Of the various criticisms of the new CBA, one of the more popular goes like this: The deal doesn’t allow for the players to opt out early. DeMaurice Smith of the NFL Players Association has a simple response to that critique: The deal doesn’t allow the owners to opt out early, either.
During a one-hour interview with #PFTPM regarding the labor deal on which players currently may vote, Smith pointed out that the 2006 CBA had a mutual opt out, and the owners did just that at their first opportunity. He also suggested that, if the owners had the power to opt out during the current CBA, they would have during the downturn in the ratings that happened in 2016 and 2017.
With all the talk about how the proposed CBA provides the NFL with “cost certainty,” it also provides the players with revenue certainty. As the pie grows, the players’ slice of it grows, too. And the owners are stuck with that, no matter now big, or small, the total pie becomes.
Despite the inherently tense relationship between management and labor, the more the league and its players behave as partners, the better off they and the game will be. This deal arguably moves them closer to a true partnership than they’ve ever had. That reality (we’re told) has been difficult for some owners to accept; they’d prefer to squeeze the players into submission, and to continue to treat them as employees.