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The bizarre lockout story of the week


The title of this item shouldn’t be interpreted as an indication that we’ll have a bizarre lockout story of the week for every week of the lockout. We just couldn’t think of a better way to describe what we’re about to summarize.

Ron Borges of the Boston Herald recently wrote an item arising from something he overheard at the league meetings in New Orleans . . . while using the bathroom.

Borges was sitting in a stall (it’s unknown how wide his stance was) when, per Borges, NFL outside labor counsel Bob Batterman and another league official entered the bathroom. The man whom Borges believed to be Batterman said, “Now we settle in for the long battle. I thought we had a chance to avoid it a couple of weeks ago, but it didn’t happen.”

Reached for comment by PFT, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said via e-mail that the league had no response to the report.

The rest of the article contains Borges’ analysis of the situation, tinged with an anti-league perspective with potency similar to the anti-Belichick stance he has adopted over the past decade. We’ll specifically address only the last paragraph of the article, in which Borges suggests that the league has reneged on a vow never to argue that a decertification of the union was or is a sham. But it’s far more complicated than that.

Though the players claim that the league has waived the sham defense to dercertification, the league contends that the union opted to shut down too early, so that an antitrust lawsuit could be filed before the labor deal expired -- and thus before the termination of a six-month post-CBA waiting period to which the players had agreed.

We don’t know which side will prevail on that point. But each side has advanced potentially persuasive arguments. Borges’ presumption that the league has broken its promise reveals what his prior writings have subtly obvious.

He’s in the “tank” for the players.

And that’s fine. But he should admit it to his audience, so they’ll know where he stands when reading what he is writing -- especially when it’s based on something he claims to have overheard while contemplating an upper decker.