Ray Ratto

Ratto: What to make of latest NFL lockout news?


Ratto: What to make of latest NFL lockout news?

NFL-NFLPA STATEMENT -- UPDATED 11:35 a.m.: "The parties met pursuant to court mediation. Owners and players were engaged in confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan. The court has ordered continued confidentiality of the mediation sessions."
Ray Ratto

For those of you who like your intrigue with a side of degradation, several NFL owners and their caddy, Roger Goodell, met with NFL Players Association representatives, including DeMaurice Smith, secretly in Chicago Wednesday night in hopes of easing closer to something that would get them closer to something else in advance of Fridays latest courtroom trip to determine of something was less legal than another thing as regards the owners lockout of the players.

And yes, we meant that to be obtuse, because that is apparently the way you want it. You dont want pre-natal reports, you want the baby, and the fact that the owners are entirely in the wrong here doesnt seem to matter to many of you.

But back to the here and now.

The telling detail in the meeting is not what came out of it, other than the fact that no actual corpses had to be removed, was that a number of NFL owners didnt even know the meeting was happening.

NEWS: NFL, players meet again for mediation

Let that swish around in your head a bit. A number of the 32 people who helped devised this harebrained strategy of making the players to blame for the owners desire to cut the players out of future TV and other ancillary earnings were not told the two sides were meeting. If Im one of those owners, Im wondering why I wasnt let in on the secret, and Im also wondering why Goodell seems happy with being the commissioner of a few teams but not others.

The owners who could be verified as being there were Jerry Richardson of Carolina, the most strident of the unionbreakers, Robert Kraft of New England, and Jerry Jones of Dallas. Others were told about the meetings, and others still didnt seem to get clued in, if reports are accurate.

This suggests three things:

1. The owner hierarchy suspects that some clubs are leaking information, or in some other way cannot be trusted fully.

2. There is not unanimity among the owners for either the tone of the negotiations or that there are any negotiations at all.

3. This is all chin music to set up the next round of owner intransigence.

PFT: Not-so secret meeting was lawyer-free

There is also a fourth possibility - that all the owners actually did know about the meeting. This seems clearly contradicted by the reports, but you never know with these negotiations, when the left hand barely knows what the left hand is doing, let alone the right.

Either way, there's a barrage of court and court-ordered matters coming up the end of this week and the start of next. Friday, the Eighth Circuit Court will meet to affirm its lockout ruling (anything else would make no sense), the Tom Brady antitrust lawsuit comes up Monday, and mediation is scheduled to resume Tuesday.

And no, we are no closer than we were before the meeting, as it turns out. Hardly seemed worth all the cloak-and-dagger. Then again, without the cloak-and-dagger, they cant convince themselves how important this meeting was.

RELATED: Sharper says lockout could end NFL career

Remember, kids, this is their lockout. They closed the doors despite all their clubs being wildly profitable, and in anticipation of new TV deals that would double their current take. Theyre doing this because they think they can, and they very well might.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”