WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (C) arrives for labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a labor dispute as a deadline looms at the end of a 7 day extension of talks. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Roger Goodell
The NFL's collective bargaining discussion have come down to the same issue -- money. At the end of today's discussions, NFLPA executive director said that there is still a gulf between the two sides, so the NFLPA decided to dissolve their union.
This will allow for the players to sue the NFL for antitrust violations, and will likely put a damper on the Bears free agency plans.
"Significant differences continue to remain," DeMaurice Smith said. "We informed owners that significant differences remain."
Smith said that owners had until 5 p.m. ET to respond. They would either have to turn over financials, or the union would decertify. They didn't, so the union applied for decertification by faxing paperwork to all 32 NFL teams as well as U.S. Judge Carl Doty.
The CBA expires at 11:59 p.m. ET tonight. From there, the owners will have to decide to lockout, but with the players' decision to decertify, the lockout seems inevitable.
The sides agreed to two extensions since the original CBA, but the players added a demand before any more extensions wold be agreed to. They asked for 10 years worth of audited financial statements. To the players, the financial statements are key, because the owners are asking for a larger share of money. They players want financial statements to back up the claim that the owners aren't making as much money.
Buckle your seatbelts, football fan. The stage is set for plenty of legal wrangling, fingerpointing and overall ugliness.