Jul 1, 2011
Over the last four months, we have become junior experts on labor law, simply by having a horse in this NFL lockout race (that horse is called “actual football”). And if there is one certain thing we have learned about labor law, it’s that there are two stages of deals: “done” and “not done.” Despite growing optimism over the last few weeks, the NFL still resides in that latter category, and until all the major parties finally put their John Hancocks on a finished product, there’s still a chance things can go awry. But we’ve also learned that ebbs and flows happen: positives can happen on bad days and negatives can happen on good days. So despite what we would call a “bad day” in labor negotiations yesterday, some interesting stuff went down.
Crazy day in lockout talks… Yes, we felt it too. At about 6 p.m. Central (the talks are taking place in Minnesota), when the NFL and NFLPA had already been meeting for nine hours, reports started to leak to the media that the talks had suffered a major setback, concerning the owners asking once again for credits off the top of the league’s revenue. If you’ll remember, back in March, the owners were asking for $1 billion off the top to “grow the game” before splitting the revenue with the players. While reports put that money in the $500 million (or even less) range yesterday, the players apparently believed that they had an agreement with the owners to not touch on the “expense credit” part of revenue sharing in favor of a simplified model. That is not what the owners were thinking. Reports of a conference call from NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith to high-end players and player reps supported the notion that the talks were stalling, and for the first time in a while we started to wonder if the preseason might be able to start on time. But then a funny thing happened. Smith went back into the meetings. The owners remained there. And they continued to talk well into the night, not wrapping until after midnight local time. Did the players and owners have to repair fractures from earlier in the day? Probably. But did 16 hours of meetings go down without any progress whatsoever? Given the state of these talks over the last few weeks, that’s hard to believe. And now, even before this blog is posted, the owners and players are back to meeting this morning. So a deal over the holiday weekend continues to look unrealistic, but that “July 15” date to save training camp and the preseason still looms. There’s pressure on both sides, so let’s hope any negative news that leaks out over the next few days also proves to be part of the ebb and flow of labor negotiations.
In actual football news…
49er TE Vernon Davis tells the San Francisco Chronicle that WR Michael Crabtree’s foot injury was suffered during a players’ workout and that it is “more serious” than general soreness. This is a significant downside of the lockout: players can get hurt, and not only can they not rehab with actual team doctors, but there’s a chance we get serious misinformation about the nature of the injuries, as seems to be the case with Crabtree.
Hey, Packer fans: don’t fret. QB Aaron Rodgers is certain the champs will be ready for action, lockout or no lockout.
Add WR Chad Ochocinco to the growing list of players and insiders who think Carson Palmer has played his last snaps in Cincy, and perhaps the NFL.