MIAMI (CBS4) – After spending the last 16 days in mediated talks, the National Football League is headed towards the first work stoppage since 1987.
The league, according to Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports, made an offer to the NFL Players Association to essentially split the difference on the remaining money issue to help get a deal done. However, the NFLPA declined the deal and instead will go to court to get the deal they want.
The NFLPA decertified shortly before 5 p.m. By decertifying, the union is now out of the way, and individual players can file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL.
The move wasn’t unexpected Friday. NFLPA executive director Demaurice Smith told players Friday afternoon that the current plan for the NFLPA is to decertify at 5 p.m.
Now, there will be a chain of events that will include the league setting new rules, the union filing an anti-trust suit, and the entire thing ending up in court.
The NFLPA believes that they have the upper hand thanks to a favorable judge being the head of the CBA, Judge David Doty in Minneapolis. Doty has typically taken the players side in most dispute, and has recently threatened to halt the league from accessing $4 billion in TV revenue.
Without the TV revenue, the league owners will be unable to meet their obligations, with some running the risk of defaulting on loans on massive stadiums.
There was hope to start the day that many of the issues could be worked out by the end of the day on Friday. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was given great leeway to negotiate with the union on Friday, according to SI.com’s Peter King.
But, the NFLPA is determined to see all the books from the owners, even if it means putting the entire sport into a deep freeze.
The argument between billionaire owners and millionaire players will not endear either side to fans.
As the Great Recession still has salaries down, many out of work and businesses constantly cutting back; the league and the NFLPA will try to get fans on their side. But, those efforts will be for naught as fans will quickly turn on the parties, and then, college football will become a lot more popular.