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Parsing the language of the NFL lockout

Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson Photo Credit: Getty Images

Once the NFL labor situation hit the courtroom via union decertification and the league’s lockout March 11, you just knew the rhetoric would hit astronomic levels.

The players and owners haven’t disappointed. The amount of stupidity emanating from their mouths has provided a year’s worth of material for any comedian, with much more to come.

Here’s a sampling, with a little impartial wisdom on the side.

"... the worst deal in the history of sports."
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith

That was Smith’s public description of the league’s last offer. Oh, Dee, how short memories are. Remember pre-1993? No free agency. Low pay. Lousy benefits. Even if league revenues grow to a projected $25 billion by 2027 and the players’ cut drops to 25 percent, as Smith asserts, that’s still $6.25 billion to be split among 1,700 players or so. “Is that fair?” he asked. Hey, ask the 15 million unemployed if they’d sign that deal.

"It’s modern-day slavery, you know?"
Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson

What the Vikings star really meant to say about the NFL’s demands minutes after the union decertified was — well, does it really matter? Really, Adrian. What slave do you know with six zeroes in his salary? Perspective, please!

"… there is only one way to resolve our differences, and that is through good-faith collective bargaining ..."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell’s assertion, in a letter to the players, would have been a good one if it wasn’t so utterly disingenuous. If the owners really were interested in good faith, they wouldn’t have tried to sneak through a $4 billion TV war chest that a Minnesota court said violated the collective bargaining agreement.

"The critical thing is that our commitment is to negotiate."
NFL lead counsel Jeff Pash

The Monday claim actually meant that the league wants to negotiate with the people they want to negotiate with — not the NFLPA’s pesky antitrust lawyers. Pash would rather take his chances with Smith than risk a legal whacking at the April 6 court hearing on the lockout’s legality. The disbanded union, however, isn’t biting.

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