Assuming that De Smith’s stated desire not to reconstitute the union comes from an effort to establish leverage, it’s safe to say that, eventually, there will be a Collective Bargaining Agreement. When that happens, one term could be — and some would say should be — expanded rules regarding the use of social media.
Currently, the NFL regulates only the timing of posts on Twitter, Facebook, and similar applications, preventing players from posting during the window that extends from 90 minutes before a game begins until the post-game media availability has concluded. Under the expired CBA, teams had the ability to impose fines for so-called “conduct detrimental to the team,” as the Chargers did with former San Diego cornerback Antonio Cromartie, after he complained on Twitter about the quality of the food at training camp.
Len Pasquarelli of TheSportsXchange.com raises the question of whether the NFL and the post-asterisked NFLPA would be able to agree on the terms of a social-medial policy aimed at protecting players and, in turn, protecting teams. However, it seems a tad far-fetched to think that the league and the players, who currently can’t agree on the contents of the calendar, would ever devise a mutually beneficial list of dos and don’ts for the use of Twitter and Facebook and whatever their future equivalents will be. Besides, the notion of win-win bargaining has transformed into a leverage game, with one side thinking not about how a proposal could help everyone but instead how an agreement on that point could be parlayed into a concession.
Thus, while it would make plenty of sense for the league and the players to develop a policy that would deter the men who play the game from saying stupid things on Twitter or Facebook, it’s a topic that would best be addressed long after the two sides have gotten past the point at which “smh” punctuates every communication between the two parties.