Making sense of the last 12 hours

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Of all the crazy nights I’ve experienced in nearly 10 years of doing this, last night was the craziest.

With the representatives of a supposedly toothless trade association gathered since Wednesday in Washington, fully aware that the owners would vote on a labor deal Thursday, it initially appeared that the players simply wanted to make the owners go first, for fear that if the players approved the proposed deal then the owners would try to pull a fast one.

And so the owners went first, and the players quickly claimed that the owners tried to pull a fast one.

The problem seems to be that, because the owners previously have pulled multiple fast ones, the players are understandably leery as the process of striking a decade-long labor deal reaches conclusion.  And with NFLPA* leadership focused on digesting the final proposal and making a good decision about how to proceed, it appears that NFLPA* leadership didn’t have the time or the inclination to herd the many cats who took to Twitter and ESPN and NFL Network to send conflicting messages about what comes next.

Part of the problem is that there are conflicting interests among the rank and file.  Plenty of guys (especially those without contracts) want to get this done.  And plenty of guys who possibly would face losing their starting jobs and/or roster spots if rookies and/or free agents have enough time during training camp to leapfrog the incumbent lineup would like to slow it down for a couple of weeks.

Through it all, and as Morten Andersen Chris Mortensen reported to end the evening, NFLPA* leadership remains optimistic that this will get done.  It meshes with the surprisingly positive text message I received last night from a high-ranking NFLPA* source as all hell was breaking loose.  The NFLPA* was disappointed that the NFL presented its approval of the deal in a celebratory manner (I think Jags owner Wayne Weaver had tears in his eyes when talking about it on NFL Network), since that put pressure on the players to get something done.  But the NFLPA* remained optimistic that it will all work out.

With the Hall of Fame game now canceled and the first preseason games three weeks away, there’s a little more time to work this all out.

The best way to do that will be for the NFL to stop applying public pressure to the players.  Even if what the NFL is saying is 100 percent accurate, the players don’t want to hear any of that from the NFL right now.  The players want to make their own decision without being told what they should do by league.  It’s a basic human-relations reality that the men who run the NFL would be wise to acknowledge and respect.

Besides, let’s not underestimate the possibility that, after being forced to sweat by the owners for more than three years, the players relish the opportunity to make the owners sweat a little, even if it’s only for a day.

Once the parties worked out a revenue split for an ever-growing multi-billion-dollar pie, the hardest and most difficult and contentious issue between them had been resolved.  The parties should be able to work out whatever issues remain at the twelfth hour.

That’s not a prediction that they will.  But they should be able to.

Especially if NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith is recommending the deal.  Apart from what the Executive Committee and the board of player representatives may think, this thing gets done if 50 percent of the players plus one vote for it.  If/when the deal gets sent to them with a recommendation from De Smith that they accept it, 50 percent plus one of them definitely will.

58 responses to “Making sense of the last 12 hours

  1. We fans have known the major details for several days…how ignorant are these players to be so shocked? The players are getting a softer practice schedule over the next 10 years than any high school program in the country. And as total revenue increases from the current $9.3 Billion to as high as $20 Billion plus over the next 10 years the players salaries will double in that time span, not too shabby if you ask all of us working stiffs.

  2. So let me get this straight….. by the owners acting responsibly and approving the deal first they are applying public pressure by telling the media? This doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. This is a pretty fair read so I’m not gong to claim bias here, but a lot of media types keep making a similar claim.

    The question I have for those media type/pro union guys is, would you be saying the same thing about public pressure had the players approved the deal first? Or would you be applying the pressure on the owners to get it done?

  3. The NFL really doesn’t have to apply anymore pressure. The Fans & the media will apply all the pressure that’s needed at this point. The NFL did its part and ratified the agreement. Ball is in the players hands now. Let’s just hope for the game’s sake that they don’t fumble it.

  4. “The best way to do that will be for the NFL to stop applying public pressure to the players. Even if what the NFL is saying is 100 percent accurate, the players don’t want to hear any of that from the NFL right now.”

    Nothing like some good old down-the-middle reporting Mike. Sometimes your columns make me want to throw up and this one is no exception. The NFLPA leadership should be trusting De Smith, and he had a handshake deal with Goodell on the deal the owners voted on. Why don’t you report THAT instead of kissing the players asses ONCE AGAIN!!!

  5. These guys won’t even be around in 10 years, so the next chance to make the “sweat” won’t happen. Enjoy your 24 hours of revenge at the fan’s expense.

  6. This explanation makes sense of the last 12 hours to those that believe everything the players say.

    It would have been sghorter to just say “The players knew the owners were going to vote on a proposal on Thursday. The player leadership was totally unprepared to control the rank and file and tell them to hold comment until the leadership reviewed the proposal. The owners were wrong for not taking into account how bad the player leadership is.”

    If ultimately the player leadership believes last nights proposal is worth submitting to the players for a vote, will we see posts here (not comments) that the players were dead wrong to complain about the “fast one slipping” owners sneaking things in the deal?

    D smith just had to text Mort or whoever “We are happy to receive a proposal from the owners, we will review it and determine if it can/should be submitted to the players for a vote.” Instead whahh whahh

  7. Until I find out what last second changes were supposedly made by the owners I won’t be supporting either side. By the end of the day we should know whether or not they were egregious enough to prevent a deal being done. So unfortunate that the fans, the most important part of this formula as we are the unfortunate saps who will be doling out $10 billion, are being kept in the dark.

  8. It is very clear that the NFLPA had no intention of signing anything before the NFL signed their agreement.

    The players are acting like they don’t even know any of the parameters of this agreement. This is a clear failure in leadership from top to bottom.

  9. Really yesterdays behavior by the players reps and De Smith, was akin to a real estate agent, asking for the seller to repair one more thing at settlement. DS and the players reps are just trying to show the public and other players that they have their back. It has nothing to do with the owners sneaking something in, or the deal not being good, just a few dopes trying justify their existence, much like a real estate agent.

    The tweeting players trying to act as though big bad man is trying to get one over on them, simply shows what fools many of the players are. Hey Heath Evans, I hope you are this much of loud mouth when you are trying to sell insurance ina few years; maybe then you will get a grip on reality.

  10. How about making sense out of the last 4 months… I doubt it will happen, but I hope this somehow goes down as a black eye on the NFL as a whole. I love the league, and I respect the negotiation and need for a new CBA, but did it really have to entail all this bickering, deception, legal posturing, and mixed messages? I shouldn’t be surprised I guess. Oh, and it’s BALLZ hot here today.

  11. Well how many more times is this site and others going to publish players TWITter moments as gospel. Heath (liar, liar pants on fire) Evans was on NFLN and when ask point blank what got inserted into the CBA, DUH- couldn’t name a single thing, only rambled on about the DOTY case. I am sick of these players (drama queens), as I am the Owers (PR MACHINE). Both of these are grown men and threating each other to take the ball and go home. Well let them last night was the last straw…….SCREW EM’.

  12. The best way to do that will be for the NFL to stop applying public pressure to the players. Even if what the NFL is saying is 100 percent accurate, the players don’t want to hear any of that from the NFL right now. The players want to make their own decision without being told what they should do by league. It’s a basic human-relations reality that the men who run the NFL would be wise to acknowledge and respect.

    Besides, let’s not underestimate the possibility that, after being forced to sweat by the owners for more than three years, the players relish the opportunity to make the owners sweat a little, even if it’s only for a day.


    I think it’s safe to say that the majority of players didn’t attend college for academic reasons. They need to get past their need to stop comparing the size of their penises with the owners and use their heads for something other than hitting other players.

  13. The players have leverage now, since the new settlement can be accepted by the players up until next Tuesday.

    Players should reply back to the owners with any changes to the settlement on Monday night, so all of the pressure falls back on ownership to approve or else preseason games go bye-bye.

  14. I said yesterday it was no big deal if the players didn’t vote and today I will say it’s not a big deal if they don’t vote today. If the players want to take their time and parse this document instead of trusting their leadership on this, then that says more about De Smith and the NFLPA than it does about the process. They will have a copy of the CBA in front of them today, (owners voted from same “shortened” paperwork the union reps had last night and they passed it) they can review it till their hearts is content, Pash said last night that it is their baby now and we are not setting a timeline and their process is their process and they will figure it out. You know what, they will figure it out. Reps will vote in the next couple days, rookies and in-house free agents can start working on deals, and quite frankly, teams might not complain if they have an extra day or two or three to get their own players signed. The baby is born, we just have to wipe the crud off of it before it will be acceptable to everyone.

  15. After listening to Palontonio on ESPN radio this morning you really have to question the players overreaction to this.

    It involves the league revenue sharing amongst the clubs to ensure that all clubs remain solvent and on equal footing.

    Given that it doesn’t affect what the player’s negotiators have agreed to for compensation you have to wonder if these guys just don’t want to go through the rigors of training camp.

  16. @twitterChapmanJamie

    I agree. Makes no sense to me either.
    Just wondering. Are you from Ohio?
    I once knew a Jamie Chapman from there and was a huge football fan.

  17. The players are acting like snobby oil girls right now. When this started i what problem player, now i feel the NFLPA* are Acting like they have never seen legal papers before. Its getting embarrasing

  18. This is a bit curious; this is a trade organization, why does it require a parliamentary vote. It is not a Union so whom do these representatives represent?

    The recertification is a shame as the organization was never stopped acting and operating as a Union. Dues where not collected because they are typically tied to paychecks, like FICA is withheld.

    Why can’t the player just report to the facilities and or to their representative (agents) that they accept the terms of the revised CBA, are they not at this point all independent contractors?

    My guess, the so-called leaders are choosing litigation as opposed to settlement. Their “handshake deal” was just a ploy to have the owners put all of their cards on the table and the lawyers, who are guiding this Union and not the rank and file, will continue to push for a court ordered resolution.

    This “trade organization” as never negotiated in Good Faith, and they continue to demonstrate their inability to compromise.

    I hope I am wrong!

  19. Yep…. public relations has to treat these spoiled brats like rare china… for heavens sake we don’t want to see them pout. I have a suggestion for the “jocks”.. Go get a real job. Nobody is forcing you to work for the NFL.

  20. Funny how I actually find D Smith a more sympathetic figure these days. I used to loathe the guy.

  21. “The best way to do that will be for the NFL to stop applying public pressure to the players.”

    You mean the way that the players, the NFLPA*, and YOU tried to apply public pressure to the owners to immediately open for business after “Judge Nelson has spoken”? I guess you don’t like it when the shoe is on the other foot huh?

    Seriously, your pretense of impartiality in this dispute is totally shot. Just because you occasionally take shots at Jeffrey Kessler doesn’t mean you are impartial, dude. Most of the players are taking shots at Jeffrey Kessler, too.

  22. “So let me get this straight….. by the owners acting responsibly and approving the deal first they are applying public pressure by telling the media? This doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. ”

    Point is, they approved “a” deal, not “the” deal. The latter suggests that it was 100% the product of negotiation and the two negotiators reviewed it before it went out. That was not the case.

    My take is that the players saw stuff unrelated to them (revenue sharing) and assumed it was something new being slipped in to screw them.

    Poor job be DS not to have prepped them and controlled the reaction. Granted that’s a lot to ask when so many individuals are involved.

    Deal will get done, timeline will remain the same.

  23. What cracks me up and what everyone seems to be missing here is the players sending out tweets about how the NFL left things out were totally bogus. They were tweeting things they were uninformed of as mentioned in this read.

    It’s just one more way of proving the players have done everything in their power to prolong this. Not all players but some of them.

    Bottom line is this. If DeSmith has worked out a deal with Goodell that should be all that matters now. DeSmith should have been telling the 32 player reps on the conference call last night and the vote should have been done no later than this morning. This would have given time for the player reps to get back to their teams, scan the voting cards back and forth. If the players truly cared about getting back to football then they would have been more than willing to last a few extra hours last night to work things out. The point is they weren’t.

    In summary the players are taking as much time as they want and in turn making the fans (the people that pay to watch them so they can earn the salaries they do) wait longer for no reason.

  24. Wow. Auto Spell destroyed my post lol sorry. The players are acting like lil girls not oil girls. And i used to be pro player not a problem player. Again the only thing embarrasing was my last post. Sorry again.

  25. What a bunch of freaking little children. It’s like you have to use reverse psychology on them. If you want a kid to do something, just order him not to and he’ll do it just to prove you aren’t the boss of him.
    The owners signed it so now the players are balking, as though if owners like it, it must be bad for us! The NFL should have refused to sign then publicly declared the deal as unfavorable to them. I bet the players would have signed off right away thinking the owners didn’t want it so it must be favorable to them, and that now public opinion would be in their favor while we all waited on the NFL to ratify it. Then the owners could have reconvened and signed like they intended to all along.

  26. Let’s realize that no one, besides the media, said that there would be a vote by the NFLPA* last night… We should stop assuming that every conference call by the NFLPA* is for the purpose of a vote.

  27. Check and mate – IF all this is true (a huge if considering the source) this was a brilliant move by the owners.

    There’s NOTHING the players can do now except agree otherwise they look like even greedier sobs than they are.

  28. I disagree, some of the players are – in fact – acting like oil girls.

    And I just found a possible fantasy football team name.

  29. “I have a suggestion for the “jocks”.. Go get a real job. Nobody is forcing you to work for the NFL.”

    Glac, stop it. If Peyton Manning retired the entire city of Indianapolis would fly down to New Orleans and beg him to come back. Look at what happened with Favre.

    You want them on that wall. You NEED them on that wall!!

  30. So many jealous women giving me the “thumbs down” because Big Ben is off the market after tomorrow !

  31. The de-certified union should find someone who can actually read and sit the players down and read the agrement-in-waiting to them so that they can understand and vote one way or the other. I am at the point that if they continue this and end up compromising or even losing 2011 as a season it will be just fine with me. Half of these players couldn’t spell cat if you gave them the C and T.

  32. “The players want to make their own decision without being told what they should do by league.”

    They also want a hug and reassurance from Uncle Roge that he still loves them, but that’s too damn bad. They’ve got their millions for playing a game, they’ve got their revenue sharing (which is insane), they kept their 16 game season, they need to sign the damn CBA and get their rich, overpaid, underworked, spoiled, moronic, millionaire asses in camp.

    At least I’m not bitter.

  33. This is some of what the owners are up against —- Heath Evans, FB, N. O. Saints on TV last night after tweeting that the owners “tried to slip a couple things by us that we didn’t agree to” (paraphrasing). Upon being asked – “what SPECIFIC things are you speaking of?” Mr. Evans replied – “I don’t know”!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is one of the results of being led by people like De Smith, his gopher George Atallah, Kessler, Quinn and Berthelson. Absolutely amazing!

  34. The players hired D-smith to negotiate the CBA. Which he did. Now these arrogant little asses are pissed that the owners voted first and that the deal requires them to recertify. Dah!

    This not surprisingly falls the fact that the players have no leadership. Only guys trying to take advantage of the sytem and make money.

    If I’m the owners I vote to withdraw the offer and call their bluff!!!!

  35. Perfect example bluepike. The players didn’t get to be millionaires by using their brains. They believe/say whatever they are told by who they trust. And for some inexplicable reason they seem to trust DeMaurice the DeMoron.

  36. This is just a power play from the players! They never intended to sign yesterday. They want to show the owners they can sink the ship if they don’t get what they want. Funny how all the reps are saying the same thing, almost as if rehearsed.

  37. they better hurry the hell up,to quote Deep Purple her,”swiss time is running out it seems we would lose the race”if the players reject this,we won’t have a settlement anytime soon!

  38. I heard Schefter on Mike & Mike say that this is the equivalent of buying a car and they are now arguing over floor mats. LOL..nice one Schefty.

    At this point I’m still the most mad that they are soft serving up the practices for these guys. No two a days??? Only 14 days all season of padded practices allowed????

  39. Its the inmates running the asylum. Not content with earning millions, they want to tell the owners who took the risk, hire the scouts, pay the bonuses, hire the coaches and managers, rent the stadium, do the advertising and babysit these babies, they want to tell the honors how to run the game. What they should be doing is working out, preparing themselves to do the best job they can, plan on investing their salaries and stop being political hacks.
    If they want to run a team, get the money buy one and get the headaches.

  40. And I heard Takeo Spikes admit that the owners’ revenue sharing with each other doesn’t affect them at all. It was more the point of seeing something that wasn’t there before.

  41. I think people on this site don’t know the difference between a lock out and a strike. This mess want brought on by the players, rather the owners who are using snake oil salesman tactics to make the players look greedy, when in fact the ownership group and the clueless “leader” Goodell are showing their true colors. If in fact they changed the deal and it can be proved in court, then the owners are really going to be hurting soon.

  42. “Besides, let’s not underestimate the possibility that, after being forced to sweat by the owners for more than three years, the players relish the opportunity to make the owners sweat a little, even if it’s only for a day.”


    The last CBA was so favorable toward the players that the owners opted out at the first legal opportunity to do so. And the idiot writing this article claims that the players have been sweating it out for three years. The owners were the ones sweating it out under the old CBA. Whoever wrote is article is a pro-union idiot.

  43. I look at the comments being made on here and I understand now why all our jobs are over seas. You guys will believe anything given to you(pity). Fair trade MY ASS! Anyway back to football, The league lawyers put deadlines on the deal, they are trying make the players reform their union before they are ready, and agree to policies like hgh testing and league discipline before all 1900 players get a chance to understand the fine print(which gets you every time) . When you sign something given to you by a lawyer YOU BETTER READ AND UNDERSTAND IT ALL NO MATTER WHAT WAS SAID OR NEGOTIATED BEFORE HAND! If not buyer beware! Remember the owners opted out of a deal they got screwed on. You don’t think they want to be on top this time.

  44. It happened like this because the players and their “peeps” are idiots. They have been catred to all their life, and been taught everyone is out “to get them.”

  45. This reeks more of a failing of union leadership than anything else.

    For starters everyone knew the owners want to preserve the preseason so it shouldn’t be a surprise to any of the players that the owners want to push this along and voted on it already as the HOF game is already gone and the deadline to save the first week of preseason is right at their noses.

    Secondly how uninformed are the key people in the union. They claim the owners put something in but have no idea what it is because they haven’t read the final document? How completely stupid does that sound.

    Thirdly to me it’s understandable that you want to take some time to fully consider a 10 year deal and you’re on your on timeline not the owners. But don’t go whining about the owners going ahead with their own timeline because they aren’t on yours either. So the owners should hold up their timeline because it doesn’t fit yours? And you fully knew whoever side voted last was going to receive the fan and media pressure.

    It just seems like the players side of things was completely unprepared and I’ll put the blame on their leadership for not adequately keeping them informed of what they agreed to and what it means to the players.

  46. Daily reality check. The anti-trust lawsuits only goes away if the players involved agree to drop it . How the heck that translates into 50% + 1 is a realm of the mathematics that is new to me. Dear readers, again someone is yanking your chain instead of reporting.


    Make the owners pay for their arrogance. Do not approve the new CBA until at least half the season is cancelled. Wait, make that the whole season.

    Walmart and McDonald’s will begin hiring soon for the upcoming holidays so you can rest assured you will find employment.

    If that is not appealing to you, I am sure you can try out for the CFL.

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