NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been continuing his conference calls with fans on NFL teams this week, and his constant theme has been that he wants to get back to the negotiating table with the players to try and solve the ongoing labor dispute.
"Unfortunately we’re not at the negotiating table or the bargaining table, we’re in the midst of litigation. I think that’s unfortunate and I think it’s delaying ultimately what’s going to solve this issue [which] is negotiations. ... I hope we can get back and start talking."
Considering the vitriol being spewed by both sides it seems unlikely that rational, meaningful negotiation can take place. Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports recently wrote a revealing piece detailing the level of distrust -- really dislike -- on both sides.
Here is a player quoted by Silver talking about Goodell:
"A lot of the players hated him even before this went down, and now they really hate him," one prominent player for an NFC East team told me last Friday. "He’s not smooth, charming or witty. He never seems honest when he talks to you. And he’s a dope. They should change his name to Roger Goon-dell."
The dislike doesn't just go one way. Here is an NFL owner talking about DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association:
"Roger is trying to do business, and De is like a psycho girlfriend who doesn’t know what he wants, doesn’t understand what he’s involved in and [who] you can’t reason with," the owner said. "With psycho girlfriends, at least you can move on eventually. But Roger is stuck with him right now."
The two sides are scheduled to sit down in a negotiating session May 16-17. It is a good thing that session will be mediated, otherwise it might turn into a WWE-style donnybrook.