Moments ago, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith took to his infrequently-used Twitter page and typed the following message: “Players stay strong! Stay informed, update by 2pm tomorrow.”
It’s unclear what it means, but the fact that Smith has provided few updates by Twitter makes it noteworthy.
The labor deal currently expires at 5:00 p.m. ET Friday, three hours after the promised update.
The options are: (1) new deal, which is extremely unlikely by tomorrow; (2) new extension, which is possible but fading; or (3) decertification and litigation.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said that negotiation is better than litigation, but as a practical matter both can happen. Nothing prevents the two sides from talking after the union ceases and desists operations in the hopes of applying maximum pressure to the league, especially since the first battle would entail an expedited attempt to block the lockout of a non-union workforce, so that free agency can finally begin.
Bottom line? The union apparently believes a better deal comes through litigation. If that’s the case, the sooner the litigation starts, the sooner we’ll all get this mess behind us.
Of course, the owners have some say in this. They can do the deal now that the league would do after losing an antitrust trial, which is exactly what happened in the 1990s, paving the way for the current labor deal.
Or they can deal primarily with attorney Jeffrey Kessler once the union goes away.
The smart move would be to take an objective look at the situation and do the best deal now and realize that any new deal is a much better deal than the one that still generated huge money in the worst economy since the Great Depression.