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NFL Players & Owners Continue to Plead Their Cases

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I looked long and hard for something to write about today other than the CBA stalemate, but I couldn't find anything that wasn't already discussed earlier. I was actually hoping to find another story like Pierre Thomas cutting his leg on a fence while rescuing his dog. No luck. Or, maybe Jeremy Shockey passing out at a pool party. Yeah, I know he doesn't play for the Saints anymore, but a good Shockey story is always interesting. No luck. Sorry, folks.

In the interest of fairness, I've linked to two articles quoting players and their latest responses to the lockout and then two articles with a pro-owner slant. I can save you the trouble of making the jump by letting you know beforehand that no progress has been made and the stalemate continues. If you're interested in the latest "he said, he said" of all of this, make the jump. If not, see you tomorrow.

First, Drew Brees' statement from yesterday has been a topic of discussion all over the internet today:

"I think it was all a show, with no real intent to get a deal done, other than just to say they made a proposal — that was no different than anything else that they proposed over the last couple years, couple months, couple weeks," said Brees, a named plaintiff in the players' antitrust lawsuit against the league.

Then, Adrian Peterson set the football world on fire when he lashed out at the owners and started dropping the S-bomb:

"It’s like . . . ‘Well, show us.’ We want more information, and they want to bull****, going around, saying this and that, just open it up and give us the information we want," Peterson told Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports on Friday. "If they have nothing to hide, just give us the information. Why not? Obviously, there’s a lot to hide — these guys are professionals, and they’re maximizing what they do. But they know that if all this information comes out, the information the players want, it’ll be right out there for everyone to see. It’s a ripoff — not just for the players, but for the people who work at the concession stands and at the stadiums."

Peterson also offered some even more explosive comments, which Farrar initially published but later deleted, explaining on Twitter that he wants to give Peterson the opportunity to clarify.

"It’s modern-day slavery, you know?" Peterson said. "People kind of laugh at that, but there are people working at regular jobs who get treated the same way, too. With all the money . . . the owners are trying to get a different percentage, and bring in more money."

Even I with my confessed pro-player viewpoint think comparing this situation to slavery is over the top and a poor choice of words. That can't possibly help the players' position in all of this.

 

Moving along, Giants co-owner John Mara today disputed Drew Brees' characterization of the owners' final offer:

"Is splitting the difference financially all for show?" Mara said.  "Is walking away from the 18-game season, which a lot of owners were very much in favor of, is that all for show?  Is improving their benefits all for show?  There were a lot of parts of that proposal that would have provided some significant benefits — significant improvements for the players.  And they chose to walk away from it.  So I’m not sure what he means by that.  I felt we made a very substantial offer on that last Friday.  And they chose not to offer so much as a counter — they just chose to walk away and say, ‘We are going to decertify.’

"We were talking the week before," Mara said.  "During the first week that I was there, which was the second week of the mediation process, there was one day where I started to sense that we were getting close to some sort of tentative agreement.  And the numbers that were going back and forth were in that same ballpark.  So that is absolutely not true.  And again, we had some pretty healthy discussion on that particular day, but at the end of the day their response was, ‘No, this is not acceptable’ or ‘We are sticking to our numbers.’  They did not offer any kind of counter."

And lastly, score one for the owners. Potential no. 1 overall pick and confirmed LSU phenom Patrick Peterson says he wants to attend the draft and shake the commisioner's hand even though the NFLPA is recommending incoming rookies boycott the draft:

"I heard about that.  No one has contacted me to go to New York or not go to New York. I would like to go if possible. That’s what you play football for," LSU cornerback Peterson told Aaron Wilson of NFP via NFLLabor.com.

"That’s a big moment to go up there and shake the commissioner’s hand and get that jersey and hat. It means a lot. I definitely want to go and no one has told me not to go. So, we’ll see what happens."

The fact the NFL is trumpeting this story is almost as noteworthy as Peterson’s comments.  NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy linked to the story and had a series of other tweets with the tongue-in-cheek hashtag: #LetThemHug.  (Complete with the official #LetThemHug video.)

The NFL realizes this is a wedge issue.  It could wedge current players from incoming rookies; Peterson’s views are pretty clear.  And it will definitely wedge players from fans.

I can't disagree with him. It's something young players dream about all throughout high school and college. Maybe both sides will wise up before then and rap this thing up. We can only hope.