NFL claims that decertification “forced” the lockout
In the lengthy statement issued by the league summarizing the three-part clusterfudge that has left fans scrambling to figure out what will happen next, the NFL explains the decision to lock the players out.
Specifically, the league claims that the union’s decision to decertify “forced the clubs to take action they very much wanted to avoid.”
To quote the man who has vowed to whoop our asses on more than one occasion, “Child please.”
The league had been posturing for a lockout for months. Though it may have been a bluff, the message was clear -- a lockout was coming. And even if the union hadn’t decertified, the league most likely would have slammed the door shut and locked it at midnight.
Though we realize there’s a “hearts and minds” battle currently unfolding when it comes to winning over fans (or, at a minimum, avoiding their wrath), but based on our blame-game poll the owners are doing fairly well without fairly hollow and borderline disingenuous attempts to curry favor. This problem arose because the league wanted to fix the bad deal the owners approved in 2006, and the league wanted to use every weapon in the labor law arsenal to coerce a better deal out of the players.
For the league, the ultimate leverage to get the deal it wanted was the threat of a lockout, followed presumably by a lockout. For the players, the ultimate leverage to get the deal they wanted was blocking a lockout.
The fact that the league has imposed a lockout of “the union” means that the league refuses to recognize the decertification that occurred on Friday. Which means that the first legal battle will focus on whether the decertification was valid. The issue likely will be raised in conjunction with the players’ effort to obtain a court order ending a lockout of what the players regard to be non-union employees.
The resolution of this threshold issue could go a long way toward pushing the two sides toward an agreement. If the players win, it means that free agency will begin and the offseason will continue. If the league wins, the lockout will continue until the players and the league agree to a new deal.
“The union left a very good deal on the table,” the league claims in its statement. The question of whether the league thinks it was a “very good deal” doesn’t matter. The players decided that they could get a better deal in court, and they’ve exercised their right to do so. The league has exercised its right to impose a lockout.
The right most likely would have been exercised regardless of what the union did on Friday in the face of a deal the players didn’t want to take.