On Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to every player summarizing the offer made by the league on March 11 and urging the players to pressure their representatives to respond.
The bold move possibly has backfired.
Multiple players have spoken out against the gesture, using it as the latest rallying cry against the owners. It’s the same dynamic that Ross Tucker of Sirius NFL Radio spelled out during a visit to PFT Live on Thursday. NFL players wouldn’t have become NFL players if they were willing to back down from a fight, and these NFL players perceive the NFL Commissioner to be trying to spark an implosion of the NFLPA*.
Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com reports that Colts middle linebacker Gary Brackett and receiver Anthony Gonzalez (pictured) pulled an all-nighter (Colts fans would say Gonzalez also pulled a hamstring while doing it) to prepare a response.
“Looking at what Commissioner Goodell sent out, it would be pretty easy for guys to say, ‘You know what? This actually looks pretty decent,'” Gonzalez told Marvez. “But we know as advocates for our players that we need to go point-by-point on this letter and show them how deceptive this really is.
“Deceptive isn’t the word. To say there are half-truths in that letter is ambitious. They’re like quarter-to-less truths. We’re trying to fill in the gaps.”
“When you just look at the email itself, it’s really a joke,” Washington Football Club defensive end and player representative Vonnie Holliday said. “That’s why you see some of the players around the league speaking out. This does not tell the story. This is just another ploy by the NFL to make us look like bad guys, to divide us. But we’re strong. Our leadership has been strong. Our players are informed.
“For the most part, I think [the NFL is] surprised at how strong we are as a group and what we’ve been able to accomplish so far. That’s what’s going to carry us throughout the rest of this process.”
Or it possibly will carry a lot of them to Chapter 7.
We continue to be neutral in this matter. We simply want this all to end, so that we can get back to the offseason and free agency and everything else that makes the NFL popular months before a game is even due to be played.
At this point, the players can huff and puff all they want about Goodell’s tactics. But their representatives know what the offer was, and their representatives should be developing a response. We’ve got no problem with players saying things aimed at keeping other players from going to Twitter after drinking a few Friday night fuzzy navels and firing off F-bombs in the direction of the NFLPA*. Still, the representatives should be doing more than using actual or perceived assaults on solidarity to pull the players’ strings and/or to keep them in line. The representatives need to be looking for ways to get this resolved so that the players can be working out with their teams, getting new contracts, having access to counseling, and being able to talk to their coaches.
We’ve previously said that players shouldn’t voice concerns publicly if they believe something is amiss, and we strongly suspect that something is. Still, they should find a way to make their concerns known, before a small handful of lawyers or agents or players put a brick on the gas pedal as the car approaches the point of no return.