- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 21, 2011


Now that the Great NFL Lockout of 2011 is nearing an end, we can start to look forward to the 2021 lockout. As we’ve seen over the decades, these labor impasses are pretty predictable. In fact, I can tell you exactly how the next one will unfold:

• Day 1 - In anticipation of the NFLPA decertifying, the NFL disbands, creating 32 separate business entities — and exponentially increasing the players’ court costs. “We’re going to billable-hour them to death,” one owner says.

• Day 2 - The union files an antitrust suit against the league in federal district court in Minneapolis. Its plan is the same as always: to have the case heard by sympathetic Judge David S. Doty — or whoever Doty (who by then will be 92) has given power of attorney to.

• Day 10 - Hall of Fame-bound receiver DeSean Jackson competes in the first episode of “Dancing with the Stars” — and eventually makes it all the way to the finals. He’s paired with 70-year-old Kirstie Alley (but only after his original partner, 99-year-old Betty White, tweaks a hamstring in rehearsals).

• Day 26 - Retired running back Adrian Peterson addresses a meeting of union representatives and tells them to “stay strong.” He also recommends that they “find a high-profile player willing to compare the NFL to ‘modern-day slavery’ — and then get a Pittsburgh Steeler to agree with him.” If the Steeler starts taking a lot of heat, Peterson says, “have him tweet: ‘When you look over the course of history at any great thinker, they had ideas that were not common at that time.’”

• Day 34 - A locked-out player is arrested on a really weird charge, something like: possession of suspicious amounts of 5-Hour Energy.

• Day 42 - Talks break down when the players demand a larger share of the proceeds from bobblehead dolls.

• Day 48 - The draft goes on as scheduled. It’s a bit anticlimactic, though, because the New England Patriots, after years of maneuvering, have managed to acquire every pick in Round 1. This causes Commissioner Condoleeza Rice to utter the immortal line: “With their 32 first-round picks, the Patriots select … the entire Southeastern Conference.”

• Day 59 - Washington Redskins owner Ted Leonsis, looking to generate goodwill, announces that fans who renew season tickets will receive free admission to the 2022 Winter Classic between the Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers at FedEx Field.

• Day 65 - Players have a hard time finding high school fields to hold workouts on. They apparently aren’t aware that, in the year 2021, 97 percent of the nation is home schooled.

• Day 73 - Desperate for a story, as all NFL writers are, The Washington Times’ Rich Campbell decides to reprise his 2011 piece on the Redskins’ 1987 strike season. Fortunately, most of the old phone numbers he has are still good.

• Day 80 - The league releases its 2021 television schedule. In the Thursday night season opener, the Los Angeles Jaguars will meet the Toronto Bills at Rogers Centre. The ceremonial coin toss will be performed by Maple Leafs legend Doug Gilmour.

• Day 85 - Talks break down again when the players demand that all cross-country flights include a stopover in Las Vegas.

• Day 98 - Dallas Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant rides a bull for 1.6 seconds, breaking the previous lockout record of 1.5 set by Chad Ochocinco, the erstwhile Cincinnati Bengal. “Don’t worry,” Bryant says after scampering to safety. “I’m not going to try out for a Major League Soccer team.”

• Day 114 - Word leaks out that the new salary cap will be about $250 million. This causes the general manager of the Berlin Lions (who recently relocated from Detroit) to remark: “How much is that in Euros?”

• Day 122 - Not content with the global deal they negotiated in 2011, the players push for an interplanetary deal this time. That way, they figure, the owners won’t try to sell the Martian TV rights behind their backs.

And finally …

• Day 1 of training camp - Mammoth defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, eager to keep his career going, successfully completes a fitness test. Of course, he began it in 2011.



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