockout, strike? Not going to happen.

    James Harrison has two kids whose college fund may be affected.

  29. 1historian says: Dec 5, 2010 8:55 AM

    It’s ALL about the money. I am an old fart and I can remember when the players used to have to take off-season jobs to get through the rest of the year. I can also remember the fact that in its early years the NFL was supported by people who really cared about them and the feeling was mutual.
    Then came the big money and the big money took over and the fans who helped build the whole thing were gradually squeezed out. Charging someone (whose family has held season tickets for three generations) a few thousand dollars for a ‘personal seat license’ – IOW the right to buy a season ticket – is just their way of saying thank you.

    The players don’t care about the fans, and the owners don”t care about the fans. The fact that both groups think we – the money-paying public – are all too stupid to figure that out is proof positive of my statement.

  30. tommytd says: Dec 5, 2010 2:33 PM

    Keep knocking #4 on his ass and if he wants to keep his streak alive, they can wheel him out on a gurney. He’s a moron!

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