One of the bits that didn’t make it into the column is a soundbyte from Goodell about the coming labor negotiations. The commissioner takes a shot across the bow of the Players’ Union.
“The damage will start occurring and escalating by March. I say that on all levels. The owners will be forced to take certain steps, the players forced to go to litigation and perhaps decertification [of the union], and those things that are difficult to unwind. Will fans put money down for season tickets? Will sponsors set aside money to advertise on games they’re not sure will be played? My fear is that players think there won’t be any damage done until we miss games. Not true. Also, what’s your free-agency window going to be if this goes far?”
The battle in the media is going to revolve around each side convincing the fans that the other doesn’t have their best interest in mind. So when Goodell says, “My fear is that players think there won’t be any damage done until we miss games,” he’s really telling the masses that the players are thinking about themselves.