The current collective bargaining agreement expires on March 3 of this year and both the NFL and NFLPA have been rattling their sabres amidst on-going strife between the two sides. These labor issues have led to an on-going PR battle between the league and the players. The two sides have websites devoted to pumping out their message. The players site is NFLLockout.com and the owners site is NFLLabor.com.
Now we have the latest volley in the battle for public opinion as the NFL Players Association is conducting "Let Us Play Day." This day consists of sending out tweets in support, "donating" your Facebook status, and the latest addition of participating in an interactive chat with the NFLPA and its players through Twitter and Facebook.
If you want to take part in the chat, it will be taking place HERE at ustream.tv starting at 9:00am pacific time. You can send in questions by submitting tweets to the following accounts, or posting on the following Facebook pages.
Twitter : @NFLLockout, @NFLPA, @DeSmithNFLPA, @GeorgeAtallah
Facebook: Facebook.com/NFLLockout & Facebook.com/NFLPA
I think your best bet would be posting on NFLLockout and tweeting to @NFLLockout and @GeorgeAtallah.
I'm not sure yet what to make of the chat. The participants will be George Atallah (Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs), NFLPA President Kevin Mawae, and a "special guest." Additionally, Winston Justice of the Philadelphia Eagles and our own Patrick Willis will be tweeting and answering questions about the labor issues throughout the day.
I'll be working during the chat so I won't be able to see what went down until a little later in the day. If you get a chance to check it out, please post some of your thoughts in the comments here. I'm curious to see how this will all play out beyond the public relations aspect of it. And I wonder if we'll see any sort of NFL reaction at this point. I'd imagine they'd prefer to keep the focus on the playoffs, so we'll see if they have anything to say about these issues today or later this week at all.
As far as I'm concerned, I just want football in 2011. No work stoppage, no delays, no nothing. The best way to hammer that out is through negotiations. Some folks think the two sides are making some kind of progress through back-channels with the rest of this just being public posturing for the cameras. I have no idea what's true and what's not since so much happens in the proverbial smoky back rooms. Let's just hope the two sides get a mutually beneficial solution figured out.