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Antonio Pierce Suggests Player Strike Before Playoffs as a Labor Negotiating Tool

Potential labor strife on the horizon is something we haven't discussed much here, but it is looming. Former NFL linebacker and current ESPN NFL analystsuggests a strike before the Playoffs might help players gain an upper hand in negotiations.

"What if the players stood up right now and walked out during the playoffs?" Pierce tweeted. "The Owners have all the leverage right now. Players/NFLPA need to make a strong stance soon. TV (networks and) owners would panic if players made a stance right now during the playoffs. The NFL teams make a lot of money during the playoffs.

"March 3 is right around the corner. And the owners/teams (are) in the front, running with this situation. Just food for thought."

Striking today might give the players some degree of leverage, but it seems at least as likely that it would create an incredible degree of bad faith in negotiations with the league, poison any hopes of getting something done soon, cancel the postseason, and put the 2011 season at risk. I'd imagine the owners would be pretty angry with a surprise strike at this time of the year and not willing to compromise. Remember, the owners are billionaire businessmen. They didn't get where they are by being soft in negotiations and blinking at the first sign of problems. If players went on strike at this time of the year, they would need to get a big victory to return quickly. They wouldn't be able to save face any other way. A strike could be a recipe for a standstill.

On top of this, less revenue for the owners by cancelling the Playoffs would mean less money for players. The players get paid with the money the owners make.

In the long run, I am sad to say it wouldn't make much of a difference even if the Playoffs were cancelled. People  might be angry, but they would eventually come back. They eventualy came back after baseball cancelled the World Series. Fans love the game. Even the people running it acting like knuckleheads couldn't change that. It's probably why a guy like Pierce feels like he can get away with showing such total disregard for the paying customers by making a remark like that. It's another reminder of how little some (but not all) players care about the fans.