NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he’s ready to return to the bargaining table. And he’s not alone.
Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy, a member of the league’s negotiating team, made clear his desire to keep talking.
“We want to get back to the bargaining table,” Murphy told PFT Live on Tuesday. (A full transcript of his remarks has been prepared.) “You know, I think we’ve made that clear. You know, I think that’s the best thing for all of us is to get back to the bargaining process. We liked the mediation process. You know I thought George Cohen was very professional. He added a discipline, a structure to our talks and we would welcome continued mediation and would hope the NFLPA would be able to join us. It’s hard to do it by yourself.”
Though questions have been raised regarding the ability of the NFLPA* asterisk to be involved, Murphy acknowledged that the league would be willing to consider an agreement confirming that the league wouldn’t use the involvement of union representatives in the negotiations as proof that the decertification of the union was a sham.
“We could handle that,” Murphy said. “To be honest, Mike, if they want to bargain, if they’re serious, we would do it anyplace, anytime.”
So the league is ready, and we suspect plenty of players would prefer that the talks resume. Any players who feel that way need to make their wishes known to the NFLPA*.
In saying that, we’re not suggesting that players say so publicly, since those comments would appear on NFLLabor.com in the hopes of driving a wedge between the players who want to negotiate and those who don’t. For now, the players who want to negotiate need to be sure that their views are being considered — and that their union hasn’t been co-opted by a handful of players and/or lawyers who have decided that they want to press forward with litigation, despite the chance that the players will lose the battle to lift the lockout on April 6, which would swing the leverage in the direction of the owners.