What’s Next For NFL, Players?

The sun came up Friday morning and the National Football League pulled back the curtains on a new day, only to see some of the same storm clouds in the sky.

After a wild Thursday night in the stalled labor agreement between owners and players, it now makes Friday the next big day in the situation. And, the team with the ball in its hands is what used to be called the NFL Players Association. The immediate future is up to them.

So what can we expect from the players on July 22?

That’s exactly what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is considering. Most of the league’s movers and shakers were in the Boston suburb of Newton Centre on Friday morning, attending the funeral services for Myra Kraft, the wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. She passed away on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer.

Once they pay their respects to the Kraft Family, Goodell and his staff will have to find more time and energy to deal with the players. Ultimately, what’s likely to happen on Friday is this:

  • Goodell and players association head DeMaurice Smith will speak by phone several times during the day. There will be ongoing negotiations between the parties. No matter what ownership said Thursday evening, they understand that nothing was set in stone.
  • Lawyers from both sides will spend time going over language and haggling about everything, including the placement of commas and semi-colons.
  • The Commish will have to talk with his labor committee to alert them to the direction of negotiations with the players.
  • If the NFL does not dig in its heals and if they throw the players a bone in the final agreement, then the players executive committee and team reps will vote for the proposal, thus sending it to the rank and file.

But the deal breaker in the scenario remains the recertification of the NFL Players Association. Until that happens, the owners and players cannot agree to a 10-year collective bargaining agreement. The owners want the remnants of the NFLPA to do an electronic recertification vote. The players association doesn’t think that’s legal and they want to go the tried and true route of getting players to sign union cards.

The NFLPA needs 50 percent of the vote, plus one to be recertified.

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