Posted on 25 May 2011.
At a time when the NFL continues to call for negotiations to resume and the players continue to resist, 1 player has made his wishes identified.
He wants negotiations. Now.
Falcons running back Jason Snelling, a four-year veteran who might or might not be an unrestricted totally free agent when the labor dust settles, lately told Tim Ryan and Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM NFL Radio that he thinks it is time to try to function out a deal.
“My thoughts on it really is that we want to get back to the bargaining table,” Snelling said. “I’ve truly spoken to one of my reps . . . . We kind of feel like at a point like this, you know, with every thing that’s going by way of the courts, that all these court dates and every little thing but nothing’s getting resolved. We kind of wonder at some point, what are we really fighting for? Do we want to play, do we want to just maintain these things via the courts? I know that a lot of guys might feel like going by means of the courts and taking it to the end and waiting for a judge to make a ruling may possibly function, but soon after they make one more ruling, we still don’t have a Collective Bargaining Agreement.”
As the interview proceeded, Snelling became more candid. “The best thing for this league is to get back to the table and make this take place together, and take this factor out of the courts,” Snelling said. “Because with this becoming in court I don’t feel any of us are going to win.”
Ryan and Kirwan eventually focused on an really pertinent question — if the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the lockout, will a deal be negotiated at that point, or will progress be delayed until the next step in the litigation effort is resolved, which necessarily would eat into the 2011 standard season?
“Nobody wants to take it to that,” Snelling stated. “I really feel like this situation has gone on long sufficient. Everyone is anxious to get back and play football.”
That said, there are factors to think that NFLPA* leadership plans to indeed “take it to that,” with ultimate failure to lift the lockout in the Eighth Circuit followed by a likely fruitless appeal to the Supreme Court and/or some other effort to get leverage via litigation before meaningful talks will occur. Even if a full season is lost just before that ever happens.
The conversation later turned to the question of regardless of whether Snelling and other players in his situation — men with four or five years of service and expired contracts who possibly will be unrestricted free agents — are becoming adequately represented by the NFLPA*. “I know [DeMaurice Smith] represents us, but when you look at it personally, I’m questioning if he’s going to searching out for my finest interests as a free agent,” Snelling stated. “Not intentionally not performing it, but if I have no voice then how can he ever be really looking out for my very best interests?”
Snelling also hinted that, at some point, the players whose paydays have been delayed by two-plus months and counting may well attempt to be heard. “That would be perfect,” Snelling said, “[for] guys in my position to come together and be our own voice.”
It need to never get to that point, because if that happens the NFL will be even far more likely to emerge from the procedure with a favorable labor deal. Instead, the players should work difficult to stick together until the Eighth Circuit rules. If the lockout isn’t lifted, then the players ought to commit to working out the very best deal achievable.
Snelling believes that such an effort really should begin now, prior to the Eighth Circuit rules. And his position has merit. If the appeals court eventually will enable the lockout to continue, the players necessarily have a lot more leverage before that ruling is issued.
Still, if the NFLPA* is committed to pursuing ultimate leverage in lieu of making the most out of some leverage, absolutely nothing will be happening — either in the coming weeks or in the coming months. Regardless of how it all plays out, Snelling comments indicate that this approach will soon be facing growing opposition from certain segments of the rank and file.