Prior to the Saints/Vikings season opener on Thursday night, the players gathered on their respective sidelines and held a finger in the air to show a sign of solidarity in the face of a labor dispute. The goal was for the players to get the fans on their side as they prepare for a fight with the owners regarding a new CBA.
While most people feel like the owners have the upper hand in the situation, the players’ union has some weapons in mind to fight back. Mike Silver wrote up a tome about the situation for Yahoo! Sports if you’re so inclined. In his lengthy column, Silv mentioned a few tricks the players may have up their sleeves:
The union has broached the possibility of retaliating against the networks who broadcast the league for what it views as a funding of the lockout by advising players to skip out on production meetings and other interview requests. That may not actually happen, but George Atallah, the NFLPA’s executive director of external affairs, warns, “If there are networks that are not portraying this situation fairly, the players are prepared to act.” The union also sent letters to some of the NFL’s major sponsors reminding them that all marketing deals will cease in the absence of a CBA, impairing companies’ ability to use players or their likenesses in advertising campaigns.
So the players do have some leverage after all. The owners will be paid big bucks next year even if there’s a lockout because of the way their TV deals are structured. That’s the reason most people feel the owners are in the best position, but the players do have a few weapons to fight back.
Also, my favorite part about Silver’s column was his Cheech & Chong portion. Without a CBA in place, there will be no drug testing so all the players will be up in smoke. Expect a pot-filled summer off the gridiron.
Fans’ guide to NFL labor battle [Mike Silver/Yahoo! Sports]