I was sent this link from a law professor who witnessed the hearing held on June 3rd and it doesn't paint a pretty picture. So as I toss about like a boat on rough seas I now find myself in a trough. Matt Brodie says that when DeMaurice Smith said it is now 'war' prior to the union decertification, he may have determined at that point to see this thing to the end:
So the hearing ultimately convinced me that (a) the players took a truly radical move by disclaiming and (b) this problem is not going away, even after the Eighth Circuit rules on the injunction. I had thought that the longer the lockout lasts, the more it favors the owners -- players need paychecks after all. But what if the longer it lasts, the more antitrust damages that pile up against the league? It's one thing for players to resist a deal in the hopes that the league will cave before they do. That's a hard one to win, and I think the NBPA showed how disastrous such a strategy can be in the late 1990s. But what if the players resist a deal in the hopes that one day soon, it will be all free agency all the time. No draft, no salary cap, no restrictions whatsoever. Could you hold on for a few more months in the hope that there's no salary cap -- hard, soft, or otherwise? Seems like a lot more to fight for.
If every player under contract for 2010 could accumulate damages during the time it takes this thing to resolve well that just might convince many players to stick it out. So this whole notion of the league breaking the union by starving its players might not hold water. Hence my earlier post of the league preparing to lose half the season (or more).
It's depressing Panther fans because we don't really have an idea of which side will break first. I had really hoped that once this last hearing was complete that the two sides would have renewed incentive to get a deal done in the next couple week.s The 'secret' meetings seemed to enforce that but that may have only been an renewed 'getting a sense of the other sides resolve' type of thing.
Try to imagine a league without a union, without a draft, and with constant free agency. I see a completely different NFL, one that favors the big market teams and loses all sense of parity. I see a league that is permanently damaged from what we know today. If the players are truly that resolved to getting their anti-trust protections and think it may result in bigger paydays then there is no real reason to think this thing will be resolved anytime soon. In that scenario it would require the league to put forth good faith negotiations, something they have not really done to date. Sorry to be a downer yet again Panther fans.