In January 2011, former NFL center and NFLPA (no asterisk at the time) president Kevin Mawae said that, in 2006, the players “got such a great deal” at the bargaining table.
And the league has consistently bludgeoned Mawae with his words ever since.
The NFL surely wishes that former quarterback quarterback Kurt Warner had a greater role in the NFLPA*, given Warner’s recent comments on the 2006 CBA.
“We had a great deal,” Warner recently said, per Mike Sando of ESPN.com. “We had one of the best deals, in my opinion, of any of the pro sports when you talking about all of the things involved. Players knew that. We understood that. It afforded us lots of luxuries and making a lot of money.
“But I think players are also realistic to understand, ‘OK, things have gotten out of control to some degree and so we’re willing to even the scales on those things.’ But there’s also things that we want, too. We want things that protect us long-term. We want the health-care issues. We want the issues of a 16-game season as opposed to putting us out there for a couple more games. This is just my opinion, I think players would take a little less money but they want the security of some of the other things that they’re asking for. I think that’s gonna be a big issue because they understand that players have a little more to lose than the owners. The owners will still be owners five years from now. Players, you miss a year and it costs you a lot when you’re talking about a short NFL career. So, players have a lot to lose. But I’m still very I’m optimistic that they’ll find a way to get this done and there will be football in 2011.”
A cynic may question whether Warner is merely carrying water for one of his current employers, the broadcast network owned by the league. We tend to think he was merely being honest.
The NFLPA* would likely say he was being too honest.
Either way, the two sides need to be talking. The offer the league made last week doesn’t have to be accepted as is, but the players need to formulate a response — now — and the two sides need to continue their dialogue.
And if they need a new mediator, the NFL likely would suggest hiring Kurt Warner.