SBD/March 14, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Lockout Watch, Day 3: Players React To Decision To Leave Bargaining Talks

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O'Hara feels lack of teams' financial information forced NFLPA to decertify
Giants C and player rep Shaun O'Hara believes that the NFLPA "had no choice but to decertify because NFL owners weren't playing fair," according to Ralph Vacchiano of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. O'Hara said, "After agreeing to a week-long extension in an attempt to come to a fair agreement with the NFL, we realized that the owners do not have an interest in agreeing to a fair deal with the players. It was evident to us that the owners had no intentions of sharing vital information when entering into a 'partnership' that a 'collectively bargained agreement' represents" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/13). Saints QB Drew Brees, a member of the decertified union's Exec Committee, wrote on his Twitter account: "Not once have the players asked for more money during this negotiation. That is a FACT. I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for us" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/12). Cardinals K and player rep Jay Feely said, "I was hopeful I could be the voice of reason and look for logical, reasonable answers. But we didn't make any progress throughout the week" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/12). Titans G and player rep Jake Scott said, "Somebody had to draw a line in the sand and say, 'This is going to stop'" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 3/13).

STEP THAT NEEDED TO HAPPEN: Bills S and player rep George Wilson said, "We can't continue to play this back-and-forth match. This is the situation the NFL owners have created and now we as players have to do everything in our power to protect all the trailblazers that came before us had fought for." Wilson was "disappointed that the union had to decertify, but said the wheels had been set in motion a long time ago." Wilson: "This day is something we have been talking about for about two years now since the owners opted out of the 2006 CBA" (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/12). Jets G and player rep Damien Woody: "I'm sad that it had to come to this. As players, we didn't want this, but we felt like it was the only option we had" (AP, 3/12). Texans OT and alternate player rep Eric Winston: "If they want to move off their stance of not opening their books, and they don't remain committed to less than a 50-50 split, I'm sure we'd listen to that. I'm a little surprised we didn't do another extension, but at the same time, there was no reason to delay anything" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/12).

WORRIED ABOUT PUBLIC'S RESPONSE: Ravens LB Jarret Johnson is concerned about the "court of public opinion" regarding the lockout. Johnson: "The general bias against the players is going to work against us. People don't know what the owners make, because they are behind the scenes. But they see us all the time. They know what we drive in, where we live. There's already a bias against us for the amount of money we make" (Baltimore SUN, 3/12). Vikings DE Brian Robison: "I know this sort of gives us a bad name -- as well as the owners -- in some fans' eyes" (USA TODAY, 3/14). Patriots C Dan Koppen: "There really is nothing left to talk about, so now it's just going to be people blaming each other and trying to get the public on their side. That's the people we're feeling sorry for right now" (Sirius NFL Radio, 3/12).

THE UNKNOWN AWAITS: Lions DT and player rep Kyle Vanden Bosch said the future is "a little bit scary" for everyone involved. Vanden Bosch: "There's a lot of players who are potential free agents, and they're still kind of trying to figure out what's next for them. There's guys coming out of college that are draft picks -- they know the draft is coming up but they're not sure what's next in the process after that. And guys like me who are geared up for what would normally be the start of an off-season program, which is kind of limbo right now, waiting for somebody to tell us what we can, what we can't do and what's expected of us" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/12).
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