Fellow Redskin fans and armchair quarterbacks – be very careful with the judgments that ye shall pass in the next day or so.
We all sit and wait with bated breath, for an agreement to be reached, and for the NFL lockout to end. As fans, we are starting to feel that compulsion swell inside of us, and we feel our burgundy and gold blood coarsing through our veins. Emotions heightened, it would be easy for us to jump to conclusions, or to make rash judgments.
Ownership played dirty pool Thursday, holding a press conference to ostensibly give Joe Q. Public the impression that the NFL lockout would be over as they were turning over a new proposal.
The football starved nation went mad. People celebrated. People Partied. People Tweeted. People Facebooked. People high-fived. People blogged that the lockout was done.
And all for naught.
You see, there was really nothing to get excited about. The players themselves hadn’t even seen the new proposed agreement. In fact, despite an 8pm conference call for the NFLPA, no vote was even taken on Thursday.
Further to that, there are rumblings that the NFL tried to sneak in some language that hadn’t been discussed. Our friends over at Hogs Haven trended a new hashtag on Twitter #hiddenNFLclauses. Jokes spread like wildfire as people mocked the entire process, but despite the levity, the players have to be pretty pissed about the gestapo tactics of ownership.
Redskins player representative Vonnie Holliday tweeted the following at 8:30pm to try and quell the brewing PR storm: “Please don’t get excited about that press conference. The owners have agreed on a deal we the players have not seen! This is not consistent with where we thought we were yesterday!”
Those are troubling words from a man who chooses words carefully. As he stated later in the evening, “Look guys I have no reason to lie! The truth of the matter is we got tricked, duped, led astray, hoodwinked, bamboozled! I’m sorry you did too!”
I struggle to see any benefit to one half of the negotiations feeling like they have been ‘duped.’ Did the league make a massive mistake?
Reactions from other Redskins players were mixed – ranging from not at all surprised, to thoroughly disenfranchised. The fan base was frustrated to say the least, and rightfully so, we are but puppets in this game. It’s easy to see how the bush league press conference put on by league ownership, could even further delay an agreement.
Luckily, Redskins defensive end Jeremy Jarmon tweeted some sage advice out to Redskin tweeps everywhere, “It’s called negotiating. It’s a process. Can’t be offended during the process. It’s strictly business.”
Hopefully few feathers were ruffled by the actions of ownership, and the two sides can back to negotiating in good faith – without the pageantry. I asked Vonnie via Twitter if he thought that the tactics of ownership would potentially delay an agreement. His response was definitive and to the point, “No… We want to get this over with!”
So what looked like it would end on Thursday evening could go on for a bit longer, but hopefully not much longer.
Stay tuned, try to stay level-headed, and don’t buy into the hype.
Hail to the Redskins.