The NFL and the artist formerly known as the Players Association got one thing right during their negotiations for a new collective-bargaining agreement: They saved their arguments for the mediation room, and they vowed to keep the bickering out of the public spotlight.
Since the players decertified and the owners imposed the lockout, though, that stance has changed, and the two sides aren’t doing themselves any favors.
Regardless of who is at fault for the work stoppage, neither side can win by publicly airing its grievances and lashing out at the other side through the media. Of course they're ticked off at each other, and with billions of dollars at stake, they should be. Just keep it quiet, and use that energy toward something more constructive like, you know, making sure there's a full regular season in 2011.
The negotiators, lawyers, owners and public-relations gurus should know they can't win over the fans by trying to prove that the other side was wrong. At this point, the fans just want to know they'll have football back in a few months, and they don't want to hear billionaires and millionaires arguing with other billionaires and millionaires.
There is a PR spin on every argument. The owners can detail their final CBA offer all they want, but they haven't told the majority of the story, and the same goes for the players. If a CBA were so easy to explain in one sound bite, it wouldn't take years to negotiate the details.
Because of that, they aren't doing the fans any justice by spilling it publicly. Yeah, the two sides can politic all day every day, but the audience can see through it. If the CBA proposals were as strong as each side claimed they were, there wouldn't be a lockout right now, and there's no denying that.
So stop the name calling and the passive-aggressive jaunts on Twitter, and do something a little more productive behind the scenes. An added dose of maturity will only help recoup the NFL's image, which will suffer a little bit more each day this process lingers.
Do you want the NFL to continue this battle in the public eye, or should the sides maintain a code of silence? Leave your thoughts below.