NFL Lockout Coming to an End
Well football fans, it looks like our aggravation over the lockout is finally ending. You can be sure that there will be a 2011 football season as the players are officially practicing with their coaches. Teams are already sending out season tickets, and all over Houston, fans are buying their Houston Texans tickets. Fans are becoming restless as preseason approaches; especially after the cancellation of the Hall of Fame game between the Chicago Bears and the St. Louis Rams, which was to take place on August 7. Here is a recap of the NFL lockout…
On July 20, the NFL Players Association met to vote on a settlement, failing to do so by citing lingering issues that need amending. These lingering issues included three court cases: the antitrust lawsuit, the TV networks case where the players accused the owners of setting up a $4 billion “lockout insurance” which the league would receive if there was no 2011 season, and the case in which the players accused the owners of restricting salaries during the off-season. By Wednesday evening, it seemed that, despite some issues, a settlement would soon be made.
Thursday brought on the drama, as the 32 owners met in Atlanta to discuss the deal and the settlement. In what will soon be known as one of the biggest NFL controversies in this century, league owners held a press conference Thursday evening to announce that they had approved the new CBA (31-0, with Oakland Raiders abstaining) and that a deal had been made; if the players would agree, facilities could be open on Saturday. And a deal had been made… on the owners’ side. While the owners were out celebrating, the players had not even seen the 400 page document signed by the owners. The players were not happy when they heard the news, calling the announcement and the new CBA a “power-play” and claiming the owners tried to slip in many things that had not been agreed upon.
The owners’ plan to bring in the public opinion and place the bull’s eye directly on the players backfired. If the owners wanted to use the pressure of the public to push the players into a concord, they have been deeply disillusioned. Players’ Association executive director DeMaurice Smith told constituents Thursday evening, “There is no agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA right now.” Instead of compelling the players to sign a deal, the owners’ actions alienated the players, causing them to step back from the table to take some time to think about the deal. The owners have given the players until Tuesday to sign the new CBA.
The owners want to reap the monetary rewards they have come to expect every season; the players are itching to get back into their uniforms and back on the field; the fans are ready to tailgate and spend their Sunday afternoons watching their favorite sport. In an interview July 25 with the NFL Network, Arizona Cardinals’ DT Darnell Dockett professed, “I’m fired up because I can see the light. I’m excited to get our team back together.” With an agreement between owners and players, and players ready to end this mess, fans everywhere are celebrating the start of the 2011 NFL season. Houston Texans blogs all over the internet are saying one thing: fans are ready for the drama to end and the season to begin.
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