For NFL players … this is not time for a two-minute drill

July 22, 2011 |

You can count me among the millions and millions of pigskin lovin’ Americans who simply want this NFL labor deal to be firmly in the rear view mirror.  I want football, period.

But, I also recognize the very sensitive nature of ongoing negotiations, especially as members of the NFLPA are at a juncture where ratification and commitment – a 10 year commitment – are mandated.

I’m not suggesting players should drag their feet, toss a lil’ more mud or procrastinate over the small, incidental stuff …..

But, I do think it’s prudent for the entire viewing audience to grant a little understanding of the players’ need to be methodical in their review of ownership’s offer.  From legal jargon to perceived contradictory clauses, the proposed labor deal is probably overwhelming for even the smartest of union members.

Did you understand … and more importantly, did you read the fine print of your most recent vehicle financing agreement?

If you’re a homeowner, did you take the time to comb through every last word of your mortgage, as the lender sat across the table and fed several dozen pages your way?

Many of us just streamline such processes, right?

Well, if you agreed and signed those deals, you’re compelled to abide by the very words of those contracts – even if you didn’t fully comprehend or review a given portion.

This is exactly where NFL players find themselves today.

While a given number of fans are also assuming “a few players are holding this up”, there really is no concrete evidence such a situation exists.  When you’re dealing with a serious, lengthy commitment, a responsibility to be fully engaged and knowledgeable of your future is warranted.

All of us are on the outside periphery of this labor drama, right?

Heck, many of us don’t really care about it …..

We just want football.

That said, if there is EVER a time to sympathize with players, this is it.  They’re being tasked with agreeing to working conditions for the next decade – and it’s a deal they won’t be able to escape, because there is no opt-out clause.

A 10-year deal with no danger of either side opting out is certainly good for fans.  We won’t face the possibility of this stuff for a long time.  And, that’s a great feeling ….

But, just as owners are committed to protecting their investments and the future financial health of the league, players are obligated to ensure they’re making a deal that guarantees their future security, as well as the THOUSANDS of men who will follow in their footsteps.

How many players will still be in the game when this new deal expires?  If you want to consider the Ravens for such a prediction, only SIX PLAYERS were members of the National Football League a decade ago.

I’m not siding with players, nor am I found in ownership’s corner.  I just think it’s responsible and quite sensible to ensure that every last part of this deal is understood and in the best interest of unity.

This is not a time to hurry the process.  However, it is a time to stay focused and devoted to finishing a new deal.  And, we have every reason to believe this is happening.

Don’t overreact …..

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