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Some league insider remain convinced impasse, not lockout, is coming

Goodell_Smith AP

The candid comments of Antonio Cromartie, who’ll see his shot at free agency blocked by a lockout, triggered a realization by many last week that a lockout is indeed coming, absent a new labor deal.

With hundreds of players due to be free agents, a lockout could cause plenty of the players who are seeing their paydays delayed to rebel against the union, possibly forcing the union to accept whatever terms the league will be offering.

But some league insiders remain convinced that the NFL is bluffing about a lockout, and that come March 4 the league will declare an impasse and impose the terms of its last, best offer before the impasse was reached.  (It’s the “March 4 surprise” that we mentioned a couple of weeks ago.)

Of course, the terms imposed by the league will likely be less than the ultimate best offer, since further negotiation after impasse is declared will require the league as a practical matter to make concessions.

If that’s what happens, then the onus will fall on the players to accept the terms and continue to negotiate, or to strike.  (The union undoubtedly would file a claim with the National Labor Relations Board arguing that impasse had not yet been reached.)  Given all the rhetoric from the union about the financial harm that will be suffered in the event of a work stoppage, it will be difficult if not impossible for NFLPA leadership to stage a strike.

With Super Bowl week in Dallas providing a big-like-Texas stage for the two sides to continue their posturings and pissing matches, we’ll be watching for signs that would suggest a declaration of impasse is, or isn’t, coming.  For now, those who believe that the league won’t be locking the doors are pointing to the stream of statements from those on the management side of the equation regarding the necessity for urgency at the bargaining table.  If the league decides to declare impasse, the argument will be that the union dragged its feet in the hopes that the end result would be a lockout.

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29 Responses to “Some league insider remain convinced impasse, not lockout, is coming”
  1. mrhashplant says: Jan 30, 2011 5:30 PM

    Drink beer?

  2. nitemare1 says: Jan 30, 2011 5:54 PM

    its the end of the world as we know it

  3. eaglesnoles05 says: Jan 30, 2011 5:58 PM

    It helps to get the critisism right too, I’ll admit…:) *OR is “some league insider…” Where’s the post-editor on this thing?

  4. eaglesnoles05 says: Jan 30, 2011 6:00 PM

    Annnnnd I’m gonna call it a day… *criticism* Night-night.

  5. oldbyrd says: Jan 30, 2011 6:06 PM

    Have no fear the union will fix everything

  6. realitypolice says: Jan 30, 2011 6:19 PM

    If the league declares an impasse and imposes rules, the union decertifies and the whole thing goes to court.

    The membership has already voted to allow decertification, specifically for this exact possibility.

    The league can’t impose rules on the players without violating anti-trust laws, because the players at that point would be independent contractors.

    350 words and not a single mention of this, despite your posting an article every time a team voted to allow decertification last summer.

  7. hedleykow says: Jan 30, 2011 6:21 PM

    For the sake of humanity, one can only hope there is an NFL season in 2011. With so much free time, a lockout could result in some players having 8 or 9 more kids by next summer. Based on recent media accounts, too many of our heroes practice football with much greater diligence than birth control is ever practiced by them. Would it be too much to ask for Hasselbeck to maybe hold a class in birth control methods, instead of wasting his time teaming up with the church against porn?

  8. vikescry1 says: Jan 30, 2011 6:22 PM

    just lock yourselves in a room and come to an agreement already… really this pissing match is stupid. and just so both side’s know the fans swinga a bigger dick! without us all you millionaires and billionaires would be blue collar burger flippers!

  9. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says: Jan 30, 2011 6:35 PM

    De will lead the players over the cliff by telling them they have a “right” to a % of the owners income.

    2011 is the year of the replacement players.

  10. kennadrin says: Jan 30, 2011 6:45 PM

    Reality police..

    You have no clue what you are talking about..

    There is a difference between the league calling for a lockout or declaring an impasse..

    The union won’t decertify unless the owners declare a lockout, the owners know this and will instead declare an impasse.. Which means the players will be playing under the last best offer.. Forcing the union to either strike or deal with the “best” offer..

    The Union is going to lose this fight

  11. smacklayer says: Jan 30, 2011 7:11 PM

    Decertify won’t happen unless it is a lockout, not impass. Impass as mentioned here is the best course for owners.

    The only problem here, again as stated, is the union will take to court saying that the owners did not do enough to negotiate. If
    the courts agree, the owners will have no choice but to lock out, then we will go the decertification route. Then it is again back to court for violating anti-trust laws.

    Either way the union is going to lose this battle in the long run. Which is the way it should be. Who ever said that employees are DUE a certain amount of an owners income. It is the owners investment on the line, it is the owners money paying for everything, they risk it all and should in return make the profit when it is there. Players are employees, nothing more. And by all accounts, they are very well compensated for their labor.

  12. jc1958coo says: Jan 30, 2011 7:29 PM

    only a moron would pay or watch a scab try to duplicate a real player!!! yeah duplicte is way out of a republicans vocbulary! thats what the owners are unappreciative pieces of s#%t!! oh another big word get the DICKtionary!!1

  13. realitypolice says: Jan 30, 2011 7:44 PM

    kennadrin says:
    Jan 30, 2011 6:45 PM
    Reality police..

    You have no clue what you are talking about..

    There is a difference between the league calling for a lockout or declaring an impasse..

    The Union is going to lose this fight
    ====================

    Nope- you’re the one who’s clueless. I understand very well the difference between a lockout and an impasse.

    If there is a lock out, there is no contract between any parties, just the league telling the players basically not to come to work. Decertification would have no effect on the league’s ability to lock out the players.

    Decertification is used when a league tries to impose a contract upon a union, which would be the case if the owners declared an impasse and imposed terms.

    Once the union decertifies, there is no union to impose a contract on, and the players become 2,000 independent contractors. The league would theoretically be required to negotiate a deal with each of them separately, or be in violation of anti-trust laws.

    Glad I could clear that up for you, Einstein.

  14. dccowboy says: Jan 30, 2011 7:53 PM

    I agree. The key to that position is the recent decision by the NFL to allow teams to apply the franchise tag in Feb. THat says they are not going to cause a work stoppage via ‘lockout’. They’re declaring an impasse and imposing their LBO. Given the amount of money that the 500 FA to be are going to start losing come March 4th, I expect the Union to keel over pretty quickly.

  15. dccowboy says: Jan 30, 2011 7:54 PM

    I think the Union decertifys regardless of what management does.

  16. sarcasticks says: Jan 30, 2011 8:17 PM

    kennadrin..

    You have no clue what you are talking about..

    The NFLPA will de-certify to protect itself against both an impasse and a lockout. The league cannot impose unilateral rules from 32 separate business entities with a collective bargaining agreement, which would supercede any anti-trust laws.

    Being wrong is one thing. Correcting someone and being wrong is another. You’re the lowest form of human.

  17. sarcasticks says: Jan 30, 2011 8:18 PM

    *without a CBA

  18. quirtevans says: Jan 30, 2011 8:20 PM

    Here’s why this doesn’t make sense.

    Many players have bonuses due by the first game … roster bonuses, for example.

    If the NFL declares an impasse, the union’s best strategy wouldn’t be to strike immediately.

    It would be to strike after the first game, or the eighth. After its members have collected a few paychecks, and before the owners get to collect their playoff television money.

    Hell, strike in week 16, and threaten the Super Bowl. The owners would be apoplectic.

    And that’s why the owners can’t risk declaring an impasse.

  19. fan70 says: Jan 30, 2011 8:46 PM

    How dare the union try to prevent players from taking a pay cut. If they want to rebel to work for less, have at it. Can players be this stupid, I hope not!

  20. anthonyfromstatenisland says: Jan 30, 2011 9:20 PM

    The union is simply being spiteful and envious in its opposition to the 18-game schedule. They’re playing that tired old zero-sum game: Anything that’s good for the owners – in that it will make the owners more money (yes, I said it) – automatically has to be bad for them.

    They can prove me wrong, by demanding a 12.5% across-the-board pay increase for all players currently under contract (in that they will be playing 12.5% more games – at least 12.5% more games that actually count anyway) – but they haven’t done this yet. Why?

  21. 44 management says: Jan 30, 2011 9:22 PM

    If the NFLPA stays in tact or de-certifies before the end of May 2011, there is a strong likelihood we will see NFL football in 2011. However, if the NFLPA throws its ultimate bomb after June 1, 2011, we may all become huge fans of the UFL-United Football League (which no one knows when or where they play their games).

    See response to this post here http://wp.me/pxHih-9P

  22. southyank7 says: Jan 30, 2011 10:05 PM

    Please LOCKOUT…it will be fun to watch so many execs, uppity up, rich folk lose millions, & there jobs…& all the secondary people whose jobs will also be affected, like this website, vendors, sports stores, ticket brokers, vegas, hotels in NFL cities, santa clause, scalpers, restaurants, bars, DIRECTV, the mascots, cheerleaders, the men & women who run the tv cameras & trailers at the games, DID I MISS ANYONE…

  23. freedomispopular says: Jan 30, 2011 10:06 PM

    @nitemare1
    And I feel fine.

  24. paulnoga says: Jan 30, 2011 10:32 PM

    Why call it an impasse. March 4th, the NFL no longer deals with the Union. Honor the existing contracts, use the CBA rules from pre-2006 to show an act of good faith, set a rookie salary cap, set a team salary cap of, say 2009, to show good faith, and get everyone ready for an 18 game schedule in two years.
    After that, sign free agents (with a “no strike” clause to get paid at all).
    That will please the fans and many Players.
    make the Union try to get the Players to Strike. That will turn the whole country against them.

  25. houstonsimpleton says: Jan 30, 2011 11:16 PM

    “With Super Bowl week in Dallas providing a big-like-Texas stage…”

    Hey, Tree Stump. Fence Post. Jack_wss.
    It’s in Arlington, not Dallas.

  26. pftequalsgreatjournalism says: Jan 31, 2011 12:30 AM

    houstonsimpleton says:
    Jan 30, 2011 11:16 PM
    “With Super Bowl week in Dallas providing a big-like-Texas stage…”

    Hey, Tree Stump. Fence Post. Jack_wss.
    It’s in Arlington, not Dallas.

    ——————-

    Yeah because people from all over the country, much less the world, will recognize the Mid-Cities…

    Why don’t hold it in front of Esparza’s?

    But hey, you proved that you know something – right?

  27. ErikW65 says: Jan 31, 2011 1:54 AM

    Wrong again RealityPolice. Decertification only works in the face of a lockout:

    “3.. The owners have an alternative to a lockout.

    If a new agreement isn’t reached by March 4, the owners aren’t required to lock out the players. Negotiations may continue and, at some point, the league can declare an impasse in the talks — and implement its last, best offer as the new set of rules, pending a formal agreement.

    The union then would have to decide whether to work under those rules, or whether to strike. ”

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/01/12/ten-things-to-know-about-the-labor-situation/

  28. anonymouslyanonymouscommentor says: Jan 31, 2011 4:51 AM

    anthonyfromstatenisland wrote:

    They can prove me wrong, by demanding a 12.5% across-the-board pay increase for all players currently under contract (in that they will be playing 12.5% more games – at least 12.5% more games that actually count anyway) – but they haven’t done this yet. Why?

    —————————-

    Because the players don’t want to play 18 games. They endure enough as it is. They probably wouldn’t want to if you gave them a 20% pay increase – they make millions as it is.

    The fact of the matter is the league is saying one thing and doing another. They’re apparently all about player safety, but yet they want to put them through two more games a season. How is that going to protect the players?

    What is the benefit of 18 games? More money. That’s it.

  29. clintonportisheadd says: Jan 31, 2011 9:52 AM

    If I was the Union I would accept the “impasse” and allow the terms to be dictated.

    Then announce that they want to re-open negotiations and set 12/1/11 as the strike date-effectively canceling the 2011-2012 season

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