Riddle me this, Batman… Almost 10 years ago, DeMaurice Smith was elected/selected to be the Executive Director of the NFLPA. In that role, he was the point man for the union as they negotiated the CBA with the NFL that remains in force until today. It is scheduled to expire in 2021 and it will be incumbent on both sides to negotiate a new agreement.
Recently, DeMaurice Smith said that a “work-stoppage” was inevitable for the NFL in 2021. With 3 full seasons left to play, he is telling the world that the current deal as bounded by the current CBA is sufficiently deficient that it will take a work-stoppage to get it corrected. At this point in the process, “work-stoppage” can mean a strike by the players or a lockout by the owners. Whichever flavor the putative “2021 work-stoppage” comes in, DeMaurice Smith says it is inevitable.
- If I am an NFL player represented by the NFLPA and led into CBA negotiations by DeMaurice Smith, why should I have any confidence that he can get me a deal in the next CBA that is significantly better than the one he got me back in 2011 and agreed to let it be in effect for 10 years?
The players have some legitimate issues that they want to see reflected in the new CBA; I understand that and I support them in some of their pursuits. However, at least some of those same legitimate issues existed back in 2010/2011 when this CBA was negotiated and the NFLPA reps essentially jettisoned them in favor of taking a bigger bite of the revenue pie. If a significant majority of the 1700 or so NFL players really believe that there are problems in the CBA worth striking for, then that same significant majority ought to think the NFLPA needs someone else at the table doing the negotiating.
Last weekend, MLB had “Players Weekend” and allowed players to put various nicknames/messages on their uniforms. This is a MAJOR departure for MLB; remember when Ted Turner owned the Braves and WTBS Channel 17 in Atlanta and he got one of his pitchers to wear a uniform with “Channel 17” emblazoned on the back. The Commish himself got involved in that and put a halt to it.
Here are some of the uniform names that I particularly liked:
- King Felix – Seattle Mariners’ pitcher Felix Hernandez. This has been his name in Seattle for at least a decade; putting it on a uniform was an acknowledgement of reality – or royalty in the eyes of Seattle fans.
- Miller Time – Cleveland Indians’ pitcher Andrew Miller. This sobriquet has been attached to this player for quite a while now; once again, the uniform was an acknowledgement of reality.
- Digger – Oakland A’s pitcher Kendall Graveman. Interesting play on words here…
- Toddfather – Yankees infielder Todd Frazier. Another interesting play on words but I would have been just as happy if Frazier had worn a uniform with the words “Down Goes…”
My favorite “alternative uniform” from Players Weekend had to be:
- Corey’s Brother – worn by Mariners’ third-baseman, Kyle Seager.
Last week, there was a small kerfuffle caused by some websites publishing naked photos of Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn who used to be “a couple”. Vonn thought this was an outrageous invasion of privacy and lawyers representing her threatened lawsuits if the websites did not take the photos down. These pronouncements were accompanied by the usual homages to privacy and the sorts of things that might resonate with common folk. Let me make two comments about this matter and let me be clear that I have not seen nor have I tried to see the naked photos in question:
- When an “Olympic class athlete” and the “world’s greatest golfer” are linked romantically and they acknowledge that status, there will ALWAYS be more scrutiny on them than there might be on any two random schlubs who are ‘in a relationship”. That comes with the territory of being “celebrity athletes”.
- The foolproof way to assure that naked pictures of yourself never make it to the Internet is to assure that there are no naked pictures of yourself in the first place.
Art Briles has a new job coaching football. After his unseemly exit from Baylor where even he admits that some bad stuff went down while he was in charge, Briles found a job as the new Assistant Head Coach for Offense for the Hamilton TigerCats in the CFL. The head coach there is June Jones who has known Briles and coached against him for a while.
Most folks acknowledge that Briles has a creative and fertile mind when it comes to offensive football. The TigerCats can use his help; as of today, their record is 0-8 and they have scored 51 fewer points than any other team in the CFL.
Even if only half of the things I have read about the way he and his staff dealt with allegations of sexual assault at Baylor are true, I do not believe that Art Briles belongs in the coaching business with any team associated with a school or a college. Those reports indicate to me that he cannot be a person that can be relied on to teach 19 or 20-year-old males how to be young men on one hand and constructive members of society at the same time. Frankly, I am glad to see that he has a job as a coach in pro football because – if he can establish himself as a successful coach at that level – it will keep him from trying to be a college/high school coach; and I think that is a good thing.
Finally, speaking of coaching hires, here is a comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald. You may think it is simplistic – – or you may conclude that this is a statement of inevitability:
“The 49ers’ Katie Sowers has become the NFL’s first openly gay coach. Given the job security of that profession, she’ll also be the NFL’s first openly gay coach to be fired.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………