It seems that the public is just now becoming acutely aware of the pending ( as in tonight at midnight) lockout by NFL owners. ESPN sat down with NFL Business Analyst Andrew Brandt to breakdown the lockout to its bare bones:
Via AP & ESPN:
With the clock ticking toward the midnight expiration of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, Goodell and the NFL’s negotiating team arrived Thursday morning at a federal mediator’s headquarters about 45 minutes ahead of NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and his group.
Staring at the first pro football work stoppage since 1987, Goodell said “We’re working hard.”
Also on hand for the NFL were lead negotiator Jeff Pash, outside counsel Bob Batterman,New York Giants owner John Mara, Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy, Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen and several other league executives. Mara and Murphy are members of the league’s labor committee, which has the authority to call for a lockout if a new agreement isn’t reached by midnight.
“We’ll stay at it as long as it takes,” Pash said before the 10th mediation session.
There was a flurry of activity Wednesday: a four-hour mediation session attended by all 10 members of the owners’ labor committee, Mawae and Brees; the three-hour owners meeting at a hotel 25 miles away in Chantilly, Va.; a one-hour meeting of the league’s labor committee immediately after the owners broke up; the cancellation of another planned gathering of owners Thursday; and a private visit with Cohen starting at 8 p.m. by Goodell, two top league lawyers, Mara and Murphy.
As soon as the union decertifies, the rift between the NFL and its players will get a lot bigger.
Mara — the first owner to attend the nine days of mediation, on Tuesday — and Murphy left at 9:30 p.m., followed shortly by Goodell, Pash and Batterman.
“Long day,” Mara said.
Asked the purpose of the 1½-hour evening meeting with Cohen, Pash said: “To speak with the mediator and get some direction.”
The NFL and the players’ union no longer have months or weeks or days to reach a new CBA. If they don’t get it done now, the league could see its 2011 season jeopardized.
Neither side was making optimistic proclamations.
What do you think?