Thursday marked the penultimate day of the extended negotiation period, after which the expiration of the CBA (or the possible decertification the NFLPA has repeatedly threatened with) would dash fans’ hopes for the 2011 season. The interesting and yet alarming thing about Thursday’s session was the fact that the two sides seemed to drift further apart, rather than come closer to a possible solution. As the parties exited, reporters were keen to pick their brains, and among other remarks, NFL chief negotiator, Jeff Pash mentioned something about the NFLPA not being entirely committed to finding solution. DeMaurice Smith – who had left the scene earlier – returned to deliver a reply, in which he lambasted Pash and said that no one was more committed to finding a solution to the problem at hand than his side.
There were many hard-to-understand aspects of the negotiations on Thursday. According to NFLPA spokesman George Attalah, the football players haven’t even met face-to-face with the owners. Having waited for them for two hours they supposedly went home without ever directly talking to them. According to other sources, there was “minor interaction” between the two sides, but none of an economic nature. George Aiello of the NFL turned to twitter to voice his discontent over the fact that the owners were yet to hear from the NFLPA regarding the 150-page CBA draft provisions that they had sent them 8 days ago.
The word that would best characterize Thursday’s talks – at least to the outside observer – was “helter-skelter”. All fans got to see was that no progress had been made as the sides were still bogged down in discussions over how the revenues should be shared. The owners have received a $1 billion cut off the top of all revenues (much like the poker rakeback) before they were split. They now want an additional $1 billion, and although that sum has since dropped to $800 million, the NFLPA still considers it too much.