Q&A with Derrick Mason ….

March 15, 2011 |

Fans are an unfortunate casualty of this situation. Fans have been caught in the crossfire during the owners locking the players out. This would be a better question for the owners.

Are players concerned that the same thing that happened with MLB will happen with the NFL?

I think right now we are still really optimistic about getting a deal done…so there’s not a lot of concern yet. I sure hope that wouldn’t happen.

How will this affect off season workouts and the players normal off season routines?

If we can’t get a deal done soon, we will have to find our own trainers and playing fields. One thing that worries me is that without trainers who are experts in training players at this level is that some guys will either over train or under train. This will lead to an unusual amount of (possibly career ending) injuries when we do start playing again.

Some of us are viewing this latest sequence of events; the de-certification and involvement of the federal courts, as a tangible step toward reaching a remedy or resolution. I suppose we see it as a means to compelling “transparency” thru our legal system. Is this your view, as well?

Absolutely! We want to be able to see the financial state of each team so we can make steps toward a resolution if giving money back is, in fact, warranted.

A good number of fans will say the ongoing labor dispute is simple selfishness between “millionaires and billionaires”. They also assume every player makes millions of dollars and they leave the game having amassed a fortune. Can you share your knowledge and experience as it relates to such assumptions?

I personally don’t own a million dollar home, or a yacht or any of the other things people talk about. It’s harder for us to get back into the workforce after football than it is for young men and women graduating from college with multiple degrees…and the young people today are having a really tough time. If I was an employer I’d certainly hire one of them than a player who has no experience and a degree that is “older” and less relevant than one of theirs. I know there are players who blow their money. And there are others who get taken by bad financial advisers or agents. But the reality is that less than 1% of players can even afford these kinds of things things, whereas close to 100% of owners can afford these luxuries. Yet they are asking us to put our bodies on the line because they “need” more.

Many volatile situations are countered by acts of appealing to the consumer with misleading public relations gestures or stunts. And, some travesties are addressed by showing extreme acts of humility. How do you view Commissioner Goodell’s recently reduced annual salary of $1?

Well, all I can say is if you can take a salary reduction to $1 then that’s something you can obviously afford to do.

When you awaken on a typical March day, how does your body feel when first getting out of bed? Do you feel like your physical mobility and assumed reflexes will be negatively impacted later in life, especially due to football injuries?

I can only speak for myself, but when I get out of bed in mid March, I feel pretty good. I know there are many others out of the 1500 players who struggle with injuries and just day-to-day activities. I think that where the “getting out of bed troubles” start is actually after football when players no longer have access to top notch trainers and others skilled in treating athletes at this level. (I’ll let you know in a few years!)

In the season-ending press conference, Steve Bisciotti emphatically stated there would be no mudslinging or negatively-spirited bantering within the Ravens organization. To date, Mr. Bisciotti has certainly been one of the owners who’ve taken the HIGH ROAD in public displays. What are your feelings in regard to the Ravens public exposure in this situation?

I feel we have the best owner in all of football, hands down…probably the best in all of sports, period. He has held true to his word as has everyone in the organization. No player that I’m aware of has disrespected management or vice versa. I can’t say anything other than great things about Steve and the organization as a whole. We have a world class group of people in Baltimore.

From a personal perspective, how is this era of unrest weighing on you, from a human perspective? What is the mental and emotional toll from such uncertainty?

Mentally, it’s tiring, you just want to get a deal done. Players chose this profession to play, not to sit in a court room. I’m in pretty high spirits, but can be nerve-wracking and frustrating at times.

Another assumption made by fans and media is players would prefer to drag out negotiations thru late-summer and forgo the rigors of training camp. Can you speak to the legitimacy of such suggestions?

I don’t know many players that love training camp (laughs) but I think that almost all players do realize it’s a necessary evil and one that helps them not only with the physical readiness we need but also the mental and emotional things like being able to “click” together as a team, as a unit. It’s definitely not a hope that we’d miss part of all of training camp, it’s would actually be a pretty big fear.

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