ESPN backs off prediction that players will vote Friday


On Thursday night, ESPN’s lockout coverage had a big banner in the upper left corner of my television screen.


Later in the night, we noticed it was changed to:


Now ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is backing off that timeline.  Speaking on SportsCenter Friday, Mort reported it was “unlikely” the players would vote on a new CBA on Friday.

NFLPA* DeMaurice Smith is at Myra Kraft’s funeral in Boston Friday.  That helps put in perspective how trivial this labor drama is when you take a step back from things.

Mortensen is hearing from the NFLPA* that a conference call with a player vote could be possible Friday night, but more likely it would take place on the weekend or early next week.  If there is no vote Friday, the timeline of free agency the league optimistically announced Thursday would presumably changed.

We’re not picking on Mort here. He broke a lot of ground throughout Thursday and kept viewers up to date throughout the process.  His information on a likely Friday vote yesterday came directly from NFLPA* leadership, according to his reporting.  It wasn’t off the record.

Once again, it’s a reminder that no one knows exactly how this will all end.  Not even those leading the process.

68 responses to “ESPN backs off prediction that players will vote Friday

  1. I’m amazed everyone is confused about what is going on here. The earlier predictions that De Smith has his own agenda were dead on. This is the greatest congressional campaign I have ever witnessed. Act like an incompetent, self-important, greedy boob…and you will surely end up in Congress!!! Smith ’14…I can see the bumper stickers already!!!

  2. Would be mad about this…but the funeral is bigger than this. Understand that something as trivial as a labor dispute takes a back seat to that and I think other fans should be understanding of that too.

    However, if there’s no vote tomorrow…

  3. You know what enough of this BS “F” the players
    do they really believe us fans think they are being cheated given a raw deal??? I DON”T THINK SO it’s a game gentleman and you get paid great money to PLAY a game whereas the people who come to cheer you on make far, far less and actually have real jobs…no sympathy here and i’m getting to the point where i’d give a rats a$$ if there was a season at all.

  4. De Smith needs to rein in the players because they are all over the various media outlets talking non-sense with no consistent message. Time to stop talking and put their money where their mouth is

  5. God I’ll be happy when I no longer have to look at DE’s dopey mug anymore.

    Guy, better thank his lucky stars he was born smart.

  6. Look, As long as the league approves of this deal, that’s the only thing matters at this point, it’s a lockout not a strike! Only thing the league needs to do is lift the lockout and turn on the lights, Where open for business! The players who want to get paid shows up… How can the Union can strike if they are decertify? Only the aging players reps like Spikes, and Player Reps who been free agents are complaining cuz this is their last hooray.. Even Al Davis knows this will be his final deal.. He won’t make it till the next CBA that’s why he didn’t vote…

  7. Yeah, this all so COMPLEX that it takes a genius with a law degree to figure it all out. If it requires that a majority of the players figure it all out, we’ll be lucky to have football again by 2014.

  8. De Smith does not have to be there, just vote. You ae quickly losing in the court of public opinion.

  9. Ill be getting my football news from from now on and am going to gear up for college football. Screw the players, screw the owners, Call me when the season starts.

  10. I don’t understand how all of these guys are so unaware of the details. I mean its their leadership that’s been negotiating the entire time.

    I would think that after they secured a decision on a given issue, they would have kept everyone in their organization in the loop.

    That way, when all is said and done at the end, everyone should be close to being up to speed with all the details.

    I understand that 1900+ Players requires much more logistical planning then 32 owners. But doesn’t the team player rep vote for the entire team? Or does each player vote?

    No matter, you would think they might have had, Ohhhh, I don’t know, some poorly paid employee planning the logistics of this well before we got to this point???

    It would seem that based on the info available so far, the players are getting a good deal. And if there has been a deal that’s been negotiated, wouldn’t both sides have an identical copy of the same deal that has already been negotiated?

    Surely there is alot of information that the general public is not privy too, but man, someone in the NFLPA* PR offices need to go back to school.

    Justified or not, the players are not looking very good right now period.

  11. Seems like this is all about D Smith and kessler now. Whatever the owners or media says, D smith takes the opposite stance. The deal was ratified by the owners and d smith is still posturing. What a clown.
    Now players are coming out saying that the nflpa never told them any details about the new cba or that they were keeping them secret!!!!

    This stuff is so far over the head of some of these player reps it isn even funny. Well guess what, Apparently, d smith is in way over his head too.

  12. The comments in all these labor-related posts strongly suggest that the majority of NFL fans are a bunch of thin-skinned crybabies who have no understanding whatsoever of the ins and outs of collective bargaining, and even less grounding in logic.

    This sentence says it all: “NFLPA* DeMaurice Smith is at Myra Kraft’s funeral in Boston Friday. That helps put in perspective how trivial this labor drama is when you take a step back from things.”

    In other words, grow up, fans.

    The players have every right to make sure they understand the deal they’re about to sign. It’s a ten-year commitment, nothing to sneeze at. Plus, these labor deals are always written in language that even lawyers have a hard time understanding.

    Without them, you don’t tune in on Sundays. And they put their bodies at risk in ways you can’t even imagine.

    So give these big fat hairy guys a big fat hairy break.

    Go do your jobs, play with your kids, and make love to your wives. And most of all, quit bellyaching.

    There will be football this fall.

  13. My kids would to ask every 5 minutes while driving to the vacation spot “Are we there yet” and I would reply “Not Yet”. The fans are the kids and are way too impatient.

  14. So if the owners snuck in things after the fact and the players feel hoodwinked umm you still can’t vote I mean if that’s how you feel VOTE NO or is all this BS???

  15. I’ve said it may not happen today but it will happen eventually. Thing is that the NFLPA is having a testosterone moment and they have to show they have hairy nougats to prove to the world they are tough. Yes they could vote, but that is what the owners want them to do, so they won’t, they could reconstitute the union by electronic means but that is what the owners want so they won’t do it. The fact is, no matter what is right or wrong, if they can stick it to the owners one last time, then they will. Unfortunately, these are your business partners for 10 years and you have no legal oversite on this contract so you’d better start acting like partners instead of acting like enemies. Quite frankly, I have followed this for two days hoping for a resolution, but like this article states, F the players, they can vote when they want, but they have to realize, they are going to get pounded at the stadium by the fans when they do decide to return and they will be the first to flip the bird, cuss out fans, and act like idiots. I am done with the players, I have not had one nice thing to say about them since this started and I can’t think of one now, so I am going to shut up and get my revenge at the stadium with signs explaining exactly what I think about the players.

  16. The NFLPA can’t even explain to there party what exactly it is that they agreed to over the last 4 months of negotiating. How in the world can we expect them to make a coherent decision on when to vote.

    Duh, we’ll vote when we vote, at a time we decide to vote, not forced by the league to vote, we may have a vote on when to vote. But first, we must wait on our voters to actually read what they’re voting on before we vote although they have already slung mud on what is contained within the document of which we are voting on.
    Sincerely, DuhM Smith

  17. You know what? I’m tired of this. It’s time for the owners to just backoff and let the players dig their own graves. Give them until next week to vote to save the preseason, then if its still not ratified at that point, take the deal off the table. Trust me, the players won’t last one month without their paychecks and they’ll come crawling back and most likely settle for A LOT less than what was originally offered…..just ask the NHL.

  18. Stay Strong, Players!! Stay Strong!!! Don’t sign a 10 year agreement unless you actually, you know, agree with it.

    These fans and bloggers won’t give a flying flip about you after you can no longer play. Do the right thing. Do the right thing for you and your family and don’t be swayed by the angry rants of people who don’t matter.

  19. With all the freaking out going on by players and reps and Executive team members over what has been negotiated… they simply might not have the votes. Maybe they are hoping everyone settles down?

    If they don’t vote by Monday… that doesn’t bode well for those of us who

    a. liked and enjoyed NFL football
    b. wanted to like and enjoy an NFL season in 2011

  20. The players union seems to be like anarchy right now, everyone is in charge but no one is. Seems like there are several factions & even some splinter groups from the factions. Everyone thinks they know whats going on but no one really does. Players think the deal is bad & they’ve been hoodwinked or duped, but they haven’t seen it or read it to know that. Ask any player making that comment what is wrong w/ the deal & not 1 has an answer, they’re just going w/ the party line of the group against the deal. This is just going on too far. Either vote & accept the deal, or bring on the scabs & let these whiny babies sit home & collect nothing. O wait, they have a 200k “Insurance Fund”. That should work real well for the idiots who spend more then they make!!

  21. Every week this is delayed kills a thousand fantasy leagues with 10-12 guys playing… the fantasy draft becomes problematic when you have no idea of the future, and many drafts require travel and prior planning.

    So, those guys will be less likely to follow football, buy Sunday Ticket, subscribe to a football website, go to a sports bar… I know I stopped playing fantasy baseball during their work stoppage and NEVER WENT BACK.

    Fantasy Football is a big reason the NFL is destination television and the top league in the land, and the players are going to kill it for many, many enthusiasts. Thanks, morons.

  22. mswravens said:
    Jul 22, 2011 11:01 AM
    Act like an incompetent, self-important, greedy boob…and you will surely end up in Congress!!! Smith ’14…I can see the bumper stickers already!!!


    It worked for DeSmith’s buddy Obama in the presidential election.

  23. Luckily for these clowns I’m not a billionaire NFL owner or I’d be pushing, “vote by close of business Friday or find a new gig. Were calling replacement players at 5:01. Well start all over, most of you guys will come back because you’re broke, or wont find a gig making millions for playing a game, and the rest well forget about within 2 years. Balls in your court. Hope to hear from you before 5.”

    Did I mention I’d have said this in April? Players and expendable, try really have no leverage.

  24. In a span of the last 24 hours i went from pretty much celebrating there was football to I hope the season gets cancelled with these kind of bush league things that have gone on…. I guess from the players side we are seeing the effect of what concussions do to these guys, being unable to process large amounts of grown up words…. I guess thats why they hired De Smith “UM UM UM” “DUH DUH DUH”

  25. rooter1973 says:
    Jul 22, 2011 11:09 AM
    Give them until next week to vote to save the preseason, then if its still not ratified at that point, take the deal off the table.


    Not only do I agree, but I think that could very well happen. Then it’s off to court. The good news is by the time the Supreme Court and Congress get through with it (sometime in 2012 we hope), it might actually be legal to have a sports league in America.

    The bad news is by the time the Supreme Court and Congress get through with it (sometime in 2012 we hope) sports leagues might be ruled illegal according to anti-trust legislation, and professional leagues will devolve into shadows of their former selves.

  26. Are we really expected to believe that the NFL owners, smart business men that they are…really expected the NFLPA to vote on an eight pm conference call without being provided a copy of the CBA? How is it possible that D. Smith didn’t have or couldn’t easily obtain a copy? Weren’t the NFLPA lawyers involved in writing it? It’s just so entirely implausible.

    When I heard Smith give his “Well guess what?” speech yesterday afternoon, I knew they were grandstanding….and that’s exactly what’s taking place right now. This is on the players. Their motives are transparent….and they just look bad.

  27. Why do we believe the players and think they should not trust the owners? Who looks dumber the owners for signing an agreement that the players supposedly hadn’t even seen before or the players for acting like they just found out about the final agreement last night. I also heard from some that the owners put all this stuff in there that wasn’t discussed? LIKE WHAT?

  28. How can the players say that owners tried to slip stuff in when they admitted they haven’t even seen the deal yet. Rhetoric. It’s all noise at this point. If they miss games the players will be hurt the most. I am sure the patriots owner and most owner will be ok.

  29. If the owners lift the lockout.. What the “Union” going to Do? Sue to unlock it again?

  30. You have to love the era we’re in. I have my laptop, smartphone, ipad, text messages, blog sites, RSS feeds, the internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc. As do all the reporters, lawyers, players, and agents.

    Does anybody else think that maybe this would not seem nearly as dramatic if there were a few less ways to report things? I know how much I, and everyone else loves football. Believe me I do. But a little less reporting at this point would be great. Just let us know when it’s done.

    I feel like we’re watching sausage being made.

  31. Once again, it’s a reminder that no one knows exactly how this will all end.

    I’m beginning to wonder if we should change that sentence to no one knows exactly IF this will all end.

  32. The Reason the Player Reps didnt send it out for a vote is because the majority of the players want football.. If you think it’s a crooked deal.. send it to the table ,let the majority vote and veto the darn thing down.. Then and only then go back to the nego table.. but you know.. they know they can’t do that.. and the league pull a powe move on them. and lifting the lockout… lolz Amazing!

  33. It makes no sense for ESPN to back off of any prediction. Instead they should continue to make uninformed predictions ad nauseam so at least some of them will come true. It’s kind of like a broken clock being right twice per day.

  34. Bills player rep George Wilson put his foot in his mouth this morning with Tony Bruno, saying they just wanted a “profitable” deal for everyone, then promptly saying “It’s not about the money.”

    Yes, George, it is about the money, and we all know it. He threw in some grandstanding about how the owners “slipped in” a requirement to recertify by Tuesday, pretending we live in a world without conference calls (legal voting procedure) and next-day delivery ( that can reach all 1920 players).

    I suppose the players will become familiar with delivery procedures when they get UPS jobs.

  35. Ok…The owners started the lockout and now they have unlocked the doors. So,…Now they are telling the players…come back to work…Yet they dont come back to work. BUT…Its not a strike,becuz they arent a certified union as of now. SO,,they players are in a quandry. The owners did pull a fast one,,but the players deserve it. the lockout was never about them anyway. They have more than what they started with..they are just mad becuz the owners have put the ball in their court. Makes them look bad. If theres no football ,,its not the owners fault.

  36. First of all, let me once again express my condolences to the Kraft family. I’m sure Myra’s passing was expected given her battle with cancer, but that doesn’t ease the pain of her loss. God rest her soul.

    Now….this has become the equivalent of a couple who dates for a while, and then one of the people backs off saying s/he isn’t quite ready for a committed relationship yet. Then some time later, the person who had originally backed off approaches the other for another shot, claiming s/he is truly ready for a relationship. They give it another go, and that same person still comes back a couple weeks later with the same excuse. The cycle keeps repeating, driving both sides (and friends of each person) mad. On one hand, it’s comical, but on the other, it’s infuriating and frustrating. I realize the importance of reading through all the legalese and understanding the details, but if the players do want a full season they’re going to have to move quickly.

  37. These guys apparently can’t do a single thing without De Smith.

    It also seems like they can’t do a damn thing with him either.

    If a single regular season game is missed because of this I will not watch a single game on tv.

    These guys don’t give a crap about us. That much is evident.

    They obviously feel we are replaceable. Shouldn’t we feel the same way about them?

  38. DeMo doesn’t need to be there. He’s the one that decertified the union and walked out. The players just need to get off their ass and vote.

  39. Without them, you don’t tune in on Sundays. And they put their bodies at risk in ways you can’t even imagine.

    Are you kidding ? …..There is a FAR GREATER chance that WITH THEM…..we won’t be watching football this season !!!!!!!!!!!!and besides that…”The sky is falling “

  40. ESPN was hoodwinked by the publicity stunt by the owners on Thursday when they agreed to the contract THEY wrote.

    You wouldn’t sign a rental agreement with a landlord with whom you’ve had a long dispute without taking the time to read every single line. Why do you expect the players to suddenly agree without reading it?

    Reading the many negative comments, it’s reasonable to come to the conclusion that many of the posters are 1) paid PR staff by the league; b) naive and ignorant; or c) just want to blame someone.

  41. I am just sick and tired of all this childish BS. Doesn’t one single writer out there have at least half a brain to ask for specifics, you know real answers. Or is their sole purpose that of a media tool/drone and try to become the first to say I published the story first. With all the nonsense written, am I lead to believe that while at the 11th hour the owners are going to sabotage months and months of negotiations?!! Too many of the fans and readers have become nothing more than gullible antennas tuning in and spewing forth the propaganda that’s fed to you. But what makes me worry about the actual educational mentality of us as a nation, is the fact, no matter what is written and how absurd, there are many out there replying like they just read the gospel. **shakes head in disbelief** The truth of the matter is either the players are receiving bad information form self serving lawyers (possibly)…OR, they themselves are playing childish power trip games with the league and will continue to do so until 1 or maybe 2 of the pre-season games are cancelled.(more likely) (bargained for but didn’t get a 2 game pre-season) This time of the year what player wants to go to training camp?(have you asked yourself that question?) Now concerning the “illegal” or “underhanded clause” is nothing more than the League requiring the NFLPA to unionize again so that no individual players can bring lawsuits against the NFL. No the NFL can not make them, nor give them a time table to become a union, that has to be of their own free will. But to have a “collective bargaining agreement” there must be a “collective” therefore a union! There is a time table to get the NFL back to normal operations, this doesn’t happen as soon as the lock-out is lifted. The front office has a multitude of responsibilities concerning ALL aspects of football operations to get in order. They don’t just show up – get a physical, playbook and go workout. I just hope the masses begin to look outside the box, read between the lines, and think for themselves.

  42. granadafan says:

    You wouldn’t sign a rental agreement with a landlord with whom you’ve had a long dispute without taking the time to read every single line. Why do you expect the players to suddenly agree without reading it?

    Reading the many negative comments, it’s reasonable to come to the conclusion that many of the posters are 1) paid PR staff by the league; b) naive and ignorant; or c) just want to blame someone.


    If my lawyers and the guys I hired to represent me worked with the lanlord to come up with a fair rental agreement for the last few months then yes I would still read it but I would also believe that I’d know what was in it before reading it because those guys I hired would have kept me apprised of what they had agreed to on my behalf.

    Your analogy is dumb and doesn’t fit the situation because it implies the owners made this deal and gave it to the players to sign without help from the players lawyers or under direct mediation of a Judge.

  43. To those confussed: Players are employee’s, Owners run the companys. If you don’t like getting thousands of dollars for working at a GAME, find other employment. You are well paid for your time, if you don’t protect your spending for a rainy day,you can’t blame the owners. There is always another player to relace you. Greed will get you a short career ask J.Russell. The union is out to ruin the sport, not help it. It wants power, not compromise. Unions have ruined more buisness’s than any other group.(Check the stats) This could have been settles months ago if it weren’t for unions and lawyers. WHO’S STILL CONFUSSED???? NOW GET THE GAME STARTED!!!!!!

  44. PLAYERS,”It’s too hot to go to training camp.”

    SMITH, ” OK, I have a couple ideas, first we’ll require hand written cards signed by every player and have them mailed.

    LAWYERS, “Ok, we’ll come up with some legal BS to slow this down.”

    FANS, “wait, what???”

  45. Last word from players rep’s, they want a statue of Smith in front of every stadium before start of season.

  46. The players care about the details like Pelosi and the Dems read the healthcare bill. Go ahead and vote no so your loans remain past due and the repo guys can come get your cars.

  47. Players are not voting till early next week, if then. Kessler is attempting to steal the union from the NFLPA in order to gut the NFL. Kessler is looking at a 500 million payday and needs the players to do it. The whys and wherefores have already been mentioned by PFT. There is simply no reason for the players not to vote tonight or tomorrow on the new CBA and to reconstitute the union. The players are dreaming about owning half of the NFL. The owners will simply close the doors, release every player from contract and start over the way they want IT,,,IT being the NFL. To many cooks in the kitchen. This looks really bad if your an NFL fan. I can help but laugh. Id love to see the players comment business suicide.

  48. Wow, what’s with the Republican right-wing vitriol here?

    Do you guys really have such little in your lives that you have to get your shots in on a football website?

    Turn off your fat, pill-popping, little-boy sex tourist idol Rush Limbaugh and try — just try –to be relevant here. Just because your political party prefers to live in the early 1800’s doesn’t mean you need to.

  49. If what mackie66 says come to fruition, then the NFL product would suffer for about 3-4 years as new talent (college draft) is influx within the new league. But just think the average fan would once again be able to afford to buy a ticket and go to a game w/o taking a second mortgage out on their house…send the player’s lawyers straight back to hell!

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