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NFL and union start the blame game

Jeff Pash, Pete Abitante

Jeff Pash, Executive Vice-President and General Counsel for the NFL, left and Pete Abitante, NFL senior director of international public affairs, arrive for negotiations with the NFL Players Association involving a federal mediator Friday, March 11, 2011 in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


If you thought the sniping between the NFL and NFLPA was annoying when the two sides were supposed to be operating under a “cone of silence,” get ready to puke over the next few weeks.

Friday’s media session parade started with Federal mediator George Cohen, who had this sobering statement.

“No constructive purpose would be served to requesting parties to continue mediation,” Cohen said.

Translation: Blame both sides.

After that, NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash and NFLPA outside counsel Jim Quinn took the microphones on Friday afternoon to blame the other side.

Pash made the case that the NFLPA was deadset on decertification.

“At the very time we were face to face with the union and the executive committee, they had already decided to decertify,” Pash said, claiming that the NFLPA filed for decertification at 4 p.m. ET. (That’s 45 minutes before NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith spoke to the media.

Pash was exasperated, claiming that the union turned down a “good deal” which we’ll detail the specifics of later. Interestingly, Pash said a decision has not officially been made on locking the players out.

“We accepted the union’s position on a wide range of issues,” Pash said. “Evidently that wasn’t good enough for whatever reason.”

A short time later, Quinn came out to represent the NFLPA and called Pash a liar. Yep. He added the league wanted to roll back player salaries until 2007.

The NFL Network cut away from Quinn to get more discussion from their analysts before he was done, which looks like a childish move from a viewer’s perspective.

“The absence of an agreement is a shared failure,” Pash said. “I think [fans] should be disappointed.”

Finally, something we agree with.