Plenty of NFL teams have had plenty to say about the events of the Friday, and we’ve been sharing all of them with you, right here.
What the hell else are we going to talk about?
The latest to arrive in our “in” box comes from Chargers president Dean Spanos, one of the ten men who tried to negotiate a new labor deal.
“I’m extremely disappointed in the Union’s decision to decertify, which led to the League’s difficult but necessary step to lock out, something we tried hard to avoid,” Spanos said. “The most efficient way to get a new deal done is through mediation and negotiation; not through litigation. The lawyers are the only winners in litigation. The fans, players and teams all lose. Unfortunately this action by the Union only delays the process.”
We disagree with a couple of things Spanos said in that initial paragraph. Though the decision to decertify chronologically led to the decision to lock the players out, it didn’t causally lead to the lockout. With or without decertification and litigation, the league most likely would have implemented the lockout at midnight on March 12. The union’s actions merely give the league someone to blame other than the league itself.
“I’m disappointed for the fans who care about the Chargers and this game we all love. I feel badly for our players. They’re good men that just want to play football and win a championship, but they’re caught in the middle,” Spanos added.
We wonder whether Spanos will say the same thing after he moves the team to Los Angeles.
“I’m most disappointed in the actions of the Union’s leadership that is supposed to be representing all of our players. They clearly were not negotiating in good faith right from the beginning. I believe their intention all along was to decertify and bring us to litigation,” Spanos said.
Yes, but the union leadership believes that decertification and litigation will help the players get the best possible deal. This isn’t about DeMaurice Smith trying to max out his profile; not decertifying and taking a lockout would have done that. The players pursued the course of action that they thought would deliver the best outcome, and the league will do the same.
“The Chargers will continue to do everything within the League rules to prepare to win a championship,” Spanos said, implying a level of aggressiveness that no team can really employ, since there’s no envelope to really push when the players are locked out. “Currently we’re preparing for a very important draft and will be ready to take advantage of all opportunities to improve our team.” (During a lockout, the draft is the only opportunity to improve the team.)
“We will get through this,” Spanos said. “There will be a new agreement and we’re looking forward to playing football this season. In the end, the final result will be an agreement that is good for the fans, fair for the players and teams, and will allow this game to grow and prosper in San Diego.”
It’s way too early for Spanos to suggest that football will be played this season. “If the NFL manages to shoot down the decertification in court, the lockout will remain in force until the union caves in to the league’s demands. And if it means missing games, then games will be missed.
And then all the teams will issue statements expressing regret, and blaming the union for forcing the league’s hand.