DeSean's questionable appearance on NFL Network

Imagine that you are in the middle of a bitter separation from -- for the sake of this argument -- your husband.

He's the breadwinner and he's grown tired of splitting the family earnings in half. You're a stay-at-home mother of three and you believe that your value to the clan is equal to that of your full-time employed husband. You're happy with the 50-50 split that was agreed upon when you gave up your job to raise the kids.

The kids, naturally, side with Mom.

For the first few weeks of the separation, husband and wife carp about the other to family and friends. Both sides then deliver their arguments to a neutral group of friends. The neutral group is responsible for informing anyone else in the exact details of said separation.

The kids, meanwhile, start to speak out in support of you. Because you, after all, feed, bathe and clothe them. They believe you act in their best interest. You believe this unified front will crack Dad, who misses the kids, even though they drain his bank account.

But kids are kids and they miss Dad's attention, especially the divaesque youngest daughter. And she wants a new pair of shoes. The pair she has are worn-out Ugg ripoffs. Dad told her that if she did well on her next report card he would buy her real Uggs. She gets all As and Bs, but her attendance isn't great and she shies away from going across the middle.

Nevertheless, she's done enough to earn those Uggs. But Dad's out of the picture and you don't have enough money to buy your youngest daughter much of anything. She silently seethes. She wants those Uggs.

So she makes a few appearances at the houses of your family and friends. Everyone is happy to see your youngest daughter. She's entertaining. But she wants those Uggs. She doesn't straight out ask for the Uggs because, well, they're expensive. But it is understood. Plus, how could showing your face at Grandma's and Grandpa's hurt? It's good exposure.

(Please indulge me further.)

But Dad's family and friends miss the kids, especially Aunt Nettie. She's the blabber mouth of that side of the family, but a lot people seem to listen to her. In her eyes, Dad could do no wrong. Even when he lies or stretches the truth, Aunt Nettie is the first to defend him. Of course, he also happens to pay her bills.

But Aunt Nettie misses her nieces and nephew, especially the youngest. So she contacts the divaesque youngest daughter and asks her stop on by the house. Your youngest daughter thinks, "What could it hurt? Sure Dad owns Aunt Nettie, but an appearance at her house could further my get-new-Uggs cause!"

You find out your youngest daughter is scheduled to visit Aunt Nettie and you are not happy. Aunt Nettie, after all, is Dad's public relations arm. She is financed by Dad and thus biased. And an appearance by your daughter at Aunt Nettie's could boost Dad's ratings (hang in with me here) and thus his profit.

But, your youngest daughter thinks, "I want me some new Uggs."

If you've made it this far, you probably get the metaphor. On Wednesday, NFL Network's public relations department sent out a press release that Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was set to appear on NFL Total Access on Monday at 7 p.m.

Jackson isn't the only player set to appear on the league's Network. Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez will be on Total Access on Tuesday. Colts center Jeff Saturday ended three days as a guest analyst on Wednesday.

The appearances by locked out players on essentially the owners' television network has, needless to say, raised some eyebrows around the league. When I called NFL Players Association -- or what used to be the NFLPA -- spokesman George Atallah for a comment, he said he needed a half hour to formulate a comment.

I'm still waiting for his response, although I'm fairly sure the word disappointed will be in the statement. I don't have a horse in the NFL's labor dispute. I believe both sides have every right to fight for its piece of the revenue pie as long as the war/work stoppage doesn't cut into the season. Then they're just a bunch of Gordon Gekkos.

But the decision by Jackson and other players to appear on NFL Network suggests that perhaps the union -- or trade association, as it is now known -- isn't as strong as once believed.

Jackson wants a new contract. This is no secret. He has one year left on the four-year deal he signed as a rookie. I think everyone can agree that his $550,000 salary for next season is at a bargain. Some may say he should play out his contract, but there are a number of reasons to side with the lithe Jackson, who is always just one hit away from the end of his career.

It's hard to ascertain if Jackson would have had an extension by now if there was a new collective bargaining agreement. The Eagles have assured their star receiver that he will be compensated, but Eagles coach Andy Reid was rather nonchalant about the issue when he was asked to address it at the owners meetings last week.

"We’d have to talk about that," he said. "We’d have to look at that. That’s a 'what if.' I'm not into the ‘what ifs.’ There are a lot of things that go into that that you have to look at."

If and when there is a new CBA, it'll be interesting to see how Jackson and his agent Drew Rosenhaus approach negotiations with the Eagles. If they are looking to break the bank and be paid in line with the top two or three receivers they could be in for a fight. They, of course, could counter by holding out.

To no surprise, Rosenhaus did not immediately respond to a request for comment concerning his client's appearance on NFL Network. Rosenhaus has been one of the more outspoken agents -- understandably, he has the most to lose -- against the owners' stance in negotiations. So it would be interesting to get his take.

Perhaps Jackson going on NFL Network is much ado about nothing. But I'm not sure some of the hard-liners among the players feel that way.