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Chester Pitts finally acknowledges that negotiations can occur

NFL Lockout Looms As Negotiations Reach Final Day Getty Images

Earlier today, Seahawks guard and NFLPA* player rep Chester Pitts posted messages on Twitter indicating the mistaken belief that no negotiations may occur between the NFL and the players now that the union has decertified and suit has been filed.

“How is it all of sudden [Roger Goodell] now wants to negotiate when he knows that window has closed. A trade association can not collectively bargain!  The courts must now decide,” Pitts said.

He was wrong, as evidenced by Thursday’s comments from NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith.  And Pitts has since adjusted his position.

“The PA can not bargain like I said,” Pitts tweeted.  “The only thing that can transpire is the class lawyers can settle the case as they did in ’93 with White settlement.”

The White settlement coincidentally became the CBA.

Though we’ve got no problem with Pitts trying to make it look like his current position meshes with his prior position, we’re still trying to figure out why he believed what he previously believed — that no negotiations may occur of any kind, in any context, and that “[t]he courts must now decide.”

And then we received an e-mail from an agent who seems to be genuinely interested in getting this all worked out, and who apparently shares our suspicion that a handful of people may be cramming a litigation-or-bust agenda down the players’ throats, blowing what seems to be a prime opportunity to continue talks.

The agent tipped us off to the fact that Pitts’ agent is Andrew Kessler.  And Andrew Kessler is the son of top NFLPA* outside lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, who also by all appearances will be the lead lawyer in the antitrust case filed last week in Minnesota.

Given that league officials and owners almost uniformly believe that Jeffrey Kessler has been pushing the decertify-and-sue strategy, it’s not a stretch to wonder whether Kessler is pushing buttons and pulling strings on the players to get them to go along with a commitment to litigation without negotiation, even if it’s not in the best interests of the players to risk losing the April 6 hearing on their motion to force the NFL to end the lockout.  Of all players, the men who have hired Kessler’s son to represent their interests will be more likely to buy whatever Kessler is selling.

The players may win on April 6, and the players may lose.  If they want to control their destiny, they should take advantage of the uncertainty to try to do a fair deal for everyone between now and April 6.  If a deal that the players believe is fair can’t be done, fine.  Don’t do the deal.  But they should at least be trying.

And if they fail in their effort to lift the lockout while the litigation proceeds, they’ll surely wish they had.

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18 Responses to “Chester Pitts finally acknowledges that negotiations can occur”
  1. lov3likerockets says: Mar 18, 2011 5:24 PM

    The words, “Were not that stupid…” come to mind

  2. nflpasux says: Mar 18, 2011 5:28 PM

    Pitts has already demonstrated that he lacks ample gray matter to be commenting on anything related to the labor negotiations. Not a bit surprising that he’s another of Kessler’s tools.

    When all this is over, Pitts should be banned from the NFL.

  3. mharenza says: Mar 18, 2011 5:30 PM

    So quite possible the players are being manipulated by attorneys or their representatives while simultaneously accusing Goodell of trying to manipulate them. Interesting. Everyday the players look more like rubes.

  4. ajtexans says: Mar 18, 2011 5:32 PM

    I have a parrot in a cage next to one of my TVs and I’m about to kill him because all he says now is “open your books, open your books, squaaaak…”

  5. hail2tharedskins says: Mar 18, 2011 5:34 PM

    I truly hope that the players lose their motion on April 6! That will force them back to the bargaining table and it will force them back with a more humble attitude and the knowledge that they won’t be getting any paychecks anytime soon unless they reach an agreement on a new CBA. And guess what? A new CBA will be reached and will be reached rather quickly! I just hope that the owners’ don’t take the opportunity to reduce the offer they had on the table last friday, because if they do that then I think the player’s will have a new motivation to keep fighting.

  6. ezmoover says: Mar 18, 2011 5:37 PM

    Almost sounds like there is a conflict of interest regarding some of these NFLPA* lawyers (and their related agents).

    Rather than going back to the bargaining table, I’ll bet these lawers stand to make significantly more billable $$$ for themselves through litigation.

    Typical scum shark lawyers are working for their own best interests and not their players’ best interests.

  7. ursushorribilis says: Mar 18, 2011 5:43 PM

    No…..who would have thunk it?

    Is it possible that a self-serving lawyer is pushing litigation over negotiation? Who would have thunk it?

    Even if the “slave millionaire consortium” wins April 6th an appeal to the 8th Circuit is a sure thing…….

    People….winning in court is all about who has the money to hire the better lawyers and who can drag-out the fight the longest….I think Billionaires can outlast millionaires….

    Cut your losses and negotiate now!

  8. mistrezzrachael says: Mar 18, 2011 5:45 PM

    With player reps like Pitts…and dummies like Peterson..the players are showing not only how stupid they & their moves are..but that they have no shot.

    Lets see how big they talk 2 years from now…when theyre just going back to football…90% of them bankrupt.

  9. Deb says: Mar 18, 2011 5:49 PM

    I agree both players and owners would be better served by finding a workable solution before April 6. My brother and sis-in-law are extremely successful litigators, and I trust their skills completely. Even so, I believe in doing everything possible in business to avoid going to court. Win or lose, litigation costs time, money, and peace of mind. And no matter how dead certain you are of the outcome, you’re rolling the dice anytime you put your fate in the hands of a judge or jury.

  10. canteatgreens says: Mar 18, 2011 5:50 PM

    I’m curious if you could write an article on what exactly it is that the players want? Do they not have a firm set of demands other than seeing the owner’s financial statements?

    I’m not sure if they’re stating that absolutely no changes should be made (such as a rookie wage scale in order to balance veterans pay)?

    Would like some details in this regard, we basically know what the league wants…

  11. 4evrnyt says: Mar 18, 2011 6:00 PM

    Comments from Pitts only further solidifies the idea that owners already know. Players are simply low income kids that dont know their arseholes from their elbows. They are ignorant, they are uneducated and they are easily manipulated. The owners simply have to wait for these greedy kids to rebel against the NFLPA which they KNOW will happen and when it does they will get the deal they want.

    If the players had any clue they would sign the first deal they get because it will be 100 times better then what they end up with.

  12. jamie54 says: Mar 18, 2011 6:19 PM

    ……..and who, really, cares what Pitts, Leber, Vrabel, Burnett, et al, say anyway? Bunch of puppets playing follow the leader since they’re too stupid to think for themselves under the false pretense of adhering to the union and the ‘unity’ theme. Well, since they’re now decertified, can’t they truly negotiate separately? Heaven forbid they were led astray by their fearless leader D. (Mo) Smith and could have been much closer to a solution had he not been the NFLPA leader.

  13. disgruntledfan says: Mar 18, 2011 6:24 PM

    The more the players speak, the less informed they appear. I doubt any of the player reps have an accurate understanding of the NFL’s offer and all of the intricacies of the CBA. It seems their info is coming from parties (Smith, Kessler) whose interests aren’t necessarily the same as their own. I fear that Smith & Kessler are using loaded and manipulative language when speaking to the players, and provide very little in the way of actual info or hard data concerning the owners offer. I don’t know that the owners offer was sufficiently acceptable as-is, but from what I’ve read the players would receive more money via a higher salary cap, a higher salary floor, fewer off-season demands, and better benefits. Again, can’t say that was perfectly acceptable, but no reason to push away from the bargaining table. I think Smith & Kessler view the outcome as a must-win, but the only truly acceptable agreement will be a win-win, not a win-lose.

  14. meatball13 says: Mar 18, 2011 7:08 PM

    Maybe Cromarties A-hole comment wasn’t that far off base after all !!

  15. jakinchitown says: Mar 18, 2011 8:15 PM

    At last! Real evidence that certain members of the rank and file (or at least their agents) are realizing that hired Union leadership and a tiny number of players (most of whom have zero economic worries) are leading the union off a cliff to litigation.

    Not only do the players not realize how iffy their chances are in court, they also don’t realize that this injunction they think is such a sure thing only gets them the 2010 working conditions at best (how will the rank and file with 4 & 5 years of service like that?) and since the last antitrust case resulted in the current CBA, how much can the owners be at risk in court?

    What % of kickback do you think that De Smith is getting or (more likely) will get (at a later date) of the fees charged by Kessler’s firm?

    We’re not that stupid, YES you are!

  16. commandercornpone says: Mar 18, 2011 8:16 PM

    …upcoming… oakley-ewing moments!

  17. 44kyle says: Mar 18, 2011 8:32 PM

    I am struck by the vagueness of the players regarding what they are disappointed about. I think the reason is that they don’t actually have a clear idea of what their position and the owner’s position is. All they seem to focus on is that they have been disrespected(is that really a word?). and that the owners must open their books to the players. I think it’s apparent that the players are being played. D-Smith and Kessler are ripping these guys off. They’re screwing up the game.

  18. burntorangehorn says: Mar 18, 2011 9:29 PM

    Anyone remember when the NBA was having labor troubles, and Patrick Ewing bought a pair of non-corrective glasses to wear at the table so he’d seem smarter?

    Chester Pitts need some of those.

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