The court hearing that could determine the future of the 2011 NFL season is next week on April 6. We all know that the lockout is in full force. The players are left to work out on their own and play basketball. They can't contact their coaches, can't use team facilities and don't get paid. The coaches can prepare for the draft, as the 2011 NFL Draft will happen, but the fans are left to mock drafts and waiting.
The league and the players have since been on a PR rampage, getting their messages out to the public. Roger Goodell says the NFL offer was fair. The players say it was the worst deal a union has been offered in the history of sports. It's hard to know what really happened because of all the spin.
Thankfully, some "actual" footage of late negotiations before the players walked out decertified as a union. Here is the conversation and transcription.
Jeff Pash: We are coming down to the deadline. How about we extend the deadline? We can talk this out some more. We have several things on the table you might like. Less work time, no 18-game schedule at least for the next two seasons...
DeMaurice Smith: (Chuckles) Well, I don't know.
JP: We think we are making progress. Let's keep up the mediation process.
DS: Ah. Sure you say that with your one offer at the last minute.
JP: Seriously, let's talk more. We could just split the difference with the money issue.
DS: (laughing) Sure, split the difference as the worst deal in professional sports.
JP: But it is fair. You get increased safety, less practice, more money for veterans...
DS: Stop (hand gesture). Ridiculous. How about we just end this and head to the court for decertification. Apparently that is the only way get through to you crazy people.
JP: You don't want to do that. It's a sham anyway.
DS: Really? I don't even want to look at you. In fact, look at me. I, like the players, can't even afford appropriate footwear. Look! One sock. These are the times we are in.
JP: Ha, ha. You have got to be kidding. You think that you are so bad off. We are making so many millions less than we used to?
DS: Really? Prove it. Show us the books. Or are you chicken? (long laugh)
JP: (Nervous jabbering) Well, we offered you five years of audited financials, more than what we share with the teams.
DS: (with hand waving) Not good enough. We want ten years, and what you offered wasn't anything of substance.
JP: I don't get you! (waves hand in disgust) The last deal you admitted was a great deal for the players. We want something more fair. We're willing to lock you out to get that.
DS: Ha...I knew you were planning on that all along. (Pause and look away) I'm telling you, we'll decertify and sue in court. Is that what you want?
JP: (getting closer to DS) You know I don't. Don't piss me off. You don't want my angry eyes.
DS: (giggles and makes a funny face)
JP: Come on, let's extend it another while and hammer it out.
DS: Hell no.
JP: (animated- hand waving down low and up high) No! This is going to ruin it. Crap on the floor. Crap in the fan. This is not what we wanted. I'm telling you, we will lock you out.
JP: (turns to public) Fans! The players are walking out on a fair offer. We want to continue football. They did it.
DS: (Puts foot down) That's crap. They gave us the worst deal ever.
JP: Come on, De. Let's keep working on it.
DS: Nope, this is what we have to do to protect the season. We have to use the courts or you will squeeze us until we cave.
JP: Don't go! Anything we can do to work it out?
DS: (Looking to fans and smiles) Sorry. We have to do this to keep the football season in play. To the courts we go.
JP: No!!! This is going to be bad. We always lose in court. They like the players.
DS: Bye! We know. (leaving)
JP: Wait...please? Oh, this is going to be terrible.
DS: Nope, later.