For a couple weeks now, I have been planning on writing for nbcchicago.com's Grizzly Detail in the event of a lockout. While I obviously hoped it would not come to this, that a new deal would get worked out before we got to this point, none of us have been so lucky.
In truth, I was not planning to post my first blog until Monday. I am out of town visiting family and figured there would certainly be enough noise surrounding our decertification that my two cents would hardly stand out.
However, after watching and hearing from some of the people representing ownership, I simply could not help myself.
However long this labor dispute lasts, let me lay down a few guidelines that will hold true for any post I make to this site. I will never lie. I will never mislead. I will never state anything as fact that I do not explicitly know to be true.
While my natural bias in these negotiations, as a player who has been actively involved in these proceedings, will affect my perspective, I hope to offer fans, more than anything, the most accurate depiction I can of how things are actually developing.
When I watch Jeff Pash, head negotiator for the NFL and ownership, go on national television and poison any atmosphere of mutual best interest that has existed to this point, I feel compelled to speak out. That man is, at best, intentionally shrouding the real interactions that took place in negotiations and, at worst, lying through the camera to millions of hardworking NFL fans.
This negotiation has been going on for two years. I have read every detail of multiple separate proposals from NFLPA leadership during that time. Until this week, the NFL made no meaningful counterproposals to its original stance from months and months ago.
We, the NFLPA, were negotiating with a brick wall. For Mr. Pash to depict the ultimate failure by both sides to reach an agreement as a coup d'état by the players is just irresponsible.
Please know that I do not expect fans to take sides. I have been a player in this league for eight years, but I've been a fan all my life. I want football just like everyone out there reading this post does.
The choice by the NFLPA to decertify was not taken lightly. It was not part of a carefully crafted litigation scheme to take down the NFL. Rather, this choice was our last ditch effort in trying to find a way reach a fair deal when all other options had been exhausted.
In future posts, expect less name-calling and more substance of what is actively being done to end the first NFL work stoppage since 1987.
Trust me, there are players and even some owners who are just as annoyed as you are that it has come to this.
Let's hope my career as a blogger is very short-lived, and that the game we all love can settle this labor dispute sooner rather than later.