This evening Mike Florio over at ProFootballTalk wrote a column titled, “When lockout starts, league policies go out the window.” Basically, the point of the article was that players will not be under the NFL’s drug testing umbrella or sanctionable for legal, or other types of moral/ethical misconduct issues that may arise during the period of time that a lockout exists if/when it happens.
My first thought when I read this wasn’t, “Well that’s it, everyone is going to start smoking marijuana now.” And it wasn’t, “Will NFL players now routinely pack guns like Plaxico Burress?” It wasn’t, “Are they all going to act like Ben Roethlisberger in a bar now?” either. What came to my mind first was PED’s. If players know there is going to be no drug testing (and you can’t do it in hindsight), what’s to stop them from taking steroids? Are we naïve enough to think that everyone is going to be on the honor system?
The 2011-12 NFL season may or may not start on time, but either way, it’s pretty clear that there is going to be a lockout. We’ve spoken to a number of players and player agents this week and there isn’t one of them who think that there is a chance to get a deal done until the calendar reached June. Until June, other than some OTA’s which the players would just assume skip anyway, there just isn’t any urgency to get a deal done. Once the calendar hits June however, the logistical clock really starts to speed up with regard to the ability to get the NFL season as we know it underway on time without some real ramifications.
Forget practicing together as a team, at some point the issue of who is actually going to be on the roster becomes a concern. Can you imagine what your Twitter feed would look like with a July free agent signing free for all? If you think that would be crazy, now try to imagine being a team GM and actually having to administer it!
Without a CBA in the NFL, the league can’t operate; there’s no NFL world order. There are teams currently placing the NFL Franchise Tag on players, guaranteeing the team that they will have the services of that player back at least one more season which is all fine and dandy except for one thing; without a CBA, teams don’t even have a right to do that! It’s like having a law that states the drinking age is 21-years old that expires on March 4. After the law expires and no new age is agreed upon, you might see baby’s crawling into pubs drooling on bartenders and having them fill their sippy-cups with Johnny Walker Black! Without a CBA the NFL will have no jurisdiction on such contract matters as Franchise Tag's, a Rookie Wage Scale or any other such matter.
When the CBA expires, PED’s will start to flow. To think otherwise is simply naive.
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