The nature of today’s media is such that in the 12 hours following Judge Susan Richard Nelson’s decision to stay the NFL’s lockout of its players there were literally hundreds of opinions put forth on what it means.
Nothing has changed in two months. Or really, two years. The NFL is in limbo and remains in limbo, at least pending an appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. What that means for all football fans: no football, no organized workouts, nothing beyond Thursday’s draft. And the unhappy fact is that the longer this drags out in court -- and we’re going to at least mid-June by the looks of it -- the closer we come to having games curtailed this fall.
I reiterate what I said a week or so ago: this is the one of the dumbest work stoppages in labor history.
But, in this century’s cliche, “it is what it is” and we’re stuck with it until both sides decide to cut their losses and get it out of the courts.
Roger Goodell seems to understand that, although the commissioner has now resorted to scare tactics, using Tuesday’s op-ed page in the Wall Street Journal to raise a specter raised by a few agents and a few lawyers that the union wants to do away with the entire system and work with no draft and unfettered free agency where every team could bid for every player. That, most likely, would leave us with a few rich teams winning every season and the teams unwilling or unable to bid and spend against them going nowhere.
That’s unlikely to happen, even if Jeffrey Kessler, the lawyer who is de facto head of the union, might like it.
What will finally happen is a negotiated settlement. But as long as there are appeals on appeals, negotiations, if they take place at all, will be like the sham mediation that took place in Minnesota last week.
So enjoy the draft, folks.
But who knows if you’ll get to see the draftees playing any time soon.