Over the last two weeks there seems to have been good progress towards the National Football League owners and players agreeing on terms for a new collective bargaining agreement. While there were some disagreements, it looked like things were going to be settled and a new deal potentially done. The last few days the media has talked to a great extent about how the deal was virtually done.
The league moved one step closer to starting operations when earlier today all the owners voted to ratify the new deal. This meant the owners are happy with it, and that the ball was in the players court. This is where things are now potentially going downhill. ProFootballTalk (run by NBC Sports) received some leaked emails, the first hinted that the new deal was actually a violation of Federal labor laws, and the lawyers for the players side said that the agreement may potentially not stand up in court.
The second email from the NFLPA (which technically doesn’t exist at this moment) head DeMaurice Smith pretty much told the players that “there is no agreement.” News agencies are scrambling as it seems this “done” deal is now having some issues. The question remains whether the players will actually pay attention to these emails. Both sides are keeping rather quiet at the moment, so there is no official word, though some are claiming that the players will now reject the deal. Whether this means just a few more days of negotiations or a longer time frame to renegotiate is up in the air. In either case, this new issue is probably becoming costly to the league.
It was announced today that the Hall of Fame Game between the Rams and Bears has been axed. Personally, as a Bears fan I didn’t really care, as its just another preseason game. The league says they will still do the rest of the Hall of Fame ceremonies, but we are now already taking away preseason games because of how long it is taking to get a deal, we may not be too far away from a shortened season.
As for the CBA voting on the owners side, 31 of 32 team owners voted in favor of the new deal. The sole person not voting was Al Davis of the Raiders who refused to vote. He noted that there were some issues of “economics” which he did not agree upon.
I’ll keep updating as these last minute changes on the players side continue.
Update 1: Looks like the players might refuse to vote tonight… more details tomorrow.
Update 2: Now the players are claiming the owners tried to slip some new provisions into the deal that were not agreed upon. The drama continues.