The NFL lockout is still going strong despite recent reports of progress at the bargaining table.
ESPN is reporting that the latest round of super secret talks at an undisclosed location inside a secret bunker outside of Boston have wrapped up for the week. ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reports via an unnamed source that talks are heading in the “right direction.” Talks are expected to resume next week, though both sides are expected to continue working and hammering out details until that time.
Now that we got the good news out of the way, Pro Football Talk is reporting via an unnamed source (surprise) that NFLPA/Trade Association representative DeMaurice Smith told the players that a deal is not close and to “not believe the hype.”
First of all, and I am sympathetic to the players, Smith needs to shut the hell up. For a couple of weeks now, both sides have been talking and we have been getting nothing but positive reports that things were moving in the right direction. For the first time in a long time we haven’t had to hear either side taking shots at the other in public. We haven’t had to hear any pro union/player or pro owner spin campaigns.
Now, when it seems things might finally be happening, Smith has to go off and run his mouth. He knew damn well his “message” to players would leak out. I am not sure what his motive is but I can tell you his actions, if he did indeed do this, are not productive.
This is a tense situation and the last thing we need is one side or the other to start shooting off their mouth in a sly attempt to try to gain some leverage, whether it be in the negotiations or with the court of public opinion. While Smith’s words weren’t a direct shot at the owners, they were not helpful to the effort to keep the mood positive and the talks focused.
I’ve been very supportive of the players throughout this entire process. If the reports I have been hearing about the potential framework of the new CBA, the players are closer to getting a fair deal than they have been at any time throughout this process.
So please, DeMaurice Smith, shut the hell up.