Perhaps sensing that it would be bad for a multi-billion dollar sport to lose time due to a labor dispute, the NFL and NFLPA are reportedly going to work on a new collective bargaining agreement this summer.
Dan Graziano of ESPN reported that the two sides will intensify talks this summer in hopes of getting a new CBA done before this year’s regular season begins. Graziano said the sides could meet three-to-four times in July alone.
That’s good news for those who don’t want a work stoppage in 2021, but there will be significant hurdles.
Players, owners have met already
For years, the threat of a 2021 work stoppage has loomed. The NFLPA hasn’t tried to hide that it’s a real possibility. The NFL has flouted its win in the last CBA, and the angst among the players has grown.
At least they’re talking. Graziano reported there have been three owner/player negotiation sessions this year, one each in April, May and June.
It’s good that the two sides are being proactive. There are a lot of issues to work out, and some might be impossible to reconcile. It seems very optimistic that something could get done before the start of this regular season, and it might take a harder deadline to get it done, but at least this seems to be positive progress.
Could a new deal get done soon?
The issues the NFL and NFLPA need to work out are too long to list, but they will include guaranteed contracts, an 18-game regular season, marijuana testing and the all-encompassing powers of commissioner Roger Goodell.
The players and owners seemingly haven’t been on the same page for many years. It doesn’t feel like a partnership, but an adversarial relationship. That’s not good for the long-term health of a league that has experienced unprecedented success in popularity and revenue.
One thing that could knock the NFL off its top spot in the American sports landscape would be a long work stoppage. Major League Baseball took a long time to recover after its 1994 strike, and some would argue it never fully recovered.
Perhaps the NFL and its players are starting to realize the gravity of their 2021 work-stoppage threats. If they can actually get a new agreement done before 2019, football fans surely wouldn’t mind.
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