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DeMaurice Smith, which when translated from Latin means 'douchebag'.
DeMaurice Smith, which when translated from Latin means 'douchebag'.

[Edit: Several NFL players have filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning are the headliners, but Vikings players Brian Robison and Ben Leber were also named as plaintiffs I wish they were just a DE and a LB as oposed to 'plaintiff'. This sucks.--Ted]

Hey guys. How are we doing? In light of the tragedy in Japan, what happened between the owners and players is is something that needs to really be put into perspective. I have a daughter living over in Guam, so needless to say, (she's fine thanks for asking) what happened in the billionaire v. millionaire pissing contest is about as close to irrrelevant as something can be in the grand scheme of things.

That said, this is a blog about the greatest team in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings, so yeah, we have a vested interest in what's going on with these two parties of jackasses, and what's going on quite frankly sucks.

The players and owners have managed to kill the golden goose, something I thought unfathomable as little as a week ago.

You stupid, stupid bastards.

I've also been a pretty strong advocate for the players; if you doubt me just search the site, and you'll know I'm not saying it just for literary hyperbole. But if the statement the NFL released today once negotiations broke down is even half true, screw the players. The statement from the NFL, then my thoughts after the jump.

Oh, the commentary might be fairly salty, just a warning.

The NFL statement:

The fastest way to a fair agreement is for both the union and the clubs to continue the mediation process. Unfortunately, the players’ union has notified our office that at 4pm ET it had "decertified" and is walking away from mediation and collective bargaining, presumably to initiate the antitrust litigation it has been threatening to file. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, the clubs offered a deal that would have had no adverse financial impact upon veteran players in the early years and would meet the players’ financial demands in the latter years.

The union left a very good deal on the table. It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).

The union was offered financial disclosure of audited league and club profitability information that is not even shared with the NFL clubs.

The expanded health and safety rules would include a reduction in offseason programs of five weeks (from 14 to nine) and of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) from 14 to 10; significant reductions in the amount of contact in practices; and other changes.

At a time when thousands of employees are fighting for their collective bargaining rights, this union has chosen to abandon collective bargaining in favor of a sham "decertification" and antitrust litigation. This litigation maneuver is built on the indisputably false premise that the NFLPA has stopped being a union and will merely delay the process of reaching an agreement.

The NFL clubs remain committed to collective bargaining and the federal mediation process until an agreement is reached. The NFL calls on the union to return to negotiations immediately. NFL players, clubs, and fans want an agreement. The only place it can be reached is at the bargaining table.

Okay, if that's true, or even 50% of it, the players were never serious about getting a deal. They were interested in one thing--decertifying so they could file an anti-trust lawsuit in court, which they have.

Let's look at this bit by bit.

It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that was every major bone of contention the players union had in terms of salary, games, and retirement health care. Maybe the numbers would've had to move in either direction to get the deal done, but damn, THAT WAS EVERYTHING THEY WANTED.

Well, except one thing. They wanted the owners to open the books. What? The statement says the owners offered that, too?

The union was offered financial disclosure of audited league and club profitability information that is not even shared with the NFL clubs.

So the NFL was prepared to share financial information with the NFLPA that they don't even share with club owners? Excuse me, but what the fuck more do you want the NFL to do here? Offer bank receipts and ATM withdrawals?

The owners also offered a reduction in off season activities.

The expanded health and safety rules would include a reduction in offseason programs of five weeks (from 14 to nine) and of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) from 14 to 10; significant reductions in the amount of contact in practices; and other changes.

Folks, although the two parties might have been a little bit off in the specific numbers, what you've just read is the framework of a fair deal.

And DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA pretty much said 'fuck you, see you in court.'

At least one owner, John Mara of the Giants, seems to think that's exactly what the plan was:

"One thing that became painfully apparent to me during this period was that their objective was to go the litigation route. I think that they believe that that gives them the best leverage. I never really got the feeling during the past two weeks that they were serious about negotiating, and it’s unfortunate because that’s not what collective bargaining is all about. I think eventually we’ll be back at the table, but unfortunately now we’re going to have to go through this process now, where we’re in court."

Thanks to maybe three or four people, the chances of us enjoying a 2011 NFL season dropped significantly.

The NFL as we know it is dead.

Long live the NFL.