Much as Josh Hill argued earlier today that we shouldn’t get too hyped on something before it actually happened, the NFL is proving exactly that point with its labor discussions. After nearly a week of positives signs, sources insinuating a deal was around the corner and a whole lot of winking and thumbs up, it turns out that was all much ado about nothing. The NFL labor talks are beginning to regress now, according to sources close to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
Frankly, this has all turned into a giant game of he-said, she-said with both sides being reduced once again to petty bickering. However, and I find this shocking, the NFL is still somehow managing to act with a great deal more maturity and decorum than their congressional counterparts who are currently squabbling over the debt ceiling. But that’s little solace to a football fan who was just told a deal is arriving and now will be cast back out into the wilderness.
From the players’ perspective the owners have reneged on a major tenet of the deal. After producing a formula that would give the players 48% of the revenue, the owners have now apparently introduced several other stipulations which will drop the real number to about 45% which places the two sides back where they were before March 11.
A management source said the owners have not reneged on any revenue split, claiming “it’s a negotiation, which is always subject to change”
Which, if you read between the lines, means that they did renege. On the other side, owners are now claiming players want a cut of ridiculous things like a portion of the revenue from concerts held in NFL stadiums. That last part is somewhat un-sourced, it comes from Kevin La Vicka a Miami sports talk radio host, via twitter, but it wouldn’t surprise me either. What isn’t debatable is that the owners are continuing to maintain that negotiations are negotiations, meaning offers are fluid and don’t necessarily carry over to the next day. Some may say that’s the definition of negotiating in bad faith because it’s attempting to force the players to jump on a deal at the end of the day in fear they’ll have backtracked by the time negotiations start the next day. But it’s legal and it’s the tact the NFL owners are choosing to take.
In the meantime, we’ll all just sit here like suckers watching baseball and women’s world cup games and dreaming of pigskin.