During today’s ProFootballTalk Live, which featured a return visit from Commissioner Roger Goodell, I wanted to give him a chance to address the rumor that, if the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the lockout should be lifted, the league is considering shutting down all operations until a new labor agreement is negotiated with the players.
My goal was to give Goodell an opportunity to remove this inflammatory, controversial, and potentially catastrophic option from the table. As Rosenthal pointed out earlier today, Goodell opted not to do so.
Here’s the specific question: “We caught wind over the weekend of some talk that one of the potential alternatives in the event the lockout is lifted would be for the NFL to just cease all operations completely until a deal is reached with the players. Is that an option that’s on the table for the National Football League?”
Said Goodell: “Mike, the only thing I’m going to say in regards to any of these rumors — there’s all kinds of reports — is that we’re considering a variety of different alternatives based on the court decisions. We’ll have to do that, and we’re prepared to do that, and we’re going through that process.”
When it comes to issues such as, for example, the use of replacement players, Goodell hasn’t been reluctant to explain that the league isn’t considering that option. By not taking the shutdown option off the table — and by not even offering up a perfunctory “that’s not in our current plans” — it remains on the table.
Even if it’s an exercise in leverage, the fact that the option remains on the table is unsettling. In matters influenced by ego, emotion, and testosterone, sometimes things that are on the table but that were never meant to be used end up getting used.
The full interview with Goodell can be viewed at the PFT Live home page, and the audio is available for download via iTunes.