If you have been following the ins and outs of the labor negotiations you know that today is the day pegged for the players to vote on the deal with the owners getting their chance tomorrow.
The schedule that has been widely reported over the last week or so might have represented more of a best-case scenario rather than a realistic timetable of events as the player side of the voting is proving to be anything but a formality. I have been keeping my eye on twitter throughout the day and most of the national reporters are honest about the hurdles that remain but still seem optimistic that the players will agree to the deal, although that won’t be today. From where I’m sitting, they have to.
The players have enjoyed the majority of support in the court of public opinion throughout this process and a few snag ups now threaten to throw that all away. Right or wrong, we’ve been told that the two sides have come together over the past week with each side balancing give and take to form a framework for labor peace over the next decade. Fans won’t take kindly if these NFLPA discussions derail the process now.
The ire of a group of fans will be the least of the players’ problems if the unexpected happens and the player reps go against the NFLPA Executive Committee’s recommendation and vote “no”. Doing so would guarantee lost revenue for the league and very well may mean lost game checks. Considering the work that went into the NFLPA Executive Committee and owners getting this far, I find it hard to believe there is a deal to be had that would justify the lost revenue brought about by a rejection of the deal as currently constructed.
I’m still optimistic that we’ll see a full preseason schedule, save for perhaps the Hall of Fame Game, but there may be some tense moments prior to securing the votes necessary to bring that to fruition. There is no logical reason to let the lockout linger. The owners brought criticism upon themselves for preventing football activities earlier in the lockout but the shoe is now on the other foot. Come on, players. Give us football.