Amid rhetoric, NFL and NFLPA continue to meet

Despite recent public sniping between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, talks between the two sides are “heating up,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said by phone on Saturday afternoon.

Atallah’s comments come at the end of a day that started with the disclosure of a letter from NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith explaining to players that the union’s “internal deadline” for working out a deal had passed, and that continued with NFL spokesman Greg Aiello releasing the following statement to the Associated Press:  “It is disappointing and inexplicable, especially for fans.  What deadline is he talking about?  We hope this does not mean the union has abandoned negotiating in favor of decertifying and litigating.  We are ready to meet and negotiate anytime and anywhere.  But it takes sustained effort and shared commitment to reach an agreement.  One side can’t do it alone.”

Atallah said, both on Twitter and via phone, that the “internal deadline” relates to planning only, and that it signifies no decision to abandon negotiating.  He reiterated something he said eight days ago on The Dan Patrick Show — although the union has the ability to decertify and block a lockout, the players prefer to work out a new deal.  Decertification would be followed by an antitrust lawsuit, after the league imposes across-the-board rules regarding salaries, free agency, and the draft.  As Atallah acknowledged, the matter ultimately would be resolved by an outsider; the union (and presumably the league) prefer that the parties work together to strike a deal.

That said, decertification would mean that there would be no work stoppage.

Though the negotiations are progressing, the question remains whether a strong push will be made to get a deal done before the end of the year.  We’ve heard mixed accounts regarding whether the league or the union — or both — are dragging their feet.

As we see it, there’s one way to remove any ambiguity.  Since the parties repeatedly have shown that they aren’t bashful about taking their cases to the people, we call upon each side to answer the following question on their respective labor propaganda websites, NFLLabor.com for the league and NFLLockout.com for the union.

Are you willing to devote at least three work days per week over the balance of the year to at least nine hours per day of negotiation?

When the rhetoric is stripped away, it really is that simple.  The parties either are willing to commit the time to face-to-face meetings, or they aren’t.

And if one side is willing to make that commitment and the other side isn’t, it will speak volumes.

Now we play the waiting game.

10 responses to “Amid rhetoric, NFL and NFLPA continue to meet

  1. Union seems to be losing the PR battle with their silly rhetoric.
    Don’t think lock in negotiations will matter, NFL wants to reduce pay and will.
    Only obstacle is how bad the union drags it out. Sooner they negotiate the better terms they’ll get. Drag it out and I see the players getting smacked around a bit.

  2. Atallah goes on Twitter and tries to recruit fans to sign petitions against the league when they should be sitting down at the negotiating table. I think most fans just want football and aren’t on either side – so for that reason alone, I wish the NFLPA would quit whining to the public and get their asses to the table for some serious negotiations. Most fans aren’t on the owners side or the players side — they’re on the fans’ side.

  3. Unjolly Roger and DeFudd went through an gamut of emotions, from skeptical to perplexed.

  4. Neither side will commit to anything until they are forced too. Anything said at this point is just posturing and scams aimed at gaining public/political support…none of it means anything. The deadline is not even the expiration date because it is essentially meaningless. The ownership will feel compelled to get something done just prior to the draft so they can plan appropriately. If the players try to leverage that date by making ridiculous requests, the owners will just become hardened to install an owner friendly rookie scale. The players will feel the squeeze as soon as the season approaches. They can decertify to prevent a lockout but the owners can just get some “scabs” to play. Then they can drop the prices drastically and the players would be screwed because it will show a direct correlation between ticket prices and player salaries. In the end, most fans are fans of the team…it won’t matter in the long run whose name is on the back of the jersey.

  5. Fans cheer for the team not the players

    The owners will just get a bunch of college, canadian, ufl players & the game will go on

    bad move by maurice & troops

  6. I don’t think Florio has the juice in the league to really force these two sides to come together. And if that’s what he’s really after he’s going about it all wrong. Because while Florio doesn’t have the juice with the league, he does have it with the many bloggers and columnists around the country. So instead of throwing down the gauntlet here, call your buddies up and get them to agree to do the following:
    1. Every last one of columnists and bloggers agrees not to cover either side. League or players. They can report what the AP puts out about press releases and what not, but no more.
    2. What you do write about are sponsors who are in bed with both the league and the players union. Say Reebok for example. Begin to discuss a possible boycott organized by all said bloggers and columnists against those sponsors.
    3. To back up point 2, start petitions on each blogger and columnists websites stating that the following readers will not buy your products for as long as the NFL and Players Union do not meet for a lock in. Or however else you want to phrase it.
    4. If that fails, start planning a week 17 no show. If the game isn’t important, don’t show up to it. Nothing makes as good a statement as a completely empty stadium to drive home the point of what they could be facing down the road.

    If you want to make these nimrods understand what’s at stake, you have to go where it hurts. Trying to make one look like a bigger idiot then the other in negotiations never works. Its all about resolve and how much money is on the line. If players are worrying about lack of sponsors and the league is worrying about losing ad revenue then perhaps they’ll finally understand that the fans won’t put up with this crap for very long. That they can, in fact, kill the golden goose. And that whatever money they are worried about losing is chump change compared the money walking out the door if this thing escalates too far.

    Quite simply, if they want to make this about money and not public opinion, fine. Make it about the money.

  7. So the players have to be locked out because management overspent on stadiums and the NFL Network?
    Consider this: the UFL. If the union decertifies, that would, in essence, make all the players free agents? Imagine a UFL with former NFL stars. Management would get their desired “lockout” but would have to start again facing fan anger and the possibility that a number of it’s former stars are playing somewhere else. The owners paid the outrageous salaries to begin with, had to keep up with the (Jerry)Joneses with new stadiums, set up the NFL Network then forced outrageous demands on cable TV companies, most of which refused to take the product. This, friends, is a prime example of NFL management gone crazy. This time, CUSTOMERS, have some guts and refuse to come back. They are locking the CUSTOMERS out too. See what kind of league they have after the lockout.
    IF THEY LOCK US OUT…DON’T COME BACK!

  8. @hodag: The NFL is too big/popular for fans to stay away. The UFL cannot possibly pay the players. The NFL might welcome their stars to play in the UFL for practice squad money…it is the same game and totally discredits all arguments the union has made regarding pay. Why should the NFL owners pay these guys millions when the player has proven he is willing to play the game for less than $100K. Fans are fans of the team more than they are fans of the players. Players get cut, injured, traded and retire every year; no roster is the same, yet the fans still root for their teams year after year. ALL players will eventually leave their teams and will be replaced by someone else. Decertifying the union is just a larger version of the transition that goes on every year. These players have the most to lose and the NFL owners know it. They hired the wrong guy at the top post in the NFLPA; he is not smart and can only see the little picture.

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