Last night the final stab at negotiations between the NFL and the player’s association failed resulting in the first work-stoppage for the league since 1987. With the 2011 imperilled by this collective bargaining collapse, things will now certainly get worse before they get better.
Almost immediately following the un-met deadline, the NFL enacted a lockout of all players from their team facilities. In response, the player’s union disbanded to clear the way for several anti-trust lawsuits by individual players such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees.
Now, with the fate of the league being held by the courts and a decision likely weeks away, all that’s left is a swarm of finger-pointing from both sides. Back in the day it was easy to say that the players are just being greedy when asking for more money from the league, but now with serious brain injuries occurring more and more I can see their side of the argument a little more clearly. If they’re going to risk their health, they had better be compensated.
It seems there were two core issues that both sides considered non-negotiable going into the negotiations: an 18-game season and financial transparency. The NFLPA, worried about player health and safety said it wanted a guarantee that the season would not be extended, but the NFL would only go so far as to say that there would be 16 games for 2011 and 2012. Furthermore, the NFL would not budge on the player’s request for financial transparency in their respective football clubs. As it stands now, only managers are privy to the earnings of their teams.
In hopes of staving off a strike, the NFL did make offer some substantial concessions to the union. The league offered to give players the opportunity to remain with their team’s medical plan for life, a reduction of off-season work-load for players, and a rookie salary-cap to ensure fair salary distribution to veteran players. League commissioner Roger Goodell still believes things can be hashed out outside of court.
“We believe that ultimately this is going to be negotiated at the negotiating table,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “They’ve decided to pursue another strategy and that is their choice. But we are prepared to negotiate an agreement that is fair to the players and fair to the clubs.”
In the end, the NFL is a business, and it wants to generate more revenue with more games in a season, and by retaining as much team-revenue as it can. The league will never agree to permanently keeping the season at 16 games, so I can see why the players believe they would have more luck in court!
Does this collective bargaining collapse spell the end of the NFL as we know it? Or is it just a hiccup? Give me your thoughts on the negotiations failure and how long you think the lockout will last in the comment section! And get some more detail in the video below.
Photos: www.wenn.com/ Flashpoint, Adriana M. Barraza, Joseph Marzullo, Carrie Devorah, FayesVision