It's been a hectic day on Twitter...yeah, remember that thing I'm always touting that some of you refuse to use? Well info was pouring in throughout the afternoon today on the famed socia-media site.
The sides were talking, it was quiet, then DeMaurice Smith had a 2PM deadline to brief the players and there were reports that Smith said to prepare for decertification. Later, Chester Pitts tweeted that no such proclomation had taken place.
The sides were still talking when a report that the NFLPA was decertifying came out. Then the brakes were put on...the sides were making a last-ditch effort to come to an agreement before the 5PM deadling largely believed to be the cutoff for filing for decertification.
As of around 4:45PM EST, De Smith addressed the media saying that the NFLPA had asked for ten years of audited financial data from the NFL. Smith said the NFL had until 5PM EST to provide this data, then left the FCMS building.
Ten years of such information is unprecedented, in the NFL, as well as in the rest of corporate America. Have any of your employers offered up that much financial data to you or other employees who didn't work in the accounting department? The request seems exorbitant.
It appears that the NFL owners feel the same way, as they have refused to surrender such info to the NFLPA. As a result the players have decided to pursue decertification, meaning the union will dissolve and individual players can file anti-trust lawsuits against the NFL for locking the players out.
The sad part is that we all know how long litigation takes. There are motions and paperwork and it's not like the courts don't have other cases sometimes involving serious issues that, while they don't have the notoriety of a football labor dispute, will decide the fates of numerous companies and individuals. The process could easily drag out far into what would have been the 2011 regular season.
For us that means an increased chance of there being no NFL football for us to watch on Sundays. Chances are home equity values will skyrocket in America as husbands are actually forced to complete the "honey-do" lists their wives often hand out on the weekends, only to be swept under the couch as the remote control turns on "the game".
It's a sad day, that it's come to this. All hope is not lost though. Sometimes it's darkest just before the dawn, and what's bleak can motivate people to work even harder to solve the issues. Still, negotiating is easier than litigating. I can ask you for something, you can say yes or no. In court, I ask via a motion, which goes into the stack of papers in the courthouse and emerges some time later...followed by a legal process to determine whether I even have a valid request, and should you comply.
I was really hoping for an extension and more "talking"...but again, it's come to this.
Here's the official statement from the NFLPA
The NFL Players Association announced today it has informed the NFL, NFL clubs and other necessary parties that it has renounced its status as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the players of the National Football League.
The NFLPA will move forward as a professional trade association with the mission of supporting the interests and rights of current and former professional football players.