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Will the union break in March, not September?

Antonio Cromartie AP

Conventional wisdom in NFL circles is and has been that, once players miss a paycheck of two in September, they’ll collapse.

But the money doesn’t ordinarily begin to flow in September.  For those players whose contracts have expired, signing bonuses and roster bonuses are paid in early March, as part of the free-agency frenzy that sees millions of dollars change hands in a short period of time.  And while a majority of the league’s players are under contract for 2011, and thus won’t lose any money other than individually-negotiated workout bonuses before September, those players whose shot at getting paid large chunks of cash will be delayed by a lockout will be very, very vocal.

Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie was the first.  Chances are that others will follow suit once March 4 comes and goes without the doors to the free-agent market swinging open for business.

In this regard, Jason Whitlock of FOXSports.com has nailed the situation in his latest column, explaining that a mutiny against union leadership could be coming sooner rather than later.

“This is a totally unfair fight,” Whitlock said.  “It’s become cliche to say this is an argument between millionaires and billionaires.  No.  This is an argument between spoiled rich kids and their parents.  Once the parents cut off the money, the mouthy rich kids turn bitch quick.”

As to the notion that NFLPA executive director De Smith recently declared, “We are at war!”, Whitlock offered up this comparison:  “Remember the Republican Guard surrendering before we ever fired a shot during Desert Storm?  We’re about to see a reenactment.”

Whitlock also recommends following any and all NFL players on Twitter, because that’s where many of them will be venting their frustrations.

So as the NFL tries to keep 32 folks in line and on message, the union will be desperately trying to corral 1,700 feral cats.

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40 Responses to “Will the union break in March, not September?”
  1. joepags says: Jan 26, 2011 8:13 AM

    my opinion, the greed of the owners, and the rediculous 18 game schedule will take place after missing the first 2 to 3 regular season games.
    nex season will determine wether i will continue to watch the NFL if the helmet to helmet calls dont get better, and better i mean less of them. the commish. is already making this a game of sissies.

  2. jc1958coo says: Jan 26, 2011 8:14 AM

    they won’t break in march, more like june or july when football really starts!! will be interesting for the draft if there is a lockout come april!

  3. joetoronto says: Jan 26, 2011 8:16 AM

    “This is an argument between spoiled rich kids and their parents. Once the parents cut off the money, the mouthy rich kids turn bitch quick.”

    Exactly. At the end of the day, the “parents” have the money and therefore, the power.

  4. bigperm33 says: Jan 26, 2011 8:18 AM

    The other difference is that while the owners of course make their money from football, they all are very rich without football. There can never be another football game, and they all will be fine. The players on the other hand this is their sole source of income. They need to play, they need football far more than the owners do.

    That is why the owners can be the ones who hand out the contracts with no one forcing them to pay anyone anything, and then turn around and complain that they are spending too much money. It is not an even fight.

  5. chapnastier says: Jan 26, 2011 8:24 AM

    How will Cromartie be able to pay child support?

  6. rafterman1957 says: Jan 26, 2011 8:29 AM

    The NFLPA is by far the weakest major sports union. They will fold like a house of cards as they usually do.

  7. thecgroup says: Jan 26, 2011 8:30 AM

    Or if the “UNION” has done its job. it has constantly reminded its members to make sure they save money and are financially secure for several years.

    And if I were in that “UNION” i would not feel sorry for those players that did not heed this warning…. I would bet the majority of the members in that “UNION” would be ok.

    It amazes me that you are from WV and dont understand how a union works…. IF they want to hold out… they will….they have the power…If one year falls, I can ensure you football will return It may not be NFL but it will return…

  8. bigbear12 says: Jan 26, 2011 8:36 AM

    Union fighting a war in it’s own ranks before the real fight starts. An union of individuals – united they stand, divided they fall.

    Going to love watching DeSmith, is he going to go down with the ship? Doesn’t seem likely.

  9. felcus says: Jan 26, 2011 8:36 AM

    Finally, some common sense seeping out into reality about this mess.

    The NFLPA will soon realize that they made a mistake in hiring a lawyer with a political agenda to run their show.

    I’m gonna go read Whitlock’s article in full. That guy is hilarious sometimes…

  10. biggerballz says: Jan 26, 2011 8:43 AM

    haha maybe if these morons knew what a condom was and had a brain they wouldn’t need to live paycheck to paycheck making 100k a week. Wow I feel no remorse for any of these “retired” players complaining either.

  11. crazyhawk37 says: Jan 26, 2011 8:49 AM

    “nex season will determine wether i will continue to watch the NFL if the helmet to helmet calls dont get better, and better i mean less of them. the commish. is already making this a game of sissies.”

    So let me get this straight. You want to see a bunch of strong guys running around banging their heads together and turning their brains to mush simply for your enjoyment?? Yeah……the NFL won’t be changing that rule anytime soon, and I’m sure they’ll get along just fine without fans like you.

  12. FinFan68 says: Jan 26, 2011 8:51 AM

    I think the owners will come out on top in this one…I just hope it is without any “enhanced” season BS.

  13. dvnelson72 says: Jan 26, 2011 8:52 AM

    The players, for the most part, are guys who have been coddled for the majority of their playing days.

    They get egocentric because of it. They think the game will not survive without them (individually).

    Players are fungible. That is why we root for laundry.

    Most of the current players are too young to remember the last strike. They are too young to know that we all watched the replacements. The games counted. The checks went elsewhere. Fans still went to games.

    The owners are the ones who invested and took risks. The risks the players are taking are with their bodies, and they are well paid for it.

    I hope they break the union again and we don’t have to deal with this for another 24 years.

  14. skoobyfl says: Jan 26, 2011 8:57 AM

    Union = Organized group to fight oppression. In this instance, the oppressed are mostly millionaires. My heart doesn’t bleed for them.

  15. nitschke66 says: Jan 26, 2011 9:05 AM

    Power corrupts. NFL is a combination of sport and entertainment. Actors should also strike at the same time. Maybe we would start to pay teachers, police and firemen more and these athletes significantly less. Tickets could be more affordable. I’m sure the owners can find athletes willing to accept 50% of what these guys make. Cut payroll in half, lower ticket prices for the fans and we’ll all still be entertained.

  16. anthonyfromstatenisland says: Jan 26, 2011 9:08 AM

    In all likelihood, it’s too late to do 18 games in 2011 anyway; the NFL has tacitly implied this, by already releasing every team’s home-and-away opponents for next season.

    And how come the players in the CFL have never kvetched about playing 18 games, which they have done for a long time now; and it wasn’t at all controversial when the USFL did it either.

    I’m getting tired of these players and their constant whining. If push comes to shove, I hope the owners lock ‘em out and bring in scabs.

  17. jimr10 says: Jan 26, 2011 9:21 AM

    I think the owners are going by the golden rule. he who has the gold, rules.

  18. bucfandango says: Jan 26, 2011 9:26 AM

    Playtex Tampons sales will skyrocket. Jay Cutler has already stocked up. Playtex is owned by Hanes and therefore Michael Jordan is behind this entire mess.

  19. wryly1 says: Jan 26, 2011 9:30 AM

    The problem for both sides, more so the NFLPA, is that Gene Upshaw got them too good a deal last time. The owners realize that and are now looking for concessions.

    That’s unlikely to happen. What we’ll probably end up with is is some sort of rookie sal cap structure and maybe swapping out an exhibition game for another regular season game plus another playoff slot from each conference.

    If either side is truly committed to improving safety, they’d get serious about bringing helmet technology into the 21st century.

  20. cappa662 says: Jan 26, 2011 9:51 AM

    And Jason Whitlock was the jerk who wrote that unflattering piece on Sean Taylor after he died.

  21. edenprairiemn says: Jan 26, 2011 9:54 AM

    joepags, I agree that the owners may be asking for too much as far as an 18 game schedule and such, but I am siding with the owners on this. The players are greedy and ungrateful. Instead of continuing to earn the millions of dollars, they would rather bitch and moan because they are not getting enough. This blows my mind. Most people in the U.S. are not fortunate to have even 1/3 of the what a player makes. My family and I are wealthy, but I am thankful for it and I never take it for granted. These players need to grow up, otherwise…. the NFL will find other players to take their spot …. with less pay….

  22. hscorpio says: Jan 26, 2011 10:27 AM

    I wonder if the 18 game season isn’t just a chip to use in exchange for getting the revenue % down. A common negotiating tactic is to make a big deal of something you don’t care about in order to exchange that for something you really do care about. Maybe, maybe not.

    Either way, there are a lot of teams with a high number of pending FAs. Some of them are guys that ended up being RFA last offseason instead of UFA and signed the one year tender. They expected that big FA payday last year. Instead, they had to bide their time for 12 months. Now, they are being asked to wait even longer (assuming a deal is not done in time). If enough of them get restless, this dispute will end quickly.

    It’s tough to go to “war” over “only” being a millionaire.

  23. vahawker says: Jan 26, 2011 10:44 AM

    DeIdiot needs to shut up and sit down at the table and not get his sorry butt up until a deal has been struck. Same for the owners and the league. They are like two teenagers squawking about who gets the last cookie.

    Shut down the league and see the cookie shrink when all the casual to mildly>moderate fans find something else to do with their time and don’t come back when they start playing again. Making me sick and I’m a 40 year fan of the NFL. Never went back to baseball after their stoppage, NFL will find there are many many “fans” who do the same to them.

  24. tacoslinger619 says: Jan 26, 2011 10:47 AM

    Jobs are hard to come by, imagine how many of these players would be unemployed right now if they didnt have talent, Is Crowmartie worth millions when all he can do is run fast, talk trash and knock up chicks. Owners have all the leverage, they worked yrs get in that position, they will always win and the palyers should be happy with the millions they are making allready……go to the CFL if they dont like it, my smpathy is limited when it comes to these big Whiney babies…….Make it 18 games a year, more the better in my opinion!

  25. hatesycophants says: Jan 26, 2011 10:49 AM

    So, the owners have the power and the money? Well, let’s see how much you folks are willing to pay to watch Al Davis take on Willie Clay Ford, or Jerry Jones go to “war” with Mrs. McCaskey.

    Calling the players “greedy” or comparing adults to children, cats et al is not only defamatory, but ridiculous.

    Those of you who “take sides” with billionaire owners who have made their fortunes as a result of the talents of others are the very reason unions exist.

    Also, no one gives a damn what Jason Whitlock has to say about anything… unless, of course, we’re evaluating race baiters or all-you-can-eat buffets.

  26. mistrezzrachael says: Jan 26, 2011 10:51 AM

    I’m impressed by the ‘self-esteem’ that Cromartie’s new wife has…Must be fun to see 9 child support checks go @ 40% of his gross, before taxes….What’ll she do when money [ if it hasn't already..he had to get advance to stay out of courts/jail]..is gone…We’ll see what ‘love’ is.

    Alot of other players…believe it or not, live paycheck to paycheck…No way this thing lasts long.

  27. ErikW65 says: Jan 26, 2011 10:53 AM

    Re. “The players are greedy and ungrateful. Instead of continuing to earn the millions of dollars, they would rather bitch and moan because they are not getting enough…”

    Have you forgotten that it’s the owners who’re forcing this, who broke the CBA 2 seasons before it was set to expire, a mere year after the contract was signed? That the NFLPA’s position is that they are willing to work under the conditions of the current CBA while negotiations proceed?

    I’d like to see you provide links to back up your suggestion that the players would rather strike than play. Here’s one to refute that idea:

    “We want to keep playing,” said Colts center Jeff Saturday, a member of the NFLPA’s executive committee. “Until the owners lock the doors and don’t let us in, every one of my guys is going to show up and be ready to play games.”

    http://articles.philly.com/2011-01-14/sports/27028318_1_lockout-nflpa-bob-batterman

    It’s the owners who are claiming not to be making enough, not the players, EdenPrarie.

  28. thenewwisewoo says: Jan 26, 2011 11:00 AM

    Probably one of your best written articles in terms of comedy, information, and non-blatant biases. Well played!

  29. oldbyrd says: Jan 26, 2011 11:03 AM

    I am anything but a Union supporter but, lets be real. You refer to these unique athletes as spoiled brats? Try to get near the field of a pro football game. Watch the speed and power of these guys. Its scary. They don’t really have a 45 year career like most of us. I hope all sides will be realistic. If it gets to the situtation that we have with civil servants, their will be no game much less Union. They all deserve to be paid well for what they do. When is enough, enough is the question.

  30. youboettcha says: Jan 26, 2011 11:17 AM

    I hope the NFL is bluffing about the 18-game schedule so that the NFLPA gives up a boat load of leverage to make sure it doesn’t happen. I only really care about keeping it at 16 games and making sure a full 2011 season happens.

  31. gpete1962 says: Jan 26, 2011 11:28 AM

    youboettcha most likely doesn’t have season tix paying full price for 2 preseason games

  32. wtfru2 says: Jan 26, 2011 11:28 AM

    WOW, Looking at all of these comments I’d say the union is going to have trouble getting the public on its side.

    Oh well. I’ve got to go back to work before I need a union to protect me.

  33. FinFan68 says: Jan 26, 2011 11:34 AM

    hatesycophants says:
    Jan 26, 2011 10:49 AM
    Those of you who “take sides” with billionaire owners who have made their fortunes as a result of the talents of others are the very reason unions exist.
    ————————–
    Umm, no. Unions exist so that workers are not exploited. The union stands up againts unfair practices where an individual worker can’t. Unions are designed to protect their membership from true repression and exploitation and to garner basic safety considerations. That is not the case here. This union is closer to an exclusive membership club than a true union. They are already more than fairly compensated for what they do. Their issue is they want to make more than the owners’ percentage without any financial risk. They got a great deal last time and the owners realize it is not sustainable. The players want more than they truly deserve.

  34. gpete1962 says: Jan 26, 2011 11:37 AM

    If the players really have the balls to strike they should walk out on the SuperBowl. That would really be a statement. no balls, no brains and no unity. BTW I never heard any players protest or feel sorry for the fans when the owners started with PSL’s. They must not realize who ultimately pays there salaries.

  35. PanchoHerreraFanClub says: Jan 26, 2011 11:59 AM

    Thanks for your insight Whitlock, you truly are the NFL ownership’s hoe of the week. Can you sing, “Decertification is the name of the game, with no lockout the owners will be lame.”

  36. commandercornpone says: Jan 26, 2011 12:07 PM

    the union will fold like a house of cards when a lesser paid player pulls a charles oakley on some high paid union member (like patrick ewing) or duh smith. the overextended little guys will need the $ first.

    this isnt like baseball where most players can just play one more year. a lot of nfl players that would lose the next year wont ever get it back.

    a lot of teams already voted to decertify the union. they can pull the trigger on duh anytime.

  37. hatesycophants says: Jan 26, 2011 12:15 PM

    @finfan,

    “The players want more than they truly deserve.”

    ————————————————————

    How is it that some dude rotting behind a keyboard feels comfortable making that detemination? I pity you.

  38. FinFan68 says: Jan 26, 2011 1:13 PM

    hatesycophants says:
    Jan 26, 2011 12:15 PM
    @finfan,

    “The players want more than they truly deserve.”
    ————————————————————
    How is it that some dude rotting behind a keyboard feels comfortable making that detemination? I pity you.
    ========================
    My guess would be it is no different than how you feel comfortable with your opinion. Why bash someone because their opinion differs from yours? Why attack Whitlock like you did when those “points” are irrelevant to his statements on this subject? You have the gall to complain about defamatory and ridiculous statements and then follow up with garbage like that. I happen to think that the players are already fairly compensated for what they do. Maybe you would understand it better if I used phrases similar to yours, like…Those of you who “take sides” with millionaire players who have made their fortunes as a result of exploiting the opportunity provided by financial risk takers who own the teams and provide their inflated salaries are the reason we live in an entitlement society…that better? Once unions achieve “fair” or “just” compensation, they always overreach and ultimately kill the very industries that provide their livelihood.

    Go ahead with more personal insults and empty conclusions…because that’s all you have.

  39. hatesycophants says: Jan 26, 2011 3:29 PM

    @finfan,

    I concede, you are correct. The owners are the only ones who take a risk in this situation, and the the players should be paid what they (you) think.

    Btw, why is it that when “some” people take a risk it’s called “exploiting the opportunity provided” to them and when others take much, much less of a risk, one which does not involve their health, they’re called “entrepreneurs?”

    Also, strike/lockout or no, ungrateful, lazy, fortunate-that-some-old-people-gave-them-an-opportunity players and the old people will still be rich, I’ll still be an upper middle class contributer to society and you’ll still be rotting behind a keyboard. Enjoy!

  40. gpete1962 says: Jan 26, 2011 7:26 PM

    Nobody should have sympathy for the owners. With revenue sharing there all making money and the greedy ones are charging PSL’s and outrageous ticket prices.

    As for the players, the top 5 draft picks each year are screwing up salary bases. they have to implement a rookie salary cap to make fair for everyone. your paying unproven players millions of dollars.

    My solution would be. take them by tiers of 5 ex: 1-5 5-10 and so on. set cap limits for one year with some career ending insurance policy. so the players and the teams can renegotiate based on first year performances.

    This will slow down this rapidly escalating cost of salaries. would make things much more fair for the surprisingly great late round draft picks and proven veterans to share in the wealth of the team salary caps.

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