The deadline came and went, and in the end both sides may get what the wanted all along, a battle in court. NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith gave NFL owners an ultimatum – 10 years of audited financial records to go along with any further extension or decertification. The owner, forced in a way, chose the latter.
Now the future of the NFL as we know it is murky at best. The owners will likely lock the players out, which, in turn, will generate a law-suit from the players – with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees set to testify – asking a judge to stop the owners attempts. No matter what is decided, of course, there will be appeals, delays, and the rest of legal red-tape we see every day in the American legal system.
Many of the owners are fine with this. They will try an wait the players out – see what happens to the former union once paychecks are missed, even go so far as hire replacement players. In short – we are on the cusp of an uncertain future. Both sides say they are ready for a fight – a long fight.
So now it heads to the court of Judge Doty. He is the same judge that has overseen issues between the NFL and players since the 1990’s. He’s also never decided in favor of the owners, including a ruling last week regarding the NFL’s handling of it’s TV contracts. He will now decide whether or not to stop the NFL from locking the players out.
So where does this go from here? No one knows. One thing is for sure, however, we are in for a long fight.