The elder statesman of the Dallas Cowboys in league tenure, Keith Brooking, seems to be the most involved team member in the labor dispute. Brooking, a 14-year vet, recently sat down with ESPN Radio Dallas' Galloway and Company to discuss the current state of the lockout. From the interview, fans might be able to gain an ounce of solace they didn't have prior. As all the media reports surrounding the recent stay upholding by the Appellate court indicate the momentum is squarely with the owners, Brooking says all is not lost. Even with the recent turn of events leading to the June 3rd appeal hearing, Brooking remains confident a full 16 game season will be played.
Has the lockout become more bleak then you thought it would?
“I think as you get closer to the season I think it tends to look that way a little bit. For me I’m a little more on the inside then obviously our fans and the people out there listening right now. I may have a little more insight on what is going on and little more confidence that, probably a lot more confidence that the season will take place and we won’t miss games because when you go out in the public and people come up to you the feeling you get is that our fans are thinking that the NFL is going to come to an end with some of the comments that they make. I think I told you guys the last time we spoke that was on-air that obviously I’m not 100% on anything, but I still even today a month or so later I feel very confident that we won’t miss an NFL regular season game. I do feel confident in that. I just hope our fans hang in there and have that confidence as well and believe this thing will get worked out.”
Why are you confident that football won’t be disrupted come about August?
“Well I just think there’s enough smart people that…on both sides, the NFL and the players side that they’re not going to mess up a game, the most popular game in this country, obviously it’s so powerful right now. It’s so popular. You can say it’s not about the money, when it’s always about the money. There’s too much money at stake once the regular season takes place for each owner and players obviously. I just don’t think they will allow that to happen. That’s my hope. That’s what I’m hanging my hat on. Even what you just said what Adam [Schefter] just reported I mean its forever changed the owners coming out making statement to players. The only way this thing is going to get worked out is for the owners and the players to sit down and the table and negotiate seriously and really want to get something worked out. I don’t think that necessarily the case right now. I think it’s going to come down to the 24th hour before that takes place like I said until anyone realizes that ‘Hey this is getting serious. It’s getting down to the last minute here and we can mess something up that’s really special right now.’ I don’t think anyone wants to do that, so that’s what I’m hanging my hat on.”
Finally, Brooking was asked whether it is too optimistic to hope for the lockout to come to an end before August. His response:
Am I being too pessimistic that we won’t know until August if this lockout will continue or end?
“My hope Randy [Galloway]…it’s hard for me to put a time frame on it. My hope is that this week obviously with this stay ruling, whoever decided on that, whatever court system decided on that today, but that gives the owners more leverage. I think the only way this can get worked out is that we get back to the negotiating table and the longer the court systems tend to drag this thing out and there’s no pressure put on one side, the owners or the players, I think it obviously gets more dim, the picture does. I just hope and pray that we can get back to the table and negotiate seriously because I think that is the only way this thing is going to get worked out. Hopefully that’s sooner then later. The thing about it is, the thing I like Randy is we’re preparing. It would be much better if we had our coaches out there and had our OTA settings and everybody was there because we had a large participation at our off-season program here. That would be much better for all of us, but the one thing and I’m not just saying this because I’m on the radio and I want to make our fans feel better, but I promise you regardless there’s going to be no excuses with us. There’s about six or eight of us that are making sure that we’re going to be as prepared as we can possibly be when the season does start, when we get with our coaches. There will be no excuses for us. Our fans can hang their hat on that.”