We’re four days into this unprecedented NFL existence of a decertified union suing the league for violating the antitrust laws and the league locking out the decertified union on the basis that the union isn’t really decertified. And we’ve entered this abyss of uncertainty despite an offer from the NFL that, with all due respect to Drew Brees (whom we greatly respect), seems to be something much more than a P.R. stunt.
So why not get back to the bargaining table? The owners seem to be willing to do it. The players seem to be unwilling. Or, perhaps more accurately, the players who are willing haven’t been able to get the attention of the folks who would now be handling the negotiations, given that the context has shifted to litigation.
The players seem to be concerned that the perception that the NFLPA* is involved in the negotiations could be used against the players before the NLRB or the federal court in Minnesota, when the league argues that the decertification was and is a sham. (Which, of course, it was and is.) As Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy acknowledged during Tuesday’s PFT Live, the league likely would agree not to use in the litigation process any effort by the NFLPA* to be involved in the negotiation of a settlement of the antitrust litigation, which then would become a new CBA.
Bottom line? There’s a way to get together and work on a new deal. And as agent Drew Rosenhaus said during today’s PFT Live, there are plenty of reasons for doing a deal now.
Drew’s comments got me sufficiently motivated to urge the two sides to get together in the final two minutes of the show.