Billionaires arguing with millionaires.
That's the way some have categorized the NFL's labor dispute that reached the point of no return when the NFLPA decertified Friday afternoon.
"I cringe every time I hear it," said Eagles center Mike McGlynn, one of the team's union representatives. "I just want to jump through the TV screen and say, 'I'm not a millionaire!'"
Of course, the majority of the NFL’s owners aren’t billionaires. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is worth $1 billion, according to Forbes.
The union's decision to decertify came as no surprise, despite minor movement toward an agreement between the owners and players just before the collective bargaining agreement was set to expire at midnight. The union voted for it during the season and Eagles rep Winston Justice said Eagles players unanimously affirmed their votes recently.
"I know we stand together," Justice said. "We’re not just fighting for ourselves now. We're fighting for the future of the NFL and its players."
The NFLPA, technicially no longer a union, filed an anti-trust suit with a federal court in Minneapolis to block the owners from locking them out at midnight. The NFL said a decision has not yet been made to lock out the players.
If there is a work stoppage the players won't be able to have contact with the team, their coaches or be permitted to use team facilities. Justice said that he last spoke with coach Andy Reid last week and that new offensive line coach Howard Mudd gave him a DVD to watch in the case of a lockout.
The Eagles tackle is currently in Florida rehabbing from arthroscopic knee surgery. Justice said that he just recently got off crutches. Because his injury occurred during the season Justice said his rehabilitation is covered by worker's compensation.
Several injured Eagles, though, will have to find alternative means for rehab.
There are other implications should a legal case drag on for months. In the case of Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb, a work stoppage that extends past April's draft could affect whether he is traded. Kolb has said he wants to start whether it be for the Eagles or another team.
The Eagles signed Michael Vick to a one-year deal as their starting quarterback last week, though. There is still the chance that free agency and trades would be permitted by the courts in a month's time. There were several reports that free agency could start at midnight, but a league source told The Inquirer that was unlikely to happen.
If there is no player movement until a CBA is struck, Kolb will likely return as the Eagles' backup quarterback next season. The Eagles would likely be reluctant to deal the 26-year-old for 2012 draft picks, and player-for-player trades are rare in the NFL.
"Laying low," Kolb texted when asked to comment on how the labor impasse affected his future.
Kolb is under contract for next season, as is McGlynn, who started most of last season. A fourth round draft pick in 2008, McGlynn said he made $295,000 in salary in his second season, $366,000 in his third and stands to make slightly more than that next season.
Those figures do not include McGlynn’s signing bonus and are slightly less than published figures of his contact. But he makes significantly less than the league average salary of $1.8 million, according to the Washington Post. That figure, however, is weighted toward a small number of very expensive deals.
McGlynn said that he is financially secure enough to withstand a work stoppage should it drag into the season. "I could live off the money I have for the rest of my life," he said.
Decertification could prevent any games being lost to CBA negotiations. McGlynn, like Justice, said the players just want to play football, first and foremost.
"Each side has to be willing to give a little," McGlynn said.