Friday, July 22, 2011

Time for NFLPA to put up AND shut up!

Like many of you I was completely frustrated at the end of the day on Thursday when the daunting realization of another day of labor rhetoric would be spewed over all forms of media – including here.

The angst mounted and it wasn’t long before it was my dog’s fault that DeMaurice Smith stuck his head where the sun doesn’t shine leaving us all hanging for at least another day of this painfully elusive new CBA.

I hate it and I know you do to as evidenced by this poignant comment on our Facebook Page (
Ravens 247):

Maybe it's just me, but... our military is underpaid as are our police and firefighters. Teachers are being laid off right and left. People are losing their jobs and homes. The elderly cannot afford medical care, and these greedy, whining, overpaid twits are complaining about how to split 9 BILLION dollars? I have lost all sympathy for all of them.

It's hard to argue with the heartfelt points made by this
Ravens 247 liker.

I don’t feel sorry for the "twits". I do feel sorry for the fans who rely upon the NFL for their escapism, their dose of sanity mined from the insanity. It helps them to cope with many of the aforementioned societal struggles.

That said those struggles aren't the fault of the NFL just as they aren’t the fault of other successful companies like Apple or Anheuser Busch.

The difference is if those companies screw up and respect their customers like the NFL respects theirs (the fans), we’d all go to Motorola or the Miller Brewing Company. The NFL really has no competition – and it knows it! And in part, that’s why it is no surprise that this slippery new CBA was not corralled by both parties yesterday.

They don’t care that their customers are ticked off because they know we’ll be back.

What does surprise me is the apparent lack of preparedness by the “artists” formerly known as the NFLPA. What have DeMaurice Smith and his 32 player reps and filibustering attorneys been doing for the past two weeks when everyone in America heard repeatedly that the owners were convening in Atlanta on July 21 to ratify a new CBA?

Didn't they all understand the timeline?

And don't these guys realize that they have to recertify given anti-trust issues?

They moved at warp speed to decertify yet it is agonizingly cumbersome to re-certify for the good of everyone?

I’ll admit to not knowing much if anything about unions but c’mon, how hard is it to raise your hand and say, “Yes I vote to re-certify”? In this day of modern technology?

C’mon man!

If you follow any players on
Twitter you will know that there have been widespread inconsistencies regarding their interpretation of what’s going on. On one hand they accuse the owners of slipping in some unexpected things into the owner-ratified agreement while on the other hand they claim to not have seen the agreement.

Which is it?

DeMaurice Smith spends hours on a conference call with Commissioner Roger Goodell working through details but then claims to not know what’s in the agreement.

I’ll ask again, WTF were Messrs. Smith, Kessler & Mawae doing over the past two weeks?

Ringing the register?

Setting up exclusive network interviews at $1 million a pop?

Lining up new clients as a result of their newfound celebrity?

Positioning themselves for future cushy jobs?

Both sides spend weeks drafting an agreement that is predicated upon the NFLPA re-certifying and when the owners do their part in getting the league back on schedule the players need a timeout?

How about this…they had an opportunity to sign the deal on Wednesday and didn’t. The owners did their part on Thursday and then these little whiny, self-absorbed, uninformed, entitled athletes say the owners have backed them up against the wall and they won’t take it.


I just love this from Ravens’ safety Haruki Nakamura:

"[The owners] want to make a situation where they feel like they're making us get it done. They act like we need to get it done right now at this time.”

Excuse me but there is a time line. If you miss preseason games, guess what? The salary cap money pool will get wacked, and guess what that means? There is less money for you players or worse, the CBA goes back to the drawing board.

Here’s more from Nakamura…

"This is kind of like the power move [the owners] made at the beginning of the negotiations. They're trying to do it without saying it's a power move, but it is. We don't want to let a pressure situation force us to overlook something. If you're a good businessman, you would never sign a deal you don't truly understand."

First if you are a good businessman you are prepared. The NFLPA and its constituents are not!

Secondly, a good businessman would have seized the leverage and signed the deal on Wednesday. Then the owners’ backs would have been up against the wall, not the players.

I’m not blaming the players on whole. They pay their dues to be represented more professionally. But let’s face it Haruki, your representation was duped! Don’t blame the owners! Deal with it!

And then with a not so graceful stroke of spin doctoring, Smith in an email to the players writes:

“In addition to depriving the players of the time needed to consider forming a union and making needed changes to the old agreement, this proposed procedure would in my view also violate federal labor laws. Those laws prohibit employers from coercing their employees into forming a union, and could result in any agreement reached through the procedure being declared null and void."

This is insanely twisted and really an insult to the players’ collective intelligence. There’s no coercing. There’s no option. If the union doesn’t recertify, there is no CBA!

I never thought I'd say this in my lifetime, but I sure do miss Paul Tagliabue and Gene Upshaw. This thing would have been signed, sealed and delivered a while ago.

Hey maybe the players should have hired Casey Anthony’s defense team!

How ironic that one side says there’s a deal and the other claims there’s been a federal labor law violation.

Maybe it will be today when we have NFL labor peace. Maybe it’s tomorrow or Tuesday and when it does happen, we’ll move on and it will fade into the land of distant memories.

But it will be a memory nonetheless and in 10 years when we get to go through this all over again I’ll remember all the time we wasted during the 2011 CBA sparring and spare myself the agony.

My time would be better spent helping an unemployed teacher…