New York Giants Owner John Mara Says NFLPA Had No Interest in New Deal

Jeff ShullAnalyst IMarch 16, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11:  New York Giants owner John Mara addresses the media at a news conference outside the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

In the biggest he said, she said story of the year, both the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association (now just the players) have said the opposing side was not interested in making a fair deal before the deadline.

John Mara is the latest to call out the players, saying the owners were "[wasting] a lot of time down there" during their federal mediation meetings in Washington.

He is frustrated that the NFLPA took such a firm stance and wouldn't budge during the meetings, which ultimately led to a lockout. Um, did he forget that the owners took a firm stance too?

The owners refused to open the books, and when they did, they provided information that is public already and wasn't even what the NFLPA asked for. If the owners are asking for an additional $1 billion, they should prove they need it.

On ESPN Radio in New York yesterday, Mara expressed his worry that the NFLPA forcing the issue to court could result in missing the first few games of the 2011 NFL season.

"There's no guarantee (the regular season) is not going to be affected," Mara said. "But I remain optimistic because I believe that we can make a deal that is fair for both sides. I don't think the players are interested in missing games and missing paychecks. Certainly the owners don't want to see that happen.

"We're ready to sit down at any time, but it just seems like the past couple of weeks we may as well have been sitting there staring at ourselves because not a lot was getting done. It just takes two sides wanting to sit down and negotiate a deal. Right now we only have one."

It's hard to believe anyone at this point. Giants player representative Shaun O'Hara sat his teammates down after the last day of mediation and told them that the owners had no interest in making a fair deal.

The difference of opinion from two people in the same organization just about sums up the whole situation.

Going along with the owner's claim that the NFLPA wanted the dispute to go to court, Mara said, "If they had asked for an extension, if there was any indication that they were willing to negotiate, we would still be there right now, but they seemed like they were in a hurry to get out of there on Friday and get into a Minneapolis courtroom."

Several players, including Saints QB Drew Brees and NFLPA President and former player Kevin Mawae, made comments similar to O'Hara's, that the deal was never going to get done and the owners wanted a lockout.

Mara's response was typical.

"The most frustrating part to me was that there was a deal there to be made if they were interested in doing one," he said. "But it became pretty clear to me after the first few days there that they were not interested in negotiating that deal unless it was on their terms."

It's hard to figure out who to believe at this point. Frankly, I could care less about who wanted to get a deal done and more about actually getting a deal done.

The court date is set for April 6 and ESPN's Adam Schefter said there is no chance a deal gets done before then. Most are anticipating this dragging on into the summer. Let's hope it doesn't cut into training camp.