Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A Simple Take On The Lockout

The NFL is currently in a state of limbo, things are extremely uncertain at the moment and neither the fans, players nor even the team owners know fully what is going on and what the future holds. First a bit of a back story, and then I’ve tried to collate what info I could find and put it simply for people like myself to understand!

In order for the NFL to keep going, it has a set of terms and conditions that is agreed between the NFL Team Owners, the NFL and the Players Union (NFLPA) called the Collective Bargaining Agreement. This determines how the league is run, what the salary cap for teams is, benefits for players either injured or retired, how many games there are in a season, and so much more. So understandably, this agreement has to be extremely detailed and set in stone fir the league to work, and the latest one expired earlier this month. The NFL, Owners and NFLPA were in negotiations right up until the last minute, and even after a 7 day extension still a deal could not be agreed.

The fact that a deal could not be agreed led to a few things happening which could have a huge impact on the upcoming 2011 NFL Season. The first thing that occurred was that the NFLPA decertified itself, which means that it is no longer the union for players to bargain collectively with the NFL. The NFLPA now just remains a Professional Association, and the players (well, a group of players) have taken out private litigation against the league. This tactic worked during the 80s when the last major disagreement occurred, as the NFL lost in the courts over a Free Agency issue. Players involved with the litigation this time include big names such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

Along with the decertification of the NFLPA, the NFL Owners imposed a Lockout, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The Owners essentially lock out their team facilities, no practices take place, no players can be signed, mini camps and training camps don’t happen, the players don’t receive any health insurance or any other benefits they normally get, and nearly everything comes to a halt. The only things that do not stop are the Combine (where potential draftees are worked out and put through their paces) and the Draft (which is where teams pick players from the crop of college players). With the draft, the teams can select players, but they can’t sign them to a contract until a new CBA has been put in place!

So that’s what both sides have done, and for the moment nothing seems to be moving. A lot seems to be leveraged on the private litigation taking place, but as fans we don’t care about that really. We want to see the team owners get their backsides round a table and negotiate a new agreement, we want to see a full 2011 NFL season, we want to see our teams and players get out there every week and play football! The message you pick up from the players is that they want to play, but as for the owners, well you don’t hear much of anything, and to be honest that can be the most frustrating thing of all. To us fans it doesn’t look like the owners, or the NFL are doing all they can to get a 2011 season going. I am but one voice in this issue, and there are many others out there who can explain it better than me! But to finish this blog I will say this, NFL fans want a season, and it’s about time the league proved they do too.

To Talk, Or To Write? A Bloggers Return!

You've got to be in the mood to record a podcast, that's one thing I've noticed over the last couple of years doing both the S...