Right now no one knows what will happen with the twice-extended labor contract between the NFL and its players set to expire this evening. Signs that there might be an agreement — or at least another extension for negotiating purposes — do not appear good, however.
Friday is the 16th day of federally mediated negotiations, which began Feb. 18. During most of that mediated time, the NFL and NFL PA have seemingly had a moratorium on the public sniping and accusations that had characterized prior discussions about the labor agreement. That congeniality seemed to go out the window Thursday night as NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash and NFLPOA spokesman George Atallah traded barbs.
"I’ve said it many times: If both sides have an equal commitment to getting this deal done, it will get done," he said. "I don’t know if both sides have an equal commitment. … Obviously, we have the commitment."
When that was relayed to NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah, he responded with an e-mail to The Associated Press that said: "Jeff Pash was part of an executive team that sold the networks a $4 billion ticket to a game they knew wouldn’t be played. The only thing they’ve been committed to is a lockout."
The basic problem remains the disagreement over how to split the league’s $9 billion revenue pie. If no agreement or extension is reached the players could decertify their union and the owners could begin imposing a lockout.
Settle in, football fans. This ride might be about to get even bumpier.