In a Tuesday press conference arranged by the NFLPA and featuring two members of its Executive Committee (Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth), Fujita responded to the recent attempt by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to minimize the impact of a lockout.
Asked during a portion of a 60 Minutes interview that CBS inexplicably diverted to an online-only feature, Jones was asked if a lockout would be disastrous to the sport.
“No. I do not,” Jones said.
“For him to say something like that, to me, is one of the more irresponsible things I’ve heard through this whole process,” Fujita said, per the Associated Press.
In an interview last week on PFT Live, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked whether he agrees with Jones’ assessment of the impact of a lockout.
“I would tell you that I think we need to do everything we can to reasonably avoid a lockout. It is not good for the fans and for the game itself,” Goodell said. “I don’t believe it is good for the players or the clubs at the end of the day. I will do everything I can and work night and day trying to avoid that.”
Former Colts and Bucs coach Tony Dungy, in a separate segment last week on PFT Live, went a step farther than Goodell.
“We’ve got to find a middle ground that’s good for both sides,” Dungy said. “And my fear is that we don’t have enough Wellington Mara, Dan Rooney, Gene Upshaw-type people, and if that’s the case and if this does come into a full-blown lockout, I think it will be disastrous. I really do.”
So do we. And we have a feeling that other owners agree. In fact, Fujita correctly senses that the owners aren’t as unified as they pretend to be. Some, like Patriots owner Robert Kraft, seem to want to get a deal done. Others, like Jones, are pushing for a fight — and hoping that via a fight the players will cave.
The problem is that the players eventually will cave, and owners like Jones know it.
And if that happens, the stage will be set for the players to eventually take a stand in order to level the playing field once again.
The best approach? Both sides should quit acting like enemies, start acting like partners, and search for a way to create a playing field that will remain level over the long haul.