On Monday, Saints running back Reggie Bush made waves by suggesting that he enjoys the free time flowing from the lockout. Earlier in the day, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall made similar observations.
The difference? Bush claims he was joking. Hall apparently wasn’t.
“I’m definitely enjoying this time off,” Hall said, per Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “I’ve still been working out and doing things like that, definitely staying in shape, but to not have any pressures of being [in Ashburn], strict rules and things like that, it definitely feels good. Feels good to just have a break. You know, we normally start this stuff up March 15, so to have all that time off feels great right now.”
Hall said that, by pure luck, he was in town during the one-day lifting of the lockout. So he showed up for workouts and, depending on how long the lockout lasts, possibly earned the full amount of his $500,000 offseason workout bonus.
“I’m hardly ever in Tidewater, decided to go down there one weekend, end up getting an e-mail saying official workouts start tomorrow, be there,” Hall said. “So I hopped in the car, came up, got my workout in. The next day we got locked back out.
“[So I] get my workout bonus, definitely stoked about that. They can lock us out [until] whenever, because we don’t get paid right now anyway. That’s the little misconception that a lot of fans don’t know. We get paid those 17 weeks, that’s when we get paid. The offseason we don’t get paid anything. Right now I’m just enjoying not having any mandatory workouts and things like that,” Hall added.
“It feels kind of good to still be on summer vacation, so to say,” Hall said. “I’m enjoying myself, loving the downtime. Body’s getting a chance to really really heal up. I feel good.”
Still, comments like this make the fans feel something other than good. At a time when fans are ready to focus their frustration on anyone and everyone connected to the work stoppage, fans will react negatively to any comments from players indicating that they like the lockout — especially in light of the fact that the official position by the NFLPA* is that the lockout is inflicting irreparable harm on all players.
The truth is that different classes of players view the lockout differently. Established veterans are more inclined to like it, since they don’t have to endure the grind and they likewise don’t have to worry about a newcomer trying to take their jobs. Players due to become free agents would surely prefer that the lockout end sooner rather than later, so that they can sign new contracts — and possibly earn large signing bonuses. Rookies, though unsigned, want to become acclimated to the game. Young players who are on their way up likewise value the opportunity to get better.
Still, the players who regard the lockout as a welcome break from having to work out should probably keep their sentiments to themselves.