As the current collective bargaining agreement between the National Football League and the NFL Players Associate was set to expire at midnight, both sides have agreed to extend negotiations an additional 24 hours,
The two sides have been at odds over how best to split the ever-increasing revenues the NFL brings in. Owners want players to give up a larger slice of the revenue pie, while also implementing an 18-game season and a rookie pay cap. Players say they are content to continue playing under the current CBA, but wouldn't mind more money going towards health insurance for retired players.
If the CBA would have expired, no new player contracts could have be signed and no trades could occur. The draft would be held as planned, but none of the drafted rookies would be able to sign contracts with their teams. It would likely have led to an escalation of the labor battle, with the owners beginning plans for a lockout and the players voting to decertify as a union in order to file an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.
The deadline extension comes as a sign that tensions between the sides have relaxed from the Cold War-style stalemate of the past few months. The two sides have been in secret mediation talks for weeks, and the negotiations can simply continue on as they have.
Credit for the detente most likely should go to Judge David Doty, who ruled earlier this week that the league improperly negotiated television contracts to guarantee income for owners in the event of a lockout. As Shutdown Corner argues, "Doty ruled that the owners violated their fiduciary duty to the players by exchanging digital rights fees for lockout insurance, essentially proving that they sold the players short in exchange for money to find a lockout they had been planning all along."
Without the money they had set aside to get them through a long, cold football-less fall, the owners became much more conciliatory, offering a favorable deal to the players that had been unfathomable just days before.
As the deadline loomed today, even President Obama took to his bully pulpit to address the issue, saying he would not address any of the issues: "You've got owners, most of whom are worth close to a billion dollars. You've got players who are making millions of dollars. ... The two parties should be able to work it out without the President of the United States intervening."(via Yahoo's Shutdown Corner)