If you had any doubt about the tone of the NFLPA meetings in Maui, well, this ought to clear it up.
The players have one thing on their mind, and that is the steadfast belief that the owners have little to no interest in negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with them. The way they see it, they’re 12 months away from the inevitable, a lockout.
That is the message that came through clearly in a report from Liz Mullen of Sports Business Daily, who has tracked the meetings on location.
“Everyone believes it. It’s not a strike. It’s a lockout,” said Chicago Bears wide receiver Rashied Davis, an alternate player representative. “The owners are the ones. We want to play. That is what the players want to do. Owners don’t want to let us play, so they are planning to lock us out.”
Said Chester Pitts, the Houston Texans’ player representative: “We are prepared or are preparing for what is on the horizon, and what is on the horizon is the fact that owners plan to lock us out.”
Added Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel, a member of the executive committee: “You prepare for it just like you prepare for a long and grueling season. We are preparing for the same thing with the lockout.”
With players that convinced a lockout is coming, that tells you they don’t believe the 32 teams have any interest in sitting down at the bargaining table and getting something done. Players claim the owners are asking for 18 percent rollbacks on salaries. Owners say it’s not that much. Players say show us your books. There isn’t going to be movement on this issue any time soon. In the meantime, watch the rhetoric build.
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