The CBA negotiations are front and center discussion in the NFL these days. That will continue until an agreement between the owners and NFLPA is finally reached. Looks like there's no way that will happen by March 3rd, so a lockout appears imminent. Unlike the 1987 players' strike where players refused to work because they were unhappy with their deal at the time, it's the owners who are unhappy and are more than willing to lock out players on March 4th and beyond in order to get what they want -- mo money.
As if the fans' image of the owners wasn't already bad enough, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson reportedly dissed Peyton Manning and Drew Brees during a Feb. 5 negotiating session with the NFL Players Association.
"[Richardson] was extremely condescending to them, especially toward Peyton," a source said. "[Richardson] was the only person on either side who was contentious. Everybody else was respectful. They might have said, ‘I disagree with your point,’ but at least they were respectful. [Richardson] was not."Apparently, Richardson was particularly sarcastic when Manning started to talk about players’ safety. At one point, Richardson evidently said, "What do you know about player safety?"
Neither player has commented on what happened and probably won't in the interest of stifling added controversy. Behavior like this from Richardson and the owners, if it continues, will only serve to reinforce their image as the bad guys in this debate as fans look on and wonder if a 2011 season will actually take place. No amount of carefully orchestrated words from Roger Goodell or anyone else will smooth over reports like this.
As if that wasn't enough, the NFL is still dealing with the Super Bowl-seating fiasco, after which lawyers and plaintiffs brought a class-action lawsuit against Jerry Jones and the league. That lawsuit just got bigger yesterday.
The class-action lawsuit stemming from the seating crisis at Super XLV expanded it’s scope when it was filed last Wednesday.
The suit will now involve three separate plaintiffs. The first involve 400 general fans who lost their seats–"the Displaced Class"–or who were moved to different seats/were delayed in entering the stadium due to the temporary seating issues–"the Relocated or Delayed Class".
The other group includes a sect of Dallas Cowboys season-ticket holders known as the "Founders," who claim they were promised special access to Super Bowl tickets, but ended up in obstructed or low quality seating.
The lawsuit also added an allegation of "negligent misrepresentation" to the four prior claims: breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud/deceit/concealment, and violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The new charges contend that the league, the Cowboys, and/or Jerry Jones "inadvertently, and carelessly" allowed a false impression to be persist about the quality of the seating promised through their season-ticket package.
Talk about bad PR. These two stories probably couldn't have come at a worse time for team owners. Both portray Richardson and Jones (and thus all 32 owners) as pretentious and greedy at a time when they could probably use a little fan support in the CBA negotiations. Right now, it looks like them against the world. Will that change? Do they care what the fans think? Probably not. All we fans can do is just sit back and enjoy the spectacle.