In the current NFL-NFLPA negotiations, the usual rules don’t apply

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Some have described the ongoing discussions between the NFL and the NFL Players Association as a “mini-CBA” negotiation. And that’s accurate. The circumstances, however, make this far different than the usual bargaining model that happens when league and union try to strike a new labor deal.

In this case, the NFL can’t use the threat of a lockout to get the players to cave. Instead, the league’s hammer comes from the threat of, essentially, a lock-in.

If the two sides can’t work out an agreement as to the safety rules for pro football in a pandemic, the league will impose its proposed rules and the union will file a grievance challenging them as unsafe. Pending a resolution of the grievance, the league essentially will be forcing players to report for duty in raging COVID-19 hotspots like Houston, Dallas, Miami, and L.A.

So maybe the NFLPA should call the league’s bluff. “Go ahead, implement the rules. Force us to show up. Take the P.R. hit that comes from coming off as unreasonable and heavy handed during the biggest public-health crisis of our lifetimes.”

Deadlines drive dealmaking when the deadlines are mutual. In this case, maybe the deadline isn’t mutual. Maybe the NFL needs to reach safety and financial agreements with the NFLPA more than the NFLPA needs to reach those agreements.

The NFLPA arguably doesn’t need to agree to anything; the financial aspect favors the players, thanks to a CBA that lacks a force majeure clause, and given the P.R. risks associated with the league ordering players over their objection to show up for work in a pandemic.

Thus, at a time when plenty in the media are suggesting in subtle (or not-so-subtle) fashion that the league has the union in check, the truth may be that, if the union simply does nothing, the league will slide into self-checkmate.

12 responses to “In the current NFL-NFLPA negotiations, the usual rules don’t apply

  1. You’d think that the players would want to get a deal in place ASAP, so the league can create then sell more revenue streams that are going to be lost at the gate.

    BREAKING NEWS…48% of zero revenue is 0.0!

  2. The only possible way that this could work is a “closed environment” like they’re trying to do with MLS and the NBA – and that hasn’t worked, really.

    All of the teams and staff would need to be isolated in a location and “locked in” for the entire season. It’s not feasible based on the number of people involved – plus the need for medical staff on-hand – unless injured players – or COVID cases – were taken off site and then quarantined for two weeks upon their return.

    We know that asymptomatic people can carry and transmit the virus. Any attempt at training camp and a season will be immediately compromised once people start testing positive. It’s all too complicated and too unknowable for anything to work.

    Especially now that the virus is spiking in 41 states. Or, for some of you, now that 41 states are conspiring to perpetuate the COVID hoax.

  3. “Slide into self-checkmate” . That line made me LOL. Can I use it moving forward Mike?

  4. Thus, at a time when plenty in the media are suggesting in subtle (or not-so-subtle) fashion that the league has the union in check, the truth may be that, if the union simply does nothing, the league will slide into self-checkmate.

    Every story talks about how the players have all the leverage. I think that overlooks the fact that the owners have all the power. The owners can just drag this issue out until the players start missing paychecks then the players will agree to just about anything. These owners didn’t get to be billionaires by being stupid. They are shrewd businessmen and they won’t just bow down and let the players have everything they want. There should be some sense of realism in these stories.

  5. NFL> We would like to negotiate

    NFLPA> No, we don’t agree.

    NFL> We can force you to show up and we will look bad

    NFLPA> Hahahaha

    NFL> Just kidding. That would be foolish. Lets cancel the season. You earn $0. We are billionaires and can take the hit. See you next year.

    NFLPA> Hey wait a second, what was your proposal again?

  6. There is an article floating around about how NY, NJ, MA and Ct have all tamped down, significatnly, the virus. 3Things: Masks in public, social distancing and good hygiene.

    The methodology to beat this is already out there for ALL to see!

    Why/HOW is it that Governors of other states in our fair land do not impose mandatory masks? These Governors should not be holding office if the “answers to the test” are as easy as opening up a web browser and reading. In MA, we’ve had over 14 straight days with % positive tests being below 2. 14+ days Below 2% !!!!!
    I truly feel badly for residents in these states with buffoons for Governors.

    What planet are these people living on? It sure as hell ain’t this one.

  7. NY, NJ, MA, and CT also have about 500 times more cases then other states & went through the peak much earlier. They didn’t stop anything they’re just about 2 months ahead of southern states. You can slow down the rate of infection (flatten the curve) but the virus will make its way through in either case.

  8. The ‘usual rules’ don’t apply to mask wearing in these challenging times either!.
    It’s not ‘your rights’, it’s ‘our lives’.
    Get the clue. Wear the mask!

  9. The players will be forced to wear masks and gloves during games. Plus no spitting, coughing, eye gouging, leg kicks, touching, and tackling about the belt

  10. Any player that turned down a fair contract extension (like Dax Prescott and Justin Simmons) during the offseason made a huge mistake. Nobody is sure a full season can even be played and with the cap expected to go down over the next 2 seasons, there will be less money to spend on players, and that includes QBs. Any player “betting on themselves” just lost about 30%-40% on the deals they were offered.

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