Fortunately for NFL fans, the Obama lawyer’s plan to point a gun to the head of the existing NFL structure appears to be falling apart:
[E]ven with his effort to lift the lockout on the verge of sleeping with the fishes, Smith continues to talk tough. “It’s a disappointment obviously that as far as we can tell this is the first sports league in history who sued to not plays its game,” Smith told reporters after Monday’s ruling. “Congratulations.”
We’re not sure what that means.
The league hasn’t sued anyone. The league wants to impose economic pressure on the players via a lockout, and the players decertified and filed an antitrust lawsuit in the hopes of blocking the lockout. Today’s ruling that the lockout won’t be lifted pending resolution of the appeal by the Eighth Circuit hardly represents the NFL suing to not plays its game.
With a reversal of Judge Nelson’s ruling now looming, Smith’s comments likely have less to do with shaping public opinion and more to do with scrambling to keep the players unified, even if doing so requires Smith to distort the facts in the hopes of playing to the players’ emotions.
Even those who initially took the side of the players have to realize now that the players, or at least their representatives, simply do not have the good of the game at heart. The owners may be every bit as greedy, but at least they have the long-term view and the enlightened self-interest to understand that the goose that lays the golden eggs is to be fed and treated well, not slaughtered. Smith’s strategy is to “win” by threatening to destroy the league in its current format and turn it into the English Premiership, where only two or three teams have a reasonable chance of winning each year.