The NFL Lockout blame game has turned into a full-on finger-pointing fight between what appear to be two sides made up of equally petulant children. Of course, petulance also implies a certain level of impatience, and neither side seems to have much of that considering where the labor situation now stands.
Texans owner Bob McNair sought fit to throw his opinions into the ring as well on Friday:
"I think we're going to get it resolved before too much damage is done. We're going to do everything we can to negotiate an agreement."
Apparently McNair thinks the owners are, dare I say, on the right track to a solution. Or, more realistically, McNair is trying to sound positive when he knows the players aren't likely to drop their litigation in favor of new mediated negotiating sessions, barring a significant change in stance by one side or the other.
"I'm disappointed they didn't study the proposal. If they had questions, they could have negotiated or discussed it and really gotten serious about the negotiations because it's very favorable to the players. We more than met them halfway."
Ouch. For a guy who likes to always say the right things, McNair sure channeled his inner Jerry Richardson with that crack about the players not studying the proposal.
McNair and the owner group love to fall back on the old "we met them halfway" assertion, even though they created the entire financial gap in the first place by opting out of the CBA deal early (as was their right) and demanding another billion dollars off the top.
Then again, why should the owners agree to share equal profits with the players? I know you can't compare the NFL to other American business models, necessarily, but the nature of the NFL doesn't exclude it from the fact that no business shares profits equally with employees. That's just not how business works in this country.
Of course, nobody pays to watch UPS drivers deliver packages, or Oil Company employees push numbers around a spreadsheet all day.
The sniping has now run rampant, especially within the player side. Executive Director of the (now former) NFL Player's Union DeMaurice Smith recently fired off this gem:
"The NFL publicly projected by 2027, they want to have revenue numbers of approximately $25 billion. If we would have taken the worst deal in the history of sports, by the time they are making $25 billion off the backs, fingers, and legs of our players, our share of all revenue would be somewhere around 25%. My simple question to you as a fan of this sport for a long time: Does that sound fair?"
Fair? I don't know. How is anything fair when you grandstand and manipulate by saying things like "off the backs, fingers, and legs of our players"?
The NFL continues to win the public relations war, but only because of their presentation. They come off as the party who was turned away at the table and who want to get a deal done. The players come off as unfocused, and bordering on (or beyond) whiny. I know they would respond by saying they are angry, not whiny, but that's not how it's reading. Yep, perception is still reality. A sad truth.
DeMaurice Smith would do well to immediately order players to stop Tweeting and talking to reporters about the Lockout. It would of course be preferable for the owners to also stop the endless jabbing, but as long as the players continue to shoot themselves in the public relations foot, they might as well continue as is.