The NFL lockout could end Thursday, but one of the key pieces that was expected to fall into place Wednesday didn't materialize.
Player representatives from all 32 teams met in Washington D.C., but haven't voted on whether to accept the proposed 10-year collective bargaining agreement and such a vote isn't expected until at least Thursday.
Word has come that progress continues to be made on several key issues, but some remain unresolved – primarily what it will take to settle or dismiss the antitrust lawsuit brought by 10 players (headed up by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees). Those discussions dragged on well into Wednesday afternoon and continue to be one of the few remaining sticking points to getting an agreement done.
It is expected that the TV revenue lawsuit will be dismissed, simply because the season is expected to go on as scheduled, which would make the "war chest" amassed by owners (who would be paid network broadcast fees in 2011 whether a season was played or not) rendered moot.
The lawsuit brought by former players, who also had a contingent of representatives in Washington Wednesday to review the details of the CBA proposal and how it would reflect upon former players, is also an issue. In an unrelated lawsuit filed Wednesday, former players contend the NFL hid results of player concussions and buried that information for decades – it has only been in the last three or four years that studies large enough to get an acceptable sampling of former players have deemed that multiple football-related concussions have had significant long-term impacts on players.
The Players Association executive committee and representatives from all 32 teams met for six hours Wednesday, but, as the afternoon wore on, some of the player reps left the meetings. Each of the team player reps has been deputized to vote for the players on his team in the matter, but the volume of the paperwork and the intricacies of the 500-page proposal are taking longer than anticipated to be reviewed.
It is possible that the review of the materials can be finished Thursday morning and a vote taken in conjunction with NFL owners meeting in Atlanta. Owners could then approve the agreement and the buzz out of New York is that Commissioner Roger Goodell is convinced he has the 24 votes required for passage – owners must approve a new CBA by an affirmative vote of 75 percent of the owners.
The delay in approval from the players doesn't appear to be a deal-breaker, but it might delay the progress of finalizing a deal.
In a related note, it was announced Wednesday that, even if both sides agree on a new CBA, the scheduled start of training camps will be pushed back three days from their initial opening schedules.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Players delay approval of CBA
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