NFL won’t hold a CBA news conference next week

The days before the Super Bowl feature plenty of press conferences at the designated media center.

This year, there will be one less session than previously planned.

SportsBusiness Daily reports (via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that the NFL has scrapped its intention to allow Packers CEO Mark Murphy to discuss the current state of the labor negotiations.

“We had considered holding a media briefing next week on the CBA, but
since there has been little progress toward reaching an agreement we
decided there was no need for one,” NFL spokesman Greg
Aiello told SBD.  “The Commissioner will be available to the media on Friday to answer any CBA-related questions.”

The problem is that, without a separate conference dedicated to the CBA, either the labor issues or the non-labor issues (or both) will get short shrift during Roger Goodell’s “state of the league” address, which in Tampa last year featured very limited opening remarks from Goodell before the floor was opened for questions.

And there will be plenty of meat for fashioning questions to pose to Goodell, given that NFLPA Executive Director De Smith will meet the media a day before, in a session that will focus primarily if not exclusively on the CBA.

Thus, we think that the league should have held a CBA-only press conference on Wednesday of Super Bowl week, since that would have forced the agenda for the NFLPA’s press conference the next day.  Now, the union gets to set the agenda, forcing Goodell to respond on Friday to union contentions.

Either way, the league gets the last word.  Sometimes, however, the real value comes from getting the first word, too.