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NFL (National Football League): made up of owners, organizations

NFLPA* (National Football League Players Association): the players’ union

*: The NFLPA* is technically no longer a union; they deceritifed at the beginning of the lockout.

The National Football League has been in the midst of a lockout since the beginning of March. However, this period of “no football” appears to be nearing an end. Earlier this week, NFL owners voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement, which most thought would clear the way for the end of the lockout.

Unfortunately, the NFL Players Association* chose not to vote on the proposed collective bargaining agreement right away. Despite initial reactions that the owners’ vote was a power play and that the players disagreed with their proposal, they are simply taking extra time to review it.

The players did not let themselves get pushed into a corner. They stood strong and they continue to review this proposed collective bargaining agreement.

Much of what is included in this new deal is to the advantage of the players. They have a greater revenue share, optional health care for life, less physicality in practices, and a shorter offseason. It makes the game safer for the players, which is much of what their union* desired at the start of the lockout.

There are also other factors left to be resolved prior to the end of the lockout, which are concerning to the NFLPA*. They need to recertify as a union, which the owners want to happen as soon as possible. Other lawsuits against the NFL also need to be settled.

Regardless, the players are expected to vote on the proposed collective bargaining agreement by early next week. Only fifty percent of the player representatives in the NFLPA* need to say “yes’ to the CBA for its ratification.

If they ratify the proposal, the lockout will be effectively over. Players will return to their team facilities within two days. Teams will be able to re-sign their own players within three. Free agency and training camps will start within six days.

Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason sent this message on Facebook early Saturday: “Player Reps, myself included, have been working around the clock trying to get this deal done…lots of reading, conference calls, etc. On behalf of myself & my teammates, THANK U, FANS for your patience as we work diligently. Glad we have fans in B’More that take the time to learn about what’s going on & not slam players for not just signing something they don’t read! UR THE BEST!”

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