The opening segment to today’s PFT Live focused on Wednesday’s collapse of the labor talks. And Wednesday’s collapse of the labor talks looks to be the responsibility of the NFL, not the union.
Unless the union offered to take 50 cents on the dollar of every dollar and said that it was a bottom-line position with no room to move, the league should have acknowledged that 50 cents on the dollar of every dollar is a reasonable opening position, and the league should have digested the offer and responded.
So when the owners convene a conference call at 3:30 p.m. ET, we hope that men like Robert Kraft stand up and say to the negotiators, “Why didn’t you respond to the offer?”
Opening positions in any negotiation are meaningless. The action begins once the stakes planted in the ground begin to move. The NFL, by all appearances, short circuited this process by refusing to establish the floor once the union set the ceiling.
So establish the floor, NFL. Otherwise, all this talk about wanting to do a deal is meaningless and hollow and phony. The NFL is behaving like it doesn’t want to do a deal, and for the first time we’re detecting a sense that the fans are starting to realize that a lot of the talk from the league is just that — talk — and that the league won’t take action until every ounce of leverage has been applied to the men who put their bodies on the line every Sunday, either via a lockout or the threat of one.
John Madden said it best last week. The players, owners, and Commissioner are the current custodians of the game. And the game is too good to screw it up.
Based on Wednesday’s events, they’re going to screw it up. And for now the league bears the bulk of the blame, in our view.