Maybe you saw The New York Times's News Alert Friday evening that said the NFL owners have voted to end the lock out. You got excited. Everyone did. "FOOTBALL BACK" was trending on twitter. The grammatical mistake is a reference to a song. Everyone got a little caught up in the excitement. The deal isn't done though. It's close, so no one is blaming you for getting a little excited. Here's what's going on:
The owners have voted on a deal: The owners got together and voted to ratify a deal that would end the lockout. The owners almost pitched a shutout voting on the deal, with a 31-0 endorsement. The Raiders were the only team that abstained. Roger Goodell told everyone the good news. Now that the owners have voted on a deal, all that's left is for the NFLPA to reunify and vote on the deal before the lockout can officially end. Great! Everyone is happy, right? The lockout is over? Not quite. There are still a few problems.
The players aren't going to like this deal: When the owners announced they had voted on a deal, the players had not even seen it yet. That's right, they were not sent a copy of the deal before the owners announced they approved it. An e-mail from Caroline Panthers kicker Jay Casey was obtained by ESPN and said, "so everyone understands, we have not received the owners' proposal that they approved. Because of this fact, there is nothing that has changed." The initial player reactions were not good either. At least, not according to Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter. He obtained an email from DeMaurice Smith that said:
1) As you know, the Owners have ratifified their proposal to settle our differences. It is my understanding they are forwarding it to us.
2) As you may have heard, they apparently approved a supplemental revenue sharing proposal. Obviously, we have not been a part of those discussions.
3) As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open.
4) Other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved. 5) There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time. I look forward to our call tonight.
The NFLPA has Jim Trotter also reported that NFLPA General Counsel Richard Berthelsen sent an e-mail to players saying that the owners might be in violation of federal labor laws for trying to coerce them into forming a union. As The New York Times reported, the owners deal "puts enormous public pressure on the players to follow suit and end the lockout. If they do not, more of the preseason and the $200 million per week it generates, could be imperiled." Roger Goodell announced earlier Wednesday that an August 7 preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the St. Louis Rams is canceled, the first tragedy of the NFL lockout.
What they're saying: Mike Freeman of CBS Sports is reporting that the players didn't vote on the new deal. They are certainly feeling the pressure The Times referred to, but they aren't letting it get to them. Players told Freeman the owner's move to announce they agreed on a deal was "arrogant" and "serious gamesmanship." There was a conference call that lasted two hours between 32 player reps, but the deal was never voted on. Things still have to be worked out. The owners were hoping the PR press of their vote would pressure players into an incomplete deal. Football Outsider's Doug Farrar tweeted, "In the spirit of ratification by single-party proposal without acceptance, I would like to announce my engagement to Scarlett Johansson."
The lockout will continue for at least another day. The deal the owners voted can still be modified. We're not back at square one, but we aren't back on the field either.