A number of NFLPA* reps took to UStream on Friday in a series of quick interviews in which they answered questions from fans.
Gone was the inflamed rhetoric that we heard from Drew Brees, Kevin Mawae, and DeMaurice Smith earlier this week. Instead, the players calmly talked about the issues and even sounded optimistic occasionally.
“It will be resolved,” Steve Hutchinson said about the CBA at one point, in a response to a question about possibly bolting for the CFL.
Yes, it will be resolved. This is a great point to keep in mind throughout this painful process. Both Hutchinson and Texans tackle Eric Winston said they didn’t want to leave for any other league because it “wouldn’t be good for the game.”
Mawae said he was aware of fan anger at a lot of the players, but he attributed it to the fans not knowing the full truth of the issues.
One thing was clear from the interviews: Commissioner Roger Goodell’s letter to the players didn’t go over well.
Lions safety Eric Coleman called out Goodell for lies and half-truths in the letter, and said he thought the letter’s intent was to divide the players. Titans defensive end Jason Babin says a number of players responded to Goodell’s email directly, essentially calling Goodell out.
Overall, the emotion from the last week’s negotiations seems to have subsided. Perhaps the different tone from the players came because they are in a nice vacation-like setting. Maybe there was a decision to dial things back a bit.
Either way, they sounded realistic about the issues and even hopeful about getting a deal done.
UPDATE: As a quick aside for our readers: There weren’t many people asking questions Friday. The NFLPA* plans to do the same thing Saturday. It’s a good opportunity to have and your voice heard and ask some questions.