Yeah, what he said!

Time To Rip The Players...Again

When the lockout started, following the NFLPA decertification, I ripped the players and really didn’t let up.  Then I took a break from all that CBA stuff and tried to convince myself that there was real Miami Dolphins news out there.  There really wasn’t.  Aside from a Mike Sims-Walker tweet and some talk of the Phins offensive players getting together to train with the new playbook, most of what is out there is simply, draft talk.

And that’s getting a little boring without free agency.  Oh, and by the way, Ryan Mallett has set up a private workout with the Phins in Arkansas and then another in Miami around the 15th of April.  That’s really about it from the Phins front. (But I will be sure to update you as soon as that changes).

I suppose I really am trying to understand the players position in these days of no negotiations and will point out that the NFL hasn’t exactly “reached out” to the players in an effort to get back to the bargaining table.  In part because they don’t want to deal with the players representing lawyers and apparently negotiating the settlement of the litigation is not the same as negotiating the terms of a new CBA.

So while you try and digest the difference, I’m going to jump over to page two and rip on the players some more.  Why?  Because while all players are not idiots (and I know for a fact after speaking with a few that not all share the same opinion of the labor front being postured by Smith), the fact that they are allowing themselves to be represented by buffoons makes them pretty darn close.  I mean what the hell else do they want if not the money?The players say that it’s not about the money, this is a dead horse that’s been beaten over and over again, but I say this…again, for context.  Remember the players want the books opened to justify taking a pay cut from a labor deal they repeatedly say they got the better of in 2006.  Keep that in mind, well keep it in the back of your mind at least.

On the surface the players deny that money is the issue and that they are “looking out for the ex-NFL’ers who have long since retired”.  Stating of course that some day, many of them will be retired players as well.  So they are looking out for their own futures.  Let’s start here for a second.

As it was made very clear about 2 weeks ago, George Martin, the President of the NFL Alumni Association or the rep for “ex-NFL’ers” wanted to meet with then NFLPA Pres De’Maurice Smith.  He was denied.  After much pressure, Martin finally got his chance and while the one on one with Smith never took place, the NFLPA as it represents itself now, chose the opportunity to interrogate Martin about the way the NFLAA handles itself and it’s relationship with the NFL.

In other words, the reps for the players don’t like the fact that the NFLAA won’t take up their efforts and maintain a cordial affair with the league.  The shame.  Yet when Martin tried to discuss what the retired community needs and what future members of the retired group would face, he was faced with harsh criticism and what is being called interrogation.  Apparently some of this “meeting” was filmed and it’s only a matter of time before it’s actually leaked.

I find it pretty pathetic that today’s player reps are spouting about how the NFL needs to take care of the past players but they won’t budge on actually talking to them about it but would rather hold a deposition instead.  Martin voiced his concerns that the NFLPA as it were, never asked a single question regarding the quality of life that the retired veterans had.  In fact, they simply ignored their issues all together, yet it has been a focal point of their arguments since this whole labor thing started.

What I really find funny is it is these same alumni that back in 1987 went on strike and eventually won what used to be the CBA and the money that the current players are getting rich on.  The fact that they fought not only for themselves, but for the players that came before them and after them says something about the case we have today.  It’s also the difference, in my opinion, of the NFLPA being spearheaded by a former player vs. a lawyer.

“Teams pay nothing to former player pensions right now, and it’s been that way since 19…it’s been that way since history,” De’Maurice Smith said in a recent interview regarding the NFL paying into the pension funds of former players. “So I think it’s disgraceful that teams don’t pay anything to the former players who made this game great.”

The NFL has paid 350 million into player pensions in the last two years alone.  EXCLAMATION POINT

If the notion of ex-players being treated like dirt doesn’t bother you then the knowledge that the players are also asking the NFL to put in a more stringent protection system for players to avoid injury won’t likely get you teetering red either.  That however is part of the issue.

The players, again through their representation, want to stay healthier longer and at extend their careers.  And why shouldn’t they?  Despite this fact, and the fact that the last formal proposal gave the players more time off from the game and a shorter mandatory off-season workout structure, the players apparently didn’t see that as enough.  When the NFL began speaking about suspensions instead of fines for blatant unnecessary hits, the players balked and promised to fight it.

So is it any surprise that they now see blood testing for HGH as an issue as well?

The NFL wants HGH testing to be a part of the next CBA.  The players find the testing invasive as there is no urine test for HGH.  However, it doesn’t seem to matter to the NFLPA as it is that players taking HGH will do more long term damage to their bodies and could eventually suffer from far more than knee pain trying to get out of bed in their 40’s.  Roid rage anyone?

The fact that the NFL is willing to pay and allow a 3rd party to oversee the testing should be a sign that they do in fact want to protect both the players and the integrity of the game.  Yet that must not be what the players have in mind.  I’m not really sure what the players have in mind exactly for protection.  Do they simply not want to practice at all?  That will birth more injuries.  The NFL even went so far as to guarantee up to 1 million dollars in salary for the year following an injury should one occur.

With the April 6th deadline approaching for the first hearing on the lockouts legality, fans are hoping that the courts lift the lockout and allow football business to resume.  It’s the one guarantee that the season will continue moving forward.  However, it’s also been made clear that after the determination is initially made that the losing side will immediately appeal and some believe a final resolution may not occur until June 1st.  Which means that while the appeal is being heard, neither side is likely to ask the other to meet and talk things out.

It also basically puts the off-season in a clearer image.  There simply will not be football of any kind until the final resolution is rendered by what will likely be a state Supreme Court verdict.

In the meantime, I will simply have to bite my tongue for another week or so while both sides dream up ways to convince the fans that it’s not their fault.

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Tags: DeMaurice Smith George Martin HGH Testing Miami Dolphins Mike Sims-Walker NFL NFL Alumni Association NFL Labor Issues NFLAA NFLPA Ryan Mallett Ryan Mallett To Visit The Dolphins

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