The NFL continues to maintain and update the labor propaganda website known as NFLLabor.com. Most recently, the league has added to the site a transcript of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s conference call with Colts fans.
The league opted to highlight and to headline Goodell’s statement, which should be obvious by now to anyone who has been following the lockout, that the parties “need to be talking to reach an agreement.”
He’s right, but it’s not as if the league has been banging on the players’ door and the players have refused to talk. If the league were serious about working out a new labor agreement, all 32 owners would have attended last month’s court-ordered mediation sessions. If the league suddenly is serious about negotiating a CBA, all 32 owners should be present in less than two weeks, when court-ordered mediation is scheduled to resume.
Or the league could simply pick up the phone without the involvement of a federal chaperone and try to get things moving in the right direction.
The reality is that neither side has been serious about talking because each side believes it will gain leverage via the litigation process. And while it’s accurate that the litigation filed by the players has delayed progress toward a new deal, it would be unfair to blame only the players for the filing of suit. The league knew that the players, when faced with a lockout, would likely shut down the union and sue. And yet the league still pushed the players to the brink of a lockout, essentially forcing the players to make their power play.
So it’s not the players’ fault that litigation has been pursued. It’s both sides’ fault for allowing the situation to get to that point. And the league’s insistence that only the players should be blamed eventually will become (if it hasn’t already) yet another impediment to working out a new labor deal.