It’s become easy to get wrapped up in the optimism that has recently surrounded the NFL labor fight, but it’s important to keep things in perspective. Even if we are inching closer to finalizing the framework for a new collective bargaining agreement, 24 of 32 owners still have to vote in favor of the deal before it can become the law of the football land.
Which is why it’s a tad upsetting to see reports emerge this morning that some owners are resisting the deal that the league and the players have been putting together for several weeks.
A handful of NFL owners — at least two of which are from AFC teams — believe the parameters of the deal being discussed don’t adequately address the original issues the league wanted corrected from the 2006 collective bargaining agreement, according to sources.
Naturally, I’m wondering if the two owners alluded to are Ralph Wilson of the Bills and Mike Brown of the Bengals, both of whom voted against the ’06 deal (they were the only two owners to do so). And while, technically, there’s room for Wilson, Brown and six others to oppose a deal that might still be approved, the league would obviously prefer to have all 32 owners on board, especially considering how bad that last agreement ended up being for the owners.
Plus, this gives those few dissenting voters a chance to persuade fellow owners to vote against a deal that doesn’t satisfy them.
And what exactly is it that doesn’t satisfy them? According to NFL.com’s Albert Breer, resisting owners are concerned that they won’t be protected if the economy were to tank again. So while the players are pushing for that all-important “true up” in order to see their profits rise as the league’s revenues increase, the owners are now voicing a concern that the economy might actually have the opposite effect.
Schefter claims that these “internal negotiations” are why the league has adjusted the schedule for next week’s owners meetings and has asked those involved to keep Wednesday open in their schedules. Until now, the commonly held belief was that those measures were being taken to give the owners a chance to vote on a new agreement. Instead, it’s giving them a chance to discuss a new agreement.
And that’s not quite as encouraging.
Hopefully, this is simply part of the natural ebb-and-flow of intense labor talks.