The NFL and NFL Players Association have taken the battle for a new collective bargaining agreement to the media, and the results haven’t been pretty. The NFL has accused the union of planning for litigation all along, never bargaining in good faith at the negotiating table during the process. Those calls grew louder on Friday as the union filed decertification papers, allowing its players to individually file lawsuits and injunctions to stop the lockout and, perhaps, break the owners.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft spit out the same statements as the rest of the owners have on Saturday, accusing the union of failing to bargain in good faith and planning for a battle in the courtroom all along. Kraft added he was confident a deal would get done, however, as he talked in circles.
“I think the actions of the union to end the mediation process and walk away from Friday’s offer clearly showed their true intentions to take this process to litigation all along,” Kraft said in a statement released by the team. “While disappointed by their action to decertify, I remain confident that an agreement will be reached and that the 2011 season will be played.
The owners will continue to say the union refused to bargain while the union will counter with accusations of a lack of transparency from the owners. After all, it was the owners planning a work stoppage, a lockout, not the players. This isn’t a strike, it’s a lockout, with the employers taking the initiative.
It’s up to the public to decide which side is right or wrong, but when the owners are crying poverty while refusing to open their books and give a glimpse into just how impoverished they are, it’s tough to take their words serious. It came to a head when the union felt it had to decertify and file a lawsuit after little progress was made at the bargaining table, even with a week-long extension.
With bargaining over, the fight heads becomes a legal battle with a side of public relations. It’s yet unknown how long a lockout could last, if the season will be threatened or how long an antitrust lawsuit could drag out.
Stay tuned to our NFL lockout StoryStream for the latest as more becomes available.