If there’s anything we’ve learned from the NFL Lockout, it’s that there is absolutely no trust or respect between the main parties involved. The players are convinced the owners are simply trying to pull a selfish power play for cash. In particular, there’s a huge lack of respect from players for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“A lot of the players hated him even before this went down, and now they really hate him,” one prominent player for an NFC East team told Yahoo’s Michael Silver last Friday. “He’s not smooth, charming or witty. He never seems honest when he talks to you. And he’s a dope. They should change his name to Roger Goon-dell.”
“You think any vet will shake his hand when he’s at a game next year?” asked one AFC North player. “I hope he’s gone.”
So yeah…he’s not a popular guy right now amongst the players.
Rest assured however, the owners are just as negative about the leader of the players’ cause – NFL Players’ Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.
“Roger is trying to do business, and De [Smith] is like a psycho girlfriend who doesn’t know what he wants, doesn’t understand what he’s involved in and [who] you can’t reason with,” one owner told Silver. “With psycho girlfriends, at least you can move on eventually. But Roger is stuck with him right now.”
Meanwhile, this same owner claims that Goodell still has the owners’ approval. The owner said there is near-unanimous support for the commissioner among the people running the 32 franchises and that Goodell has been “absolutely great” before and during the labor crisis.
“He’s showing the level of comportment and intelligent discourse that you’d expect of someone in his position, and his responses have been specific and thoughtful,” the owner said. “I can’t say that for [Smith]. We feel like Roger is representing our interests and trying hard to get a deal for the good of the game.”
So, this is apparently turning into one rather bitter feud.
Now, I’ve been unapologetically on the players’ side through all this, so maybe I’m a bit biased. But I think if Smith is bugging the owners this much, that’s probably a good thing. I don’t doubt that Smith has been tough to negotiate with lately. Why would he? If the courts throw out the lockout…the players win this labor showdown. Why would he not wait for the ruling?
The owners are getting nervous because they know they’re in trouble. If this goes to the courts, they probably lose. And it serves them right.