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Lockout Latest: NFL Votes, NBA Players Adjust To Unemployment

Kate Rooney |
July 21, 2011 | 2:17 p.m. PDT

Senior Sports Editor


While owners seem cautiously optimistic a deal will get done soon, Smith is just cautious. (Wikimedia Commons)
While owners seem cautiously optimistic a deal will get done soon, Smith is just cautious. (Wikimedia Commons)
Experts are expecting that the biggest mountain in lockout land will be scaled today: NFL owners are planning a Thursday afternoon vote on whether or not to accept the new labor agreement, according to ESPN.

For their money (pun intended), NFL players are still talking amongst themselves about, among other things, whether they should recertify as a union as requested by the NFL. They too are expected to vote Thursday about whether to approve the settlement offered by the owners.

Several owners, including the Falcons’ Arthur Blank and the Colts’ Jim Irsay, expressed optimism that the deal will be pushed through.

"We're looking forward to a deal that will end this lockout and get to football, which is what America, the owners and players want,” Blank told Fox Sports.

NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith was more cautious. 

“There are some issues that are outstanding that are left to resolve,” he said Wednesday.

Still unresolved 128 days into the NFL’s longest-ever work stoppage remain the players’ antitrust suit against the owners, the matter of unpaid benefits from last benefits, and a lawsuit against owners who stand to earn billions from network television deals. 

With the first exhibition game less than three weeks away on August 7, a bit of panic is setting in. Once each side approves the new deal, a new rookie pay scale and free agency terms must still be dealt with.


With negotiations at a stalemate, the biggest news is surrounding the NBA lockout is the league’s dubious decision to release a complete 2011 schedule, despite little optimism the bargaining will be resolved by November 2 (the scheduled opening day). 

Derrick Williams at Arizona. (Neon Tommy)
Derrick Williams at Arizona. (Neon Tommy)
Upon winning the 2011 ESPY award for Male Athlete of the Year, Dirk Nowitzki joking asked the audience to thank Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban for him, since the lockout rules prohibit the two from speaking to each other.

And other players are finding ways to pass the time.

New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams became the first big-name player to sign an overseas contract. In a move that may well be duplicated by other stars as they realize they have nothing to do, Williams signed with a Turkish club, from whom he’ll earn $5 million.

Not all ballers are embracing their time away from the court, however. No. 2 draft pick Derrick Williams told TheScore.com that if the lockout cuts into the regular season, he’ll have second thoughts about his decision to leave college.

“If they told me I was going to miss all 82 games next season I would have stayed in college and enjoyed myself and enjoyed all of my teammates and everybody else who is involved with Arizona,” he said.

Like other rookies, Derrick will have to wait for his first payday until the lockout is resolved. To jumpstart his cash flow, the forward signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour on Wednesday.


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