There has been no shortage of blame being thrown around for the current labor situation in the NFL. Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt was right in the middle of the negotiations that didn’t end up bearing fruit, but so were players Mike Vrabel and Brian Waters. The way NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith tells it (via Bob Gretz), Waters was one of the final voices at the table before things fell apart for good.
“I’ll tell you what: the last message to the owners of the National Football League didn’t come from the Executive Director. It came from the Vice President of the Executive Committee, (Indianapolis Colts center) Jeff Saturday. The last word to the owners came from the Vice President named (Kansas City Chiefs guard) Brian Waters. The men who sat across from the owners and did most of the talking today wasn’t a lawyer from D.C.
“It was players who risk everything, every day, for the game that they love.”
I can respect the idea of having the players going face-to-face with the owners, but why anyone thought they wouldn’t be overly emotional is beyond me.
There is a reason why lawyers should be the ones doing the talking for the players — and owners — down the stretch to avoid exactly what happened. Clearly Saturday and Waters were going to bat with the ideas Smith had championed, meaning get everything they wanted or bust.
As the blame game continues between now and whenever a deal is finally agreed to, Waters and Saturday are likely to have targets on their back. If a deal really was as close as many people believe, it has to be the last people at the table that deserve the most blame.