Opinion Brief

NFL lockout: Who's to blame for 'football Armageddon'?

Contract talks are kaput. The 2011 season is in jeopardy. Is this the players' fault, or the owners'?

The dreaded "football Armageddon" has arrived. Contract negotiations between the National Football League's owners and players have broken down. The players have decertified their union and are filing an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. The teams have locked out their players. This latest round of ugliness increases the (still-long) odds that the 2011-2012 season could be canceled. The two sides remain far apart, with owners refusing to give players a bigger cut of profits, and players rejecting a proposal to play a longer, 18-game season. Who's fault is this mess, really? (Watch an AP report about the NFL lockout)

Blame the players: They're the ones who cut off the talks even though there was "a pretty good offer on the table," says Joshua Lobdell at The Inquisitr. It's not clear just how much more of the NFL's profits players were offered, "but it was an offer so good many NFL owners are glad the players took a pass on it." And the players were bargaining in bad faith. It really seems they were just going through the motions until the time was right to file a lawsuit."Let us be clear, this is mostly the players' fault"

No, the owners' greed caused this mess: The only reason anyone's pinning this on the players, says Mike Salk at MyNorthwest.com, is that the NFL has the better PR spin machine. The owners are the ones who ditched the old contract early — it was supposed to remain in effect until 2013. And "the players aren't asking for ANYTHING here!" The owners want the players to take less pay for more work."Don't believe the spin: The owners are at fault for this lockout"

Relax. This is not Armageddon... yet: The two sides are not as far apart as people think, says Peter King at Sports Illustrated. The league seems to accept that the "cockamamie 18-game regular season" idea won't fly because of the increased risk of injuries, and that owners will have to ante up more for players' post-career health care. With months of legal wrangling ahead, some games could be lost next season, but "it's way too early for doomsday" declarations."The NFL labor situation is bad, but resolution closer than it appears"

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