When the NFL owners voted to approve a new CBA deal, enthusiasm and excitement raced through NFL fans. Talks of free agency, trades, and training camp finally replaced talks of labor, lawsuits, and litigation.
But if recent reports are true, the excitement may have been premature.
While many felt the NFLPA could vote in the new CBA during a conference call tonight, Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that no vote took place. Not only did no vote take place, NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen sent out a message to players following the call.
The tone of the message was not positive or encouraging.
“In addition to depriving the players of the time needed to consider forming a union and making needed changes to the old agreement, the proposed procedure would in my view also violate federal labor laws,” read the email. “Those laws prohibit employers from coercing their employees into forming a union, and could result in any agreement reached though the procedure being declared null and void.”
The tone in the message sounds similar to the tone NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith spoke with over 100 days ago when the lockout first began. Like they did on day one, some players reportedly feel like they are being forced into a corner by the owners, who now expect them to sign a deal they did not agree upon.
With the CBA rumored to be over 400 pages and last for 10 years, it might have been naive to think that the players could vote tonight even if they did not feel tricked by the owners. But it sure sounded like more then that to NFL Player Rep George Wilson.
“This is nothing more than an attempt to get the fans to turn on the players,” said Wilson to ESPN.
While Wilson did add that this is not “Armegeddon”, it is unknown when, or if, the players will vote. With no league action to start until Saturday until the schedule released by the NFL, the players could still vote tomorrow without anything being missed.
Is it to soon to jump off the bridge? Absolutely. In all likely hood, the deal will be voted on tomorrow by the NFLPA. It is to big a PR hit, and much of a financial risk to pass up a deal.
Before the deal was voted on by the players, Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith spoke on the phone for over an hour, presumably figuring out how to get this deal done. After doing his part, Goodell said that he now expects Smith to do his part.
If Smith is unable to get his part done by the end of tomorrow, things could reach a point of no return- and a point where games are missed.