SBD/January 6, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Former NFLer Suggests NFLers Strike Before Owners Lock Them Out

Antonio Pierce says strike advice is simply "food for thought"

Former NFLer and current ESPN analyst Antonio Pierce "has a bold suggestion for current players: Strike first," according to Ralph Vacchiano of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Pierce said that if he were still an active player, he "would urge the players to at least consider" going on strike. Pierce on Twitter "floated the 'what if' idea of players refusing to start this weekend's playoff games on time as a way to gain leverage over ownership." The current CBA expires on March 3. Pierce wrote on his Twitter feed, "What if the players stood up right now and walked out during the playoffs? The Owners have all the leverage right now. Players/NFLPA need to make a strong stance soon. TV (networks and) owners would panic if players made a stance right now during the playoffs. The NFL teams make a lot of money during the playoffs." Pierce "called it 'just food for thought' and later insisted he wasn't urging action." But the NFL "took him seriously enough ... that it issued a lengthy rebuttal on its labor-related website, where it reminded Pierce and current players that 'a 'walk out' is in violation of the CBA.'" NFLPA Assistant Exec Dir of External Affairs George Atallah later Tweeted the union has "already guaranteed no strike" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/6).

MAKING THE PITCH: Steelers LB James Farrior said that he "wasn't particularly surprised" by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's "mode of operation" in sending a mass e-mail to 5 million fans Monday expressing the league's view of the labor situation. Farrior: "Yeah, he was making his pitch to the fans. You have to make it look like you are not the bad guy. We understand what's going on. We know it is going to be a sticky situation. Hopefully, we will have a season next year, if not, we have to stay strong." Still, Farrior believes that the players are "going to have to sign off on the proposed 18-game regular-season schedule being pushed by the owners and the NFL to get a new collective bargaining agreement in place for next season to exist." Farrior: "There is nothing we really can do about that. We can fight it all we want to, but it is going to happen" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/6).

WOODY WEIGHS IN: Jets Owner Woody Johnson yesterday said, "I don't know whether there'll be a lockout or not. ... I'm optimistic over time there'll be a resolution. I don't know when -- whether it'll be before the season, whether it'll be just before the season, whether it will be before training camp, or when it will be." Meanwhile, Johnson said he "would definitely" participate in HBO's "Hard Knocks" again if asked (N.Y. POST, 1/6).

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