In what arguably represents the clearest sign (yet) that the NFL and the NFLPA have not (yet) lost sight of the fact that they are partners and not enemies, the league and the union have reached an agreement on an important issue that could have undermined dramatically the ability of the two sides to work out a labor deal.
“The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to extend the deadline for the players’ to file a collusion claim,” the NFL and the NFLPA said in a statement posted on Twitter and also sent via e-mail to PFT. “This agreement does not prevent the NFLPA from filing a collusion claim at a future date. We are continuing to work toward a new CBA that will be good for players, owners and fans.”
If the relationship between the two sides was as acrimonious as their public comments would suggest, the NFL wouldn’t have agreed to extend the deadline — and the NFLPA wouldn’t have agreed to defer filing the claim. Instead, the two sides came together and realized that it’s in their mutual best interests (and in the interests of the game) to avoid a collusion claim and the damage that would be done by it.
In our view, the union would not have agreed to refrain from unleashing a device aimed at pressuring the NFL to work toward getting a labor deal completed if the union didn’t believe that adequate progress already is being made.
So the next time the NFL and the union start throwing darts at each other publicly about a lack of progress at the bargaining table, keep in mind the fact that, if the two sides really believed this, they never would have mutually extended the deadline for filing the union’s collusion claim.
Though there’s still a long way to go before achieving labor peace, maybe a Festivus miracle is in the offing.