Monday’s meeting to discuss collective bargaining agreement negotiations went about as expected between the NFL and NFLPA. When all was said and done, the owners walked out of the meeting, frustrated with a lack of progress. Just last week, the owners cancelled upcoming negotiations, apparently miffed by a misunderstanding about the NFLPA’s proposed revenue sharing arrangement. With just about two weeks to go until the old CBA expires, the odds of an agreement are looking slim, to say the least.
The NFLPA responded with a statement after Monday’s walkout, ripping the owners for their continued unwillingness to work out an agreement with a lockout hanging in the balance (via Curtis Crabtree).
“The players didn’t walk out, and the players can’t lockout. Players want a fair, new and long-term deal. We have offered proposals and solutions on every issue the owners have raised. This claim has absolutely no merit.”
The owners are clearly driving the bus here, with the NFLPA’s only recourse coming in the form of decertification. That move would require unanimous support from all 32 teams, and allow the union to sue the league and take the fight to the courts. Until then, however, the owners hold the trump card, using the ability to close up shop and leave the players out in the cold as their biggest bargaining chip. With the owners holding the clear power in negotiations, the players next move appears to be litigation.
It’s a messy situation with negotiations bordering on out of control and contentious, with the owners gaining little in the way of sympathy or good public relations from this all. The real losers in this are the fans, who could be stuck on the outside with no football to speak of in 2011.
For more on the meetings, check out our NFL lockout StoryStream.