July 02, 2011
If you thought that the NFL, the NFLPA, and all affiliated owners and players were going to take the Fourth of July weekend off just as there seems to be increased momentum in the labor talks, we have some good news for you. According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello via Twitter, the two sides aren't resting from the job at hand.
I'm not generally in Aiello's corner when he's blowing propaganda all over the place, but the fact that he's actually been mentioning the NFLPA as a complementary entity (as opposed to the Evil Empire) can't be bad. And it's great that the two sides are continuing to hammer away at this — it tells me that even after talks almost fell apart last Thursday when the owners tried to reintroduce the idea of expense credits (if you believe the players) or simply re-established what had been in the most recent negotiations all around (if you believe the owners), there's still a real urgency to get this thing done in time for a full preseason.
Of course, there are still major issues in the way — final revenue splits, the rookie cap, increased benefits to retired players, and whether the owners will get their beloved expense credits off the top every season. But for the first time in this entire process, it's pretty obvious that everyone wants to make a deal. Add in the fact that mediator Arthur Boylan is basically holding off the Eighth Circuit Court and can unleash that particular fury at an time (leading to a ruling that neither side will like), and things are looking up.
Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith will meet again with their staffs on Tuesday in New York, and the players and owners will join the talks on Thursday. In the meantime … well, we're hoping this news will make your July Fourth weekend a bit happier.
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