Roger Goodell issued the players of the NFL a letter which describes the risks that may put the game’s future in peril and possible solutions to this matter. This note, by the way, bypassed the NFLPA which is no longer the representing body for the players but a trade association.
Last Friday evening, and subsequently at midnight the following Saturday morning, the players and their union de-certified and the owners began the lock-out. Not much has happened since and not much will happen until a hearing, on April 6th, takes place.
So what does this lock-out impose? It has 12 bullet points, but the highlights are:
- Termination of health insurance
- Banning players from entering any team facilities
- Banning players from having contact with any team staff (coaches, medical personnel, etc.)
- Banning of agents from facilities and communications with teams
As the game now fights within itself, what do individual players think? Two Redskin players came on a weekly DC-based web-radio show, Backfield Radio, to share some of their thoughts.
H.B. Blades joined the show and was asked about his thoughts on the lockout and what level or transparency he thinks players want to see from owners.
“In any business when you are asked to take a pay-cut and you see people coming [to the games] lining up, I don’t see how you’re losing money. It’s unfortunate because it hurts the fans a lot. But as a player you want to play. Hopefully through court, through mediation it gets done quickly.”
Phillip Daniels, defensive end for the Washington Redskins, was more direct:
“Believe non of what you hear, and half of what you see. They gonna flip and turn it all kinds of ways and try to make players look bad, but honestly we’re doing the right thing. It’s not use locking us out, we had a deal in place and we want to play football. The owners felt that the deal didn’t favor them enough and they wanted to change it and that’s what this lock out is about – its about money.”
When Daniels was asked if this was to blame on the owners, he said:
“It’s sad that it has come down to this, that we can’t play football. But I don’t want to blame the owners, they have to stick together and they have to do what they have to do. “
Daniels was very direct when referring to the league’s accusation that they players walked on a contract proposal on the table:
They’re gonna say that they offered this and that we walked out. But if you [fans] do the research, you’ll find out what’s really going on.
The rift now is even more unclear than ever. Players in solidarity. Owners in somewhat solidarity. And the league in a definitive stance. Clearly mediation will be the only way to settle this matter and only time will tell how long it is until we see football, if at all this coming September.