So I'm spending my day standing outside a government office waiting for negotiators to emerge. Somehow I feel like I'm back in my political reporting days.
Well, technically I'm not outside the building. Except for the TV folks, whose reports would be obviously diminished without shots of the doors to the federal mediation building and pronouncement that begin "I'm standing outside .... " the rest of the media crew - about a dozen of us, including 3 from Philly - have repaired to a Starbucks for warmth, power outlets, blogging and, for one of us, a vanilla latte. (I won't say who, but his name rhymes with Domowitch).
Basically, we're waiting for the inevitable: the players union will decertify in order to block a lockout and potentially bring an anti-trust suit against the owners. The owners will initiate a lockout with the goal of putting financial pressure on the players come September, and getting them to cave in to demands that give more money to the league.
The only other option would be an extension of the CBA, which would more than likely be a show that the sides are trying and really really don't want a lockout, cross their hearts and hope to die. In reality, it would just delay the inevitable.
This thing is going to courts and negotiations for months. Fans love sports for the fun, entertainment and distractions from the real world that they provide. But NFL owners are businessmen, and so are the players -- at least the smart ones. Businessmen fight hard for the profits in their business and they use lawyers and the courts and any tactics available to them. That's what we're going to see for some time.
I've got some more to say, but the media crew is breaking up and heading back to the mediation building. More later.