ESPN commentator urges players and union to “walk out” during NFL Playoffs

ESPN NFL analyst Antonio Pierce today urged players to “walk out” on the playoffs in a Twitter post.

“What if the players stood up right now and walked out during the playoffs?” Pierce wrote. “The Owners have all the leverage right now.”

“Players/NFLPA need to make a Strong stance soon,” he continued. “All players make the same amount in the playoff per Rd. A walkout now would TV/OWNERS panic if players made a stand right now during the playoffs. Which the NFL/TEAMS make a lot of money during the playoffs.”

With all due respect to Antonio Pierce, who was an outstanding player for the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, a player walkout during the playoffs would not help secure a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Nor do alliances with the AFL-CIO, Congressional interventions constantly sought by the union, or esoteric legal maneuvers, all in search of some kind of illusory leverage.

Here are a few additional facts:

  • Playoff games are included in the revenue that goes into the share that determines player compensation and benefits under the CBA. Additional compensation for players that participate in playoff games also comes out of that 60 percent player share of Total Revenue as defined in the CBA.
  • A “walk out” is a violation of the CBA.  As spelled out on page 10 of the CBA, “Neither the NFLPA nor any of its members will engage in any strike, work stoppage, or other concerted action interfering with the operations of the NFL or any Club for the duration of this Agreement.”

Earlier today in an interview on Pro Football Talk Live on NBC, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the solution to the CBA issues lies in a shared commitment to negotiation.

“It takes a commitment to negotiating an agreement that works for the players, works for the clubs and most importantly works to keep our great game going for our fans,” Commissioner Goodell said.  “There is a deal to be done here.  We’ve got to get it done.”

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