Patriots owner Robert Kraft said during the 2010 season that it would be criminal for a work stoppage to interrupt the NFL at a time when the league is more popular than ever. Now that the “criminal” work stoppage has begun, Kraft says the fault is the union’s, for never really wanting to negotiate.
But Kraft also says a deal will get done that allows the 2011 season to be played.
“I think the actions of the union to end the mediation process and walk away from Friday’s offer clearly showed their true intentions to take this process to litigation all along,” Kraft said in a statement released by the team. “While disappointed by their action to decertify, I remain confident that an agreement will be reached and that the 2011 season will be played. I know that the owners are committed to this process, but that the quickest way to do so is through continued negotiation, not litigation. For the sake of all involved, the owners, the players and most importantly, the fans, I hope we return to the negotiating table very soon.”
So Kraft is following the same company line as the rest of the owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, all of whom are placing the blame on the union for deciding to litigate rather than negotiate.
And fans will continue to care very little whether the blame goes to the owners or the players, and care quite a lot about whether or not Kraft is right that the 2011 season will be played. Anything less than the 2011 season going off as scheduled would be criminal.