Union Chief Demaurice Smith
The NFL Players Association has decided to decertify, filing their papers today. This means that the union has basically disbanded, and that an NFL season next year is at stake.
Federally-mediated negotiations had been going on for 16 days, and the union had been given a proposal from the league's owners group late this afternoon. They rejected that proposal and let the five p.m. decertification deadline pass. Union chief Demaurice Smith said that "significant differences continue to remain."
"They have chosen to choose another strategy, and that is their choice," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.
The union can now file a suit, and sue under antitrust laws if there is a lockout. If they had not decertified, they would have had to wait six months to file a suit after the expiration of the CBA.
Players, like New Orleans' quarterback Drew Brees, said that the owners have not provided enough financial information. Before the start of this mornings' meetings, he had this to say on his twitter account.
"To our fans—I give you my word that we as players are doing everything we can to negotiate with the NFL towards a fair deal. The NFL brought this fight to us—they want $1 billion back, we just want financial information to back up that request."
Union Chief Demaurice Smith said that 10 years of audited financial records must be included in any request from the NFL owners for an extension before the deadline. The collective bargaining agreement will expire at the end of today. The owners' group has met up late this afternoon to discuss what they will do next.
The NFL says that the union was given a lot of financial data, including some that isn't even shared with clubs. The league thought this was a big step, but it wasn't enough for the NFLPA.
"They refuse to give that information to us," Brees said. "They think we should just trust them. Would you? We have a responsibility to our players -- past, present, and future, to advance this league forward, not take 3 steps back."
The CBA was supposed to expire last week, but it was extended to today. If a deal isn't reached, another extension could be in place. Right now, it is unclear if there will be an NFL season next year or not.
We will have to wait and see.