Antonio Pierce raises possibility of playoff strike


In November 2009, we posted that there were rumors flying that the players would stage a playoff strike.

Though we explained that a strike would be illegal and ill-advised and thus highly unlikely, the reaction to the mere suggestion of a playoff strike provoked a strong reaction.

“To be blunt, it’s a flat-out, bald-faced, capital-letters lie,” former Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas told Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports at the time.  “We’re not the ones who are interested in not playing.  We want to play.  We’re not going on strike.  We signed this agreement and we’re fine with it.  We’re happy.  We don’t want to stop playing football.”

The union declined to comment at the time on the situation, which made us wonder whether the union had assessed the situation and opted against a postseason walkout.

Now, a guy who played for the Giants in 2009 and who now works for ESPN has suggested in a series of tweets that players should “stand up” and walk out now, given that they possess maximum leverage.  (Antonio Pierce has since claimed he did not “urge” players to strike, but we think his Twitter page speaks for itself.)

As we explained it in 2009, the Collective Bargaining Agreement plainly states that a strike by the players or a lockout by the owners is not permitted during the term of the deal.  And since the deal currently lasts through the end of the current season, the players simply can’t refuse to work.

Any strike before March 4 would be illegal, and the players would face multi-million-dollar fines and damages awards, if the action ultimately were to disrupt the postseason and prevent playoff games from occurring.  (The league has commented on the illegality of a playoff strike at

When we posted the prior item regarding talk of a 2009 playoff strike, we were accused by some of being irresponsible for merely mentioning that the possibility was being discussed.  It’ll be interesting to see whether Pierce has to answer any tough questions within ESPN — the network that abandoned a fictional show about pro football when pressured by the league to do so — for recklessly, in our view, encouraging players to consider a blatantly illegal action.

But, hey, at least Pierce didn’t call anyone sweet cakes.

28 responses to “Antonio Pierce raises possibility of playoff strike

  1. a shame ESPN took that show off the air. Playmakers, it was called. I have the abbreviated season on a hard drive somewhere. I remember when the sh*t hit the fan about the show they cancelled it right when the team in the show was making the playoffs. Didn’t even allow them to air an episode to finish the show

  2. I would like to raise the possibility of winning the lottery. The possibility has henceforth been raised.

  3. It figures that a playoff strike is being proposed by a player who’s team is NOT in the playoffs.

    I wonder how the Patriots and Falcons players feel about it?

  4. So basically not a story worth writing, because it won’t happen. Unless YOU are the one stirring things up.

  5. Not a smart comment at all. Not shocking it comes from Pierce, he’s not exactly the best at filtering what comes out of his mouth. I’m sure he’ll retract it and apologize once he’s told of the consequences of the strike. There’s no reason at all for the players to open themselves up to lawsuits, fines, and increased leverage for the owners. Fans would get pissed if the playoffs were interrupted because of a player strike. I say let the owners lock them out and have them be the bad guy.

  6. I thought ‘union’ meant ‘together’. How can some players (or in this case a former player) urge this then when others out there will play?

    The owners probably just gained a bunch of money for this comment.

    I just hope the league stays strong. And don’t cancel the damn Super Bowl! When baseball cancelled the World Series I stopped watching baseball. I was one that would watch and score along at home. Now, it means nothing to me.

    Will I stop watching the NFL if the Super Bowl doesn’t happen for a year? I doubt it. But maybe I’ll take up another hobby.

    Women’s volleyball is always a nice thing to watch.

  7. Aren’t unions awesome…..we need more unions to protect millionaires from the evil dealings of billionaires.

    Strike/ lockout in NFL plus a 16 team tourney for college football = NEW favorite American sport.

  8. icewalker946 says Women’s volleyball is always a nice thing to watch.

    Lingerie Football League. That’ll help fill those empty stadiums at least while the weather’s still warm.

  9. The players continue to point the finger at owners..another try here. I still feel they better becareful both sides on this issue to play or not. both sides need to give some because there seems to be awhole lot of money sitting on the table to walk out on. Greed Greed Greed on both sides.

  10. Would never work. If the Eagles/Saints/Jets/Ravens decided to strike this weekend, the Packers/Seahawks/Colts/Chiefs would all too happily take a first round bye they weren’t expecting.

    The guys who are actually in the playoff are kind of interested in winning that shiny silver trophy about this time a year.

  11. .
    so what u r saying is the NFL hopes they go on strike cuz they will get more $$$$$$ from fines and MEGA $$$$

    they should strike on that very principal.

  12. @bluvayner

    “bluvayner says:
    Jan 5, 2011 6:00 PM
    It figures that a playoff strike is being proposed by a player who’s team is NOT in the playoffs. ”

    You’re right. The playoffs are on networks now (NBC, CBS, FOX), so Pierce’s team (ESPN) is NOT in the playoffs.

    Antonio Pierce does not play for any team. He retired after last season, and is in the employ of ESPN.

    Trying reading the words instead of just looking at the colorful pictures.

  13. Didn’t the Antonio’s giants go on playoff strike half way into the 4th quarter vs the iggles.

  14. The players and the NFL share in the animosity the fans feel about this situation. Right now we dislike them both about equally when it comes to their not being able to work something out.

    If the players were to pull a stunt like this, I would think the NFL would win, as the action is illegal, and the fans would hate the players a lot more than the NFL. Right now we see this whole thing as selfish business vs. selfish players. This could turn it into business vs. selfish, self-interested, spoiled brats.

  15. Here’s another example of an NFL player, or former NFL player, who’s simply out of touch of the inner workings of the CBA.
    Part of the reason this union is the weakest in sports is the players don’t have a clue what they have agreed to or even what the CBA says. The understand one thing only, “How much is my check every monday morning”.
    Even if a strike were legal, they wouldn’t get the votes to do it; these idiots live in the NOW!

  16. gcsuk says: “Trying reading the words instead of just looking at the colorful pictures.”

    bluvayner is probably an Eagles fan. Can’t expect them to read. It’s a medical miracle that he can even use a keyboard.

  17. @doe22us
    Wow, that makes absolutely NO SENSE. I don’t think Eli Manning has ever said a cross word about Antonio Pierce.

    If that was an attempt at humor (I think it was), then it failed miserably.

    And by the way, “buffoon” has 2 “o”s.

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