32 Player Reps = Fail

After reading every story, staying glued to the TV, and listening to writers close to the situation on Sirius Radio like Alex Marvez, is a clear picture forming for anyone? Maybe your head is spinning a little. This little short piece is to help you separate rhetoric from fact.

If you were watching NFL Network yesterday afternoon, waiting for the owners to ratify a global settlement and new CBA, you might have noticed Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith were on the phone with each other for over an hour before Goodell called the Owners in for a vote. The logic, and what is being reported by numerous journalists with sources on each executive committee, was that Goodell was not going to call a vote unless he and DeMaurice Smith were confident that everything needed to be settled was settled.

Fast forward to 7pm, directly after the NFL's press conference, and the **** seemed to hit the fan (pardon my french, but I am Cajun). We start hearing all kinds of rhetoric, like the "NFL tried to hoodwink us" or "pull a fast one on us". Even more disturbing, you hear players say "we've only just got the deal in front of us" and "we've got 5 months of _ to go through". Next you hear from a few "we want workmens comp" or "we want to be able to opt out after 7 years". And finally "we don't know how to re-certify" and "we want it done on our time line" and "we don't feel it is fair to have all this pressure and time line from the media".

With me so far?

Ok, now lets go behind the scenes and understand the structure and how this deal came to be. The NFL Owners have an executive committee consisting of Roger Goodell, a few select owners, and lawyers-- their job is to negotiate a deal in the best interest of all 32 owners and corporate NFL. On the players side, each team has a player representative, but like every team has an owner, only a select few of the player representatives are on the executive committee-- headed up by DeMaurice Smith and also consisting of a legal team.

In essence, the NFL's executive committee and the NFLPA's executive committee did a very fine job of coming to a complete and fair deal. Concerning the CBA, that was put on paper during the last week, complete. Concerning the terms of settlement, those were hammered out this week. The NFLPA's executive committee were on board with what the NFL Owners ratified yesterday-- otherwise, DeMaurice wouldn't have given Goodell the go-ahead to call a vote that the players would never agree to.

So why are we having all this mess? Because the 32 player reps from each team have not done an adequate job of communicating with the executive committee and the players they represent.Moving forward, cooler heads seem to be prevailing and the deal the NFLPA executive committee agreed to (which was ratified by NFL owners) will be ratified by the players without a single change-- add that to the accountability thread.

It will just take time (who knows how long) for the NFLPA Executive committee to explain to all 32 reps and by extension all players exactly why and what was agreed to. But make no mistake, what is agreed to is a set in stone as it will be-- there will be no more negotiations on big issues. That ship has sailed.

For the players who throw out the "owners lawyers might have slipped something in the minutia of the legalese and we have to go through 500 pages to make sure", let me remind YOU the Public that lawyers from both sides wrote the CBA TOGETHER. That's right, no fast one, no trickery.

For the players whose rhetoric is "we're not sure how to re-certify, we need time for ___", let me explain something to you that will help clarify that statement. This has been going on for 4 months. Do you honestly think with pre-season games weeks away that the NFLPA never figured out how to re-certify in a quick manner and never considered the fact that they would need to drop the lawsuits when it finally came time to sign off on a new CBA? They know exactly what they need to do and how to do it in quick manner. Here's your translation-- the players want their day in the lime-light. They don't want to look forced into doing something, even though they aren't-- their executive committee already agreed and wrote up the terms they are being asked to ratify.

So in a nutshell, the problem is two pronged. 1-- the 32 player reps failed in their job of communicating and being up to date with the progress and issues the NFLPA executive committee negotiated, and 2-- because they are uninformed they feel the "other" side is at fault and pulled a fast one on them and is trying to slide something under their nose. Which is why you have a bunch of "in the dark" player reps and players making outrageous statements and demands of what they believe is unresolved.

Conclusion-- it's all resolved, they (someplayers and player reps) just don't know, and most importantly-- It's their own fault. And I, for one, am angry at their ignorance, division, and rhetoric.
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