With the NFLPA decertifying today at 5 PM, we can now begin with the finger-pointing. Both sides want to blame the other for the decision and the current state of the negotiations (which is now more aptly referred to as just litigation). Both sides want to look right, while the other looks wrong and they’re going to spend the weekend flinging mud back and forth. They can’t even agree on the terminology to use, the NFLPA (or the group of players that made up that now-defunct organization) calls it a lock-out, the owners call it a walk-out. The fans call it a bunch of BS.
For most of this process I have been sided pretty firmly with the players, the owners were the ones who opted out and forced this situation two years early and I didn’t feel there was much willingness to compromise on that end. This past week though has changed my opinion on that issue a little bit. Today, for all intensive purposes, was just posturing and an attempt at a power-play on the part of the player’s association. Despite several new proposals on the parts of the owners, including one today that reportedly halved the monetary gap between the sides, the NFLPA was always going to decertify.
At no point, as the NFL made proposals did the NFLPA counter-propose anything this week, there was very little constructive coming out of the player’s association side today besides empty rhetoric. After receiving the best proposal yet, DeMaurice Smith walked out of the mediator’s office and demanded full financials for the past 10 years within 10 minutes. Back in Minneapolis filings had already been prepared for judge David Doty. The NFLPA really was negotiating in good faith today, they made up their minds and today was all about winning public perception.
Neither side deserves all the blame for this, both sides deserve a whole bunch though. And of course, once again it’s the fans who take it on the chin.