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Many players assume that labor dispute will be resolved by Week One


We’ve noticed a trend in recent days. Players asked about when the labor dispute will be resolved uniformly say that they believe everything will be settled in time for the first week of the regular season to be played.

From Keith Brooking to Asante Samuel to others I’ve already forgotten, optimism has been display -- no player to our knowledge has expressed concern that the impasse will delay the launch of the 2011 campaign.

On one hand, it’s encouraging. On the other hand, it doesn’t mesh with the looming possibility that a failure by the NFLPA* to lift the lockout via the court system will lead to a Plan B for conjuring leverage via the courts -- with no meaningful negotiations occurring until leverage is obtained.

Sports lawyer David Cornwell explained on Wednesday’s PFT Live the possibility that the players signed on for a strategy that could wipe out the 2011 season. Given the stream of players who express confidence that Week One will occur as scheduled makes us wonder whether the players truly realize that their leadership could be pursuing an approach that defers any meaningful negotiations until real leverage is obtained through litigation, even if it takes months to get to that point.

If a disconnect indeed exists, look for it to come to a head not long after the Eighth Circuit rules regarding Judge Nelson’s order lifting the lockout. If, as expected, the lockout is upheld and if the next step doesn’t involve serious efforts to work out a new CBA, some players could begin to break ranks.