The NFL and NFLPA have been engaging in a PR battle over the last few months that has seen a variety of rhetoric flowing back and forth. The most recent instance of this saw Roger Goodell promise to reduce his $10 million salary (with bonuses) to $1 while any possible work stoppage takes place after the CBA expires at the beginning of March. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith responded in a tweet by stating that he would reduce his salary to 68 cents if a deal was done by the Super Bowl. All in all it's a lot of hot air given the type of money these two have likely banked in recent years.
"Honestly, I don't give a damn if they get mad at me or not," Cromartie said. "But it's getting to the point where it's getting ridiculous when everything is always dealing with money. You're basically dealing with people's livelihoods... You're dealing with hundreds of thousands of other people in this workplace from the venues to everyone else. To me, you need to stop bitching about it. If you want to say that you want to get into a room and meet. Then, do it. Don't just talk about it."
"You got our head union rep acting like an [site decorum]," Cromartie added. "They got their guys acting like [site decorum]. So they just need to get their [site decorum] together and just get it done."
"When you don't get no information about nothing from the union or the owners," Cromartie told New York reporters Monday. "So to tell you the truth, they (NFLPA reps and owners) need to get their damn minds together and get this [site decorum] done. Stop bitching about money. Money ain't nothing. Money can be here and gone. Us players, we want to go out and play football. It's something we've been doing and we love it and enjoy it. It's our livelihood."
If anybody was going to crack within the union ranks first, I have to believe the house money was on Mr. Nine Kids By Eight Women And Can't Remember All The Names, Antonio Cromartie. If anybody is going to be hurt by a lockout, it's a guy with a whole ton of child support bills. And throw in his generally big mouth and none of this is really surprising.
Players like Ray Lewis and Darnell Dockett have voiced support for the union leadership, but a crack at this point in the process does not serve the union well. It's possible they'll get Cromartie to quiet down and go from there, but as I mentioned in the SB Nation Bay Area piece linked above, the owners have an edge when it comes to having fewer members and having made much of their money outside of football.
I'd imagine there will be some tiffs between big market and small market owners when it comes to revenue sharing, so we'll have to keep an eye out for that. At this point, we're getting quite a bit of rhetoric and nothing to indicate much advancement is being made towards a deal. I have to believe some discussions are going on behind closed doors, but until we know otherwise, people are likely to fear the worst.
Personally, aside from just wanting football to be back next season, I really would prefer to not have to fill Niners Nation with daily lockout posts after the draft. If the owners lockout the players free agency will be delayed indefinitely. Once the Draft ends in April we really won't have anything to discuss about the 2011 season until a lockout is resolved. Players and coaches/executives won't be able to interact, which means no practice, no contract signings, no nothing.
There's still a month and a half to get something figured out so hopefully they get this situation settled. I enjoy the legal aspects of this whole situation, but there's only so much about the lockout that I can write.