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Are some NFL owners rooting for the CBA to fail?

The NFL’s proposed collective bargaining agreement is going to be voted on by NFL players in the next week. Roughly 1,900 players have until Thursday to cast their votes, but not all the owners are on board. Some of them may even be rooting for the proposal to fail.

Some players, including Richard Sherman, weren’t happy about those reports, either.

When the team owners voted on the CBA, it wasn’t unanimous. There was a faction that voted no, and some reportedly want an 18-game season as soon as possible. With the CBA’s approval far from a sure thing — especially with upper-echelon guys like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers coming out against it — the small faction of owners could be trying to throw a wrench in the works as the players vote. But it’s also entirely possible that the owners are floating that 18-game season idea to try to scare the players into approving the proposed CBA.

This is an anti-labor technique that has been used by management since workers began organizing. If the players don’t pass the proposed CBA, which numerous players have issues with, the owners are threatening an even worse deal for the players. If the deal can get worse, that makes the proposed CBA look fantastic by comparison.

The NFL owners appear to be indirectly threatening a worse CBA if the current proposal isn't approved by the players. (Rich Graessle/PPI/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There are real consequences for the players if they vote down the CBA. Team owners have already decided that they won’t negotiate again until next year, when the current agreement expires. The last best offer — essentially the proposed CBA — would be imposed as the new work rules until a CBA can be finalized. At that point, the players can accept the deal or go on strike. If the NFL thinks the players will strike, they’ll lock them out and hire replacements like they did in 1987.

If this seems like it’s tilted toward the owners, that’s because it is. The only way the players will ever be able to get a better deal or survive a work stoppage is if they’re unified. But a report like this from a league source reveals something important: The owners are likely scared of the power NFL players have as a unified group. The owners may have billions and billions of dollars, but the players still have all the talent. Without that, all the owners have are empty stadiums and really bad football games.

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