Things have taken a turn for the worst with the labor talks.

NFL, NFLPA Cut Off Labor Talks

If you thought we were done with politicking and posturing, at least for a couple more years until the next election cycle, think again. The NFL and the NFLPA are taking cues from this country’s left and right. After announcing that both sides had scheduled another two rounds of impromptu negotiations after talking a big game during Super Bowl weekend, it was announced yesterday that the two sides had called off talks.

As if that’s not bad enough, both sides have already agreed to lockout the fans and the media from this process which makes all information regarding the negotiations highly subjugated and leaves the entire country completely in the dark. The NFL, last night, released the following statement:

“Despite the inaccurate characterizations of yesterday’s meeting, out of respect to the collective bargaining process and our negotiating partner, we are going to continue to conduct negotiations with the union in private and not engage in a point-counterpoint on the specifics of either side’s proposals or the meeting process,” the NFL said in a statement. “Instead, we will work as hard as possible to reach a fair agreement by March 4. We are fully focused on that goal.”

That statement essentially amounts to squat. To paraphrase, ‘whatever you’re hearing is false, we’re working really hard on this.’ That’s obviously ironic in light of the fact the statement was made on a day in which both sides took a couple of collective steps backwards. But at least they announced they’ve cleared their schedules, canceling next weekends owners meetings so they can focus on more closed door negotiations and more cryptic press releases.

Perhaps the best indication of how things actually went yesterday came from the infamous, “un-named source.” When things are going so badly no one is willing to speak on the record, well you have a problem.

“We certainly don’t want to have another meeting like yesterday,” said a person involved in the talks who was not authorized to speak for his side.

Great sign. If things don’t get straightened out soon then the combine is going to have an eerily ominous feeling to it in a couple of weeks. As for the actual reason things are stuck, there are too many possibilities to count. Some say it’s an issue with the rookie wage scale that has arisen and driven the two sides further apart, others contend its the unwillingness of the owners to fully disclose all of the league’s financials. Either way you can literally count the day nows before this lock out begins.

According to the Seattle Times:

If anything, the two sides may be farther apart. Wednesday’s meeting in Washington broke down well before its scheduled close. The owners came close to walking out after the players rejected their proposal for an additional $1 billion in spending credits. They were also frustrated by a proposal by the players to eliminate spending credits and simply split all revenue down the middle.

Under the current system, the players get almost 60 percent of all revenue after $1 billion is subtracted for expenses the owners incur. Factoring in that deduction, the players receive about half of the league’s remaining revenue.

If you can’t tell a lot of this is really spurred by the greed of the owners. Obviously that report is speculation, but if that’s true then the proposal made by the players, at face value at least, seems pretty fair. If this goes much longer we’re about to test the business sense of the billionaires that are holding this sport hostage. See what happens when you alienate fans and destroy brand loyalty. That 9 billion dollar revenue pie is going to shrink so fast you’ll wish you’d taken the 50-50 split.

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