Turn out the lights. The party is over. Football is at a standstill.
The owners have locked out the players. In response, the players' union has decertified. Any further talk will come from the courtroom, the worst scenario for the league and fans alike.
It's now obvious that there was never any trust between the two sides. The league and union were highly critical of one another in press conferences following the news that the union had filed for decertification. The owners struggled with transparency, and the union followed up with ultimatums.
And now, until the CBA is resolved, the league is in shambles. The scornful remarks made by both sides will not soon be forgotten. Players and teams can no longer have any communications. Players can't even rehab at their team's training facilities. Kevin Faulk, recovering from a torn ACL, is at LSU. Any player drafted cannot sign a contract. All undrafted free agents will not be allowed to sign with teams. The union is no longer regulating agents.
Fans have blamed both sides. That the owners were too greedy or that the union was too stubborn. That's our job. To figure out who was in the wrong and who screwed up. Our main import is hindsight.
The only way for this to get resolved quickly is for the owners and players to take the opposite approach. The blame can't be important. Their professionalism, supposed at least, has to shine through. The focus put on getting the issues resolved as quickly as possible. Even in the court system where a third party will take the reigns, cooperation between the two sides is still key.
If they are too busy passing around the blame, there's no telling when we'll watch another game.