So the NFL Referees Association says it’s ready to negotiate. And now the NFL has responded by saying it’s ready to negotiate.
“[W]e are prepared to resume negotiations at any time,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said on Twitter, in response to the NFLRA’s press release. “NFLRA talks to the media a lot more than it talks to us.”
Actually, the NFL has done plenty of talking to the media. In comparison to the league’s public comments, the officials have been only slightly more talkative than Randy Moss.
Aiello reiterated his position in a follow up. “If NFLRA wants to talk, we are available,” he said. “We have a track record of success when it comes to negotiating major agreements.”
But how does the league define “success”? By driving such a hard financial bargain that it potentially drives its “partner” out of business, which is exactly what happened to the publisher of the league’s much-hyped and ill-fated NFL Magazine? Or does success mean setting aside the notion of pocketing as many dollars as possible and taking actions that reflect the long-term (and short-term) good of the game?
In this case, the league apparently defines success by propping up the replacement officials long enough to get the locked-out officials to cry, “Uncle!”
Again, the NFL has every right to do that, as a matter of business. And if that’s the approach the league is taking, it should just say so. “We’ve made a fair offer,” the league should say. “This is a second job for these guys. Until they decide they want to accept the offer, we’ll make other arrangements.”
Right or wrong, that’s precisely what’s happening.