Friday, March 11, 2011

What a week!

As I write this, ESPN is announcing that the NFL Players Association has just decertified. And so, the negotiations between the NFL owners and players now goes to the courts. The NFLPA is dissolved and the union no longer exists; it is now a trade association. Players can individually file antitrust lawsuits. If the NFL locks out players, players can file lawsuits to block the lockouts. Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are expected to be among the lead plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against the league. Basically, nothing can happen business-wise with players who are currently in the league once this hits the courts. The NFL Draft supposedly can take place as usual because those players are obviously not yet in the NFL, although I heard one report indicate that, depending upon how the judge rules, the Draft could be out the window, too.

So, after a week's extension of time to negotiate...nada. Now it's gonna get nasty. There's a lockout coming, Packer fans. Just a matter of how long it will last.

Hard to image that these folks can't figure out how to negotiate a win-win situation when there's $9 billion-plus to be had. Can you say "greed"? Even kids learn that it's good to share. These folks must have missed that day in kindergarten.

Other happenings

Head coach Mike McCarthy's contract extension was finalized. He and GM Ted Thompson will be leading the Green Bay Packers' field deployment through 2015 (if memory serves). Both are being rewarded well for bringing the Lombardi Trophy home to Titletown.

The Packers put some tenders on a few players: James Jones, Daryn Colledge, Atari Bigby and John Kuhn (am I missing anyone?). Basically, they are more defensive maneauvers than anything, especially since the entire collective bargaining deal with the NFL Players Association is out the one knows at this point now whether these players will be restricted or unrestricted free agents as there is now no collective bargaining agreement that defines that.

LB Nick Barnett may be the odd man out of the inside linebackers (interesting grammatical construction there but I think you get the drift). Coach McCarthy told reporters that A. J. Hawk (recently re-signed to a new big dollar deal) and Desmond Bishop (big deal signed before end of the season) are his starting inside linebackers. Barnett, coming off his second season-ending injury in the last three seasons, may or may not be back with the Pack if and when football is next played. Consensus among fans, if you can gauge such things from the comments about the various stories and scenarios related to this topic, seems to be that Barnett will be gone and the Packers will be looking to pick up new and younger and healthier linebacker help in the upcoming draft.

Natural and man-made disasters

We awoke this morning to the sad and terrible news of the earthquake (now quakes) in Japan and the ensuing tsunami which has killed hundreds of people and destroyed much property in Japan. A damaged nuclear reactor is also in the mix and is a major concern not only within Japan but from a global perspective. We need to keep the people of Japan and other affected areas in our thoughts and prayers. If you wish to support relief efforts, text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or go here to donate online.

Finally, while it's a matter that I generally try to keep out of this blog, the happenings of the last weeks and days in the state of Wisconsin regarding the collective bargaining rights of public employees and the state budget came to a head when the governor, newly-elected Republican Scott Walker, signed into law this morning the bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. Anyone who has tuned into any of the news shows -- or even Comedy Central's Daily Show and Colbert Report for that matter -- are aware of this matter. Regardless of one's political persuasion, this event has nationwide implications either positive or negative depending upon your view. The state senate majority leader told Fox News the real reason for banning these collective bargaining rights; you can view the video and decide for yourself whether it was about the state budget or something else. Events are scheduled at the Wisconsin state capitol building in Madison for Saturday, March 12. But unscheduled events are just as likely to occur for a long time to come.

For a current list of events in Madison and around the state in support of workers' rights, see here. You can also take a stand for workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere where rights are similarly threatened by going here. And if you use Twitter -- to follow this blog at @packfasnunited no doubt! -- you can see all the various posts related to this situation by using the #wiunion hashtag.