NFL, players both optimistic about playing on 9/11

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Last month, when the NFL released the 2011 regular-season schedule, all eyes went instantly to Week One.  The first Sunday of the campaign lands on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and the powers-that-be picked games aimed at properly remembering one of the darkest days in U.S. history.  The New York Jets will host a prime-time game against the franchise widely known as “America’s team.”  The Washington Redskins will host the New York team Giants.  Even the Steelers-Ravens game, given Baltimore’s proximity to the Pentagon and Pittsburgh’s  short distance from Shanksville, site of the United 93 crash, likely was picked in recognition of the significance of the date.

Before the killing of Osama bin Laden, the combination of the calendar and the selection of high-profile games placed even more pressure on the NFL and the players to work out their differences before the start of the regular season.  Given the finality flowing from the long-awaited demise of bin Laden, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 takes on greater significance — and the possibility of games not being played poses an even bigger threat to “the Shield,” pro football’s stylized answer to the stars and stripes.

Though plenty of you agreed with our assessment that bin Laden’s death makes it even more important that the games be played, plenty of you also exercised your First Amendment rights to strongly disagree with us, including literate, profound, and colorful phrases like “dumb shit.”

Regardless of whether bin Laden’s death raises the stakes for the NFL and the players, there’s no denying that a greed-induced failure to play on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 will inflict true “irreparable harm” on the sport that has become America’s pastime, possibly giving Major League Baseball a chance to reclaim the throne it occupied for so many years.

On that day, the Mets play in New York, the Nationals play in D.C., and the Pirates play in Pittsburgh.  If the NFL refuses to properly remember and honor those who died a decade earlier, baseball gladly will fill the void.

For now, the two parties to the $10 billion tug-o-war are saying the right things, even if they continue to engage in (to borrow a literate, profound, and colorful phrase) “dumb shit.”  In an episode of ESPN Outside the Lines devoted in large part to the issue, NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a written statement, “This is simple.  The players are suing to play football.  The owners continue to sue to stop the game.  That includes Opening Day.”

The league, of course, is singing a different tune.  “We clearly recognize the importance of our games on the 10th anniversary of 9/11,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, also in a written statement.  “It was a factor in how we scheduled games for that weekend and we have been working on an overall league-wide plan for that day.  We also recognize our shared responsibility to resolve our difference as soon as possible to ensure a full football season for NFL fans.  We remain optimistic that we will get there.”

It all sounds good, but the use of the term “shared responsibility” surely is aimed at allowing the NFL to place a large chunk of the blame on the players if 9/11 comes and goes without games being played.  The fact that the first four weeks of the season carefully have been structured to allow the missed games to be made up later means that the league doesn’t truly view 9/11 as the last opportunity to save the full season — which likewise means that the owners regard the possibility of not playing on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 as yet another potential consequence that will be forgiven and forgotten as long as each team plays its 16 games that count.

In many ways, the league already has underestimated the fans’ reaction to a work stoppage fueled not because anyone is doing poorly but because everyone is doing too well.  The worst possible miscalculation would be to assume that the fans will shrug at a failure to play as scheduled on 9/11.  And if the 32 emperors need tangible proof of that before they make like Joe Cullen on a Wendy’s run, they need only to consider the strong negative reaction to Rashard Mendenhall’s Twitter messages.

30 responses to “NFL, players both optimistic about playing on 9/11

  1. ” …possibly giving Major League Baseball a chance to reclaim the throne it occupied for so many years.”

    You’re taking the piss, aren’t you. Baseball?
    Seriously? HaHaHaHaHa!

  2. Unified patriotism in stadiums across the country to kickstart an NFL season shrouded in doubt…sounds like the perfect remedy to allow us to forget about the circus that has become the NFL.

  3. And what exactly will you be saying about this article when 60,000 vans get vaporized when a terrorist decides to blowup one of the stadiums on 9/11.

  4. Thousands of people lost their lives in the attacks, thousands of people who come home to a house with no fathers, no husbands, no wives, mothers, all because a warped radical didn’t like the way we lead our lives, and these players are arrogant enough to demand MORE money? Be grateful your still alive, and being paid handsomely to play a game!

    Shake my head at society.

  5. i’m sorry, but this is completely out of hand now. football’s cool, i love watching football and talking about football and whatnot, but the only significance that the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 and the NFL share is a significance manufactured by the NFL. i’m not buying it. given how the lockout has gone this summer, i’d almost prefer that an important day of remembrance doesn’t get turned into a self-serving spectacle by the NFL.

  6. @4evrnyt…nice try and making a statement, insinuating a mass disaster,..however its fans, not vans,..all you did was show you are an idiot that cant type. Nice try, but you failed.

  7. Somehow, i doubt the victims of the 9/11 tragedy families are going to miss their loved ones any less if football is played or not….

  8. NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a written statement, “This is simple. The players are suing to play football. The owners continue to sue to stop the game. That includes Opening Day.”


    Typical lawyer speak. Keep racking up that fee.

  9. @flyerscup2010

    Great comment, I agree with it (that is what the NFL will use it for), but it is also important for our country to fill up 14 stadiums (or whatever it is) with 60,000+ people and show the terrorists that they haven’t slowed us down one bit.

    Plus, the flyovers will be awesome! We know that the NFL is all about their $$$$$, but I can’t think of a better way to flip the bird to the terrorists on 9/11.

  10. Sorry, how can you be optimistic if no one is willing to bend or compromise? This is a buch of crap without any merit. Optimisim is when the sides are sitting at the same table talking, and not feeding BS to the media. Wake up and quit feeding us BS!

  11. NFL and 9/11 do not mix, end of story.

    Leave it to the media to say 9/11 and football correlate.

  12. Let the players stay home on 9/11. Open the stadiums and invite the armed forces to play each other in a friendly game and we fans will give them a three hour standing ovation.

  13. FACT: D. Smith walked out of CBA negotiations, decertified the union, had certain players file suit, and then did not attend at least one of the court ordered mediation session.

    Tell D. Smith to get his butt back into negotiations.

  14. Both sides are optimistic because they know that this entire off-season has unfolded precisely as they knew it would.

    Both sides have been preparing for this lockout for two years, and so far everything has happened exactly according to schedule.

    Once the 8th circuit rules, whoever loses will adjust their position, the deal will get done in mediation, and the new CBA will be entered as settlement of the lawsuit.

  15. Top US government insider Dr. Steve R. Pieczenik, a man who held numerous different influential positions under three different Presidents and still works with the Defense Department, shockingly told The Alex Jones Show yesterday that Osama Bin Laden died in 2001 and that he was prepared to testify in front of a grand jury how a top general told him directly that 9/11 was a false flag inside job.

    Pieczenik cannot be dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist”. He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under three different administrations, Nixon, Ford and Carter, while also working under Reagan and Bush senior, and still works as a consultant for the Department of Defense. A former US Navy Captain, Pieczenik achieved two prestigious Harry C. Solomon Awards at the Harvard Medical School as he simultaneously completed a PhD at MIT.

    Recruited by Lawrence Eagleburger as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Management, Pieczenik went on to develop, “the basic tenets for psychological warfare, counter terrorism, strategy and tactics for transcultural negotiations for the US State Department, military and intelligence communities and other agencies of the US Government,” while also developing foundational strategies for hostage rescue that were later employed around the world.

    Pieczenik also served as a senior policy planner under Secretaries Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, George Schultz and James Baker and worked on George W. Bush’s election campaign against Al Gore. His record underscores the fact that he is one of the most deeply connected men in intelligence circles over the past three decades plus.

  16. There needs to be pro football, our national sport, played on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It’ll be a way to sort of “escape” the sadness of watching the names be read and watching the ceremonies, both at ground zero, d.c., and shanksville, as well as the stadiums. Being able to let your emotions go and unify with thousands of others for a few hours of football will be perfect for this country on such a somber day.

  17. NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a written statement, “This is simple. The players are suing to play football. The owners continue to sue to stop the game. That includes Opening Day.”

    This is simple, Mr. Smith. You told the players to stop negotiating.

  18. Cue the whiny fans blaming the players (and now wrapping themselves in the flag to do it).

    If fans truly espoused American values, then they would be fully on the players’ side, who are free to demand their market value. Fans actually like taking the owners’ side, a bunch of crusty old dudes who are just trying to die with more money in their bank accounts? How does this make sense?

    “If I had $50 million I wouldn’t argue over $10 million more…”

    Yeah, you would. And if you wouldn’t, you’re stupid. In America, you take all that you can get. And NFL football players can get a lot.

  19. The NFL is a corporation. The idea that any corporation cares about America or their fellow citizens is a faerietale. They have a long list of what’s important… and every entry on that list is ‘money’.

  20. 4evrnyt says:
    May 8, 2011 12:34 PM
    And what exactly will you be saying about this article when 60,000 vans get vaporized when a terrorist decides to blowup one of the stadiums on 9/11.

    I’m sure 60,000 fans (or vans as you call them) wouldn’t mind giving you an a$$ whupping you moron

  21. @tecmobowl

    No, I wouldn’t. If I did, I would donate it. I know what it’s like to have NOTHING to your name. Some people don’t even have 10 dollars, let alone 10 million.

    The official word is “charity,” but I prefer “being a decent stand-up human being, and not a piece of sh*t.”

  22. Does anybody really care if baseball plays a game on 09/11? They play every freaking day. Football will return by then and baseball will remain a waste of time, whoops, I meant pastime.

  23. The NFL can have an influence on people’s lives look at what the Saints did on their first trip to the dome after Katrina. Think about all the lives lost in that. Think about the die hard Jets and Giants fans that lost their lives in those towers. Some of their loved ones might gather together every Sunday and what the games to reminisce on the times that cheered and booed. The whole thing boils down to greed both sides point blank!

  24. @nineleveninsidejob

    Oh, the Trusters will dismiss him. Just like they dismiss 1500 architects and engineers who’ve clearly made the case for controlled demolition of all 3 towers (WTC1, WTC2, WTC7).

    Tribalism is a powerful hallucinogen. It’s like trying to convince an opposing fan that a pass interference wasn’t just incidental contact.

  25. Rashard Mendenhall is going to ask for a moment of silence before the Pittsburgh Steelers game to remember his good friend Osama Bin Laden who he believes never got to give his side of the story, and may have possibly been framed by the U.S. Government that did a controlled demolition of the World Trade Center.

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