February 10, 2011
As Doug told you earlier, Thursday's scheduled meetings between the owners and players were cancelled. Neither side would say why they were so ready to quit talking, but ESPN's Chris Mortensen has some specifics.
It's a struggle to not get too bogged down with specifics, but here are a couple of snippets that seemed pertinent:
NFL owners walked away from the negotiating table Wednesday when the NFL Players Association proposed to take an average of 50 percent of all revenue generated by the league, according to player sources.
A union source said that if the NFLPA accepted the owners' current proposal, it would receive a little more than 40 percent of all revenue.
So there's that. My favorite quote of the day, though, came from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.
"We are not confirming, denying, or commenting on CBA meetings at this point. We are focused on finding a way to get an agreement."
Right, except that's the exact opposite of what you're doing. Forgive my skepticism, but I'm going to have to doubt your focus, when the implementation of that focus is to just stop talking and take the day off.
Maybe I'm oversimplifying, but to me, "we're too far apart" or "we can't find any common ground" are completely unacceptable reasons to cancel talks. Of course you're far apart. That's why we're here. That's kind of what it means to have a labor struggle. That's why you need to talk.
I'd have taken just about any reason over that one. If Greg Aiello had said, "Ah, Goodell felt like going to Six Flags today, so we cancelled," I'd have taken it. If someone had said, "Hey, today's Moose Johnston's birthday, so why don't we just forget all this and head to Applebee's?" that would've been fine with me.
But "we're too far apart" is not, under any circumstances, a good reason to quit. You don't get the day off because things are just too hard. I don't care if you sit in that room and stare blankly at each other for five hours. At least pretend to try.
Eventually, both sides are going to give some ground, get rational, and find a reasonable way to make things work. They can do it now, or they can wait until they kill a season of football or more. They all seem hellbent on going for the latter.
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