Posted by Will Brinson
Last week, negotiations between the NFL owners and the NFLPA fell apart. The primary reason for that was -- we believe -- a tremendous gap in the wants and needs of the two sides.
There's also, apparently, a little vitriol between the groups. That's not shocking. But Jay Feely's mention -- on the Michael Kay Show via Pro Football Talk -- of the way Panthers owner Jerry Richardson reportedly spoke to NFL icons Peyton Manning and Drew Brees during a Dallas negotiating session is terrifying for anyone who thinks a peaceful ending to labor talks is coming soon.
"Jerry Richardson, the lead negotiator for the owners, he's going to criticize Peyton Manning and Drew Brees and their intelligence in our meeting Saturday?" Feely said. "And sit there and say dismissively of Manning 'Do I need to help you read a revenue chart, son? Do I need to help break that down for you because I don't know if you understand how to read that?'"
If that sort of thing was said, verbatim, to Manning at a meeting, it's an absolutely terrifying prospect, because it means that there's far less forced pleasantry occurring between the two sides than anyone could have possibly thought.
And Manning may be a Southern-looking fella with a bit of a drawl, but goodness gracious do you have to be the most crotchety old man on the planet to think he's not intelligent. And Drew Brees, well, what on Earth would make anyone think he can't fathom a revenue chart?
Then again, when Richardson addressed the media following Carolina's disastrous 2010 season, he behaved much in the same way. He embarrassed several reporters with smart-alecky comments and at one point he drew a revenue "chart" on a piece of paper and holding it up to the assembled media. (Note that it was really just a terribly-drawn, one-dimensional pie chart.)
Feely also pointed out that there was no "kinda" walking out by the owners during the bargaining session last week.
"It's not true that they 'kinda' walked out," Feely said. "They did walk out."
"Logical minds can sit there and come up with a deal, but once you bring up emotion, then you get in the way of logic," Feely said.
The silver lining to come out of all of this is that there's no football being played right now -- it's a sad first Sunday without it in quite some time -- and that means these issues are at the forefront of public discussion, instead of being buried behind box scores.
That's still less fun than watching football, but it at least means there's a focus on trying to move the labor discussion, however unpleasant it may be, forward.
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