The NFL owners approved a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement on Thursday and lifted the lockout against the players, based on the condition that the players recertify as a union and vote to ratify the CBA.
The players balked and have not yet scheduled a vote, and are now throwing out further accusations at the owners, claiming they have not yet seen the full proposal and that they are being pressured by the owners into accepting a deal with which they’re not content.
I wish the NFL players would give the American public a little credit. The buzzword being uttered from the mouths of prominent veterans is “fair,” as in a fair deal. They’re trying to sway public opinion to their side because they know pressure is on them to return to football now that the owners have done their part.
I have a theory about why the players have yet to vote and it has nothing to do with the fairness of the deal. The players are stringing out the process in order to delay reporting to camp. They don’t get paid for preseason, so they have no incentive to suit up and take a punishment.
Veterans also have no desire to wear helmets and pads in the midst of this incessant heat wave America’s been experiencing — or any July-August heat, for that matter.
Remember Brett Favre’s waffling over whether to return to football or to finally retire? (How could you not remember? He’s been doing it every summer for the past five years.) It was no coincidence that he waited until the very last minute to come back; he was too old and had no desire to participate in training camp.
Think about it: players don’t want to expand the regular season to 18 games because of further risk of injury. So, why would they rush back to play meaningless, unpaid preseason games when they have the perfect chance to avoid them by hiding behind the labor negotiations? And the older veterans — and fringe players — have more incentive to skip training camp and preseason games because it’s less likely they’ll lose their jobs to younger players if those young players don’t get a chance to hone their skills.
We’ve endured a long four months of this lockout and now that it’s finally been lifted, it’d be a shame for the players to ruin that progress and delay the start of America’s sport and a game we all love so dearly.