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Players who haven’t voted should vote yes on CBA

The deadline for NFL players to vote on the newly proposed collective bargaining agreement is fast approaching, and Mike Florio takes the position and explains why he believe players should vote yes on the proposal.

In the week since the NFL Players Association opened voting on a new CBA, I’ve taken no position on whether players should vote yes or no. Instead, I’ve focused only on making sure players understand the implications of voting no to the deal that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith negotiated, and of which has said he’s “proud.”

But the world has changed in the week since CBA voting opened, and I now have an opinion, based on 20 years of covering the NFL and understanding how it all works. In expressing that opinion, I’m viewing it as if my 23-year-old son were a member of the NFLPA, and as if he were asking me what he should do.

I would tell him, without hesitation, to vote yes.

Remember the notion that the best argument for voting yes arose from “fear of what may happen”? Well, it happened. And it’s still happening. The stock market has crashed, down another 2,352 points today. (Peter King quoted an ownership soured on Monday (a very long time ago in the grand scheme of the ongoing meltdown) as saying, “Every time the market goes down 1,000 points, an owner says, ‘Can I have my vote back?'") The coronavirus already has dramatically changed life as we know it, shutting down schools and sports and public gatherings and business that rely on the public to gather as we brace for things to get worse and worse and stay that way before they get better. Through it all, the economic consequences will expand.

The damage already done and the obvious uncertainty moving forward: (1) surely has harmed (and will continue to harm) the holdings; and (2) surely has hampered (and will continue to hamper) the business interests of the billionaires who run the NFL. If the players ultimately reject the CBA, the owners will see the next phase in the negotiations as an opportunity to secure relief by driving an even harder bargain, laying the foundation for making back the money they’ve lost by taking tighter control of the game they control with the threat of locking out the players and/or imposing the last, best offer prior to impasse and daring players to strike, at which time they promptly would be replaced.

Put simply, when the dust settles and the consequences are fully assessed, the owners will see a return to the bargaining table as a chance to leverage their football interests into making back money that was lost elsewhere. The leak to ESPN that some of them were rooting for the CBA felt like clumsy reverse psychology five days ago. Given the manner in which things have changed over the last five days, common sense suggests more than more than some of them are now rooting for the CBA to fail.

That’s why the players need to forget about the rhetoric and the agendas and the drive-by efforts from star players to shout it down and the players run not walk to their cell phone devices and vote yes. Once the deal that’s on the table goes away, a better deal isn’t coming any time soon. At best, the players will have to fight for months and hope that, if the economy recovers, they’ll have a chance to get something that’s maybe close to the deal that currently is staring them in the face.

So here the players are, with a rare opportunity to witness and process dramatic changes in the broader world circumstances before making their final decision on a CBA. Things have changed so dramatically that the board of player representatives actually should revisit its Monday refusal to allow players to rescind their electronic votes. Every player who voted no should want to take back the no vote and vote yes given what’s happened this week, and the union should let them do it.

At a minimum, any players who haven’t voted should vote before Saturday night, and they should vote yes. And every player should hope that the yes votes win, because if this CBA isn’t ratified the next one undoubtedly will not be as good.