Whether the NFL owners will actually lock out the players at midnight on Thursday remains to be seen. While it certainly looks likely, hope springs eternal, and most people are keeping their fingers crossed that there will be a last minute resolution to the labor dispute.
But some people aren't as optimistic, and are already taking action based on a decision that hasn't been taken yet. A couple of curious, yet highly illustrative, examples of the effect a lockout will have far beyond just the owner-player relationship:
Yesterday, Adam Shefter twittered about a different kind of labor deal. Apparently, the wife of an unnamed NFL player had labor induced last week so that the bill relating to the birth of the baby would be footed by the NFL team, not the family. If and when the CBA expires, so does all the health insurance coverage which the team normally picks up. More unintended consequences after the break.
- According to Pete King at SI.com, the NFL told the St. Louis Rams that new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could not meet with players, chief among them QB Sam Bradford, in February. The Rams asked for clarification but the league explained that they couldn't do anything that they wouldn't normally do, which meant no meetings until March. Looks like the new OC won't get to talk to his QB about the new playbook for some time yet.
- The Dolphins didn't ask anybody and simply went ahead and had new OC Brian Daboll working with Chad Henne regularly for the last month. Now the Dolphins find themselves in deep doo-doo with the league offices - and Henne with his union rep. According to Chris Mortensen (via Pro Football Talk), coaches and "executives" could run the risk of severe discipline if they are caught talking with players during the lockout.
Today Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that coaches and executives will be reminded at today’s meeting that they’re not allowed to have any contact with players once the lockout starts. And Mortensen said coaches will be threatened with fines, forfeiture of draft picks and other discipline for breaking that strict rule.
- Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com writes that the league held a conference call with the teams on Monday advising them on some of the do's and don'ts in a lockout related specifically to their internet sites. Turns out that operating the websites as per today could result in NFLPA legal claims that the league is wrongly using player images to market the team during a work stoppage. No more player pictures, no more player interviews, no profiles of draft picks after the April draft. Marvez also writes that the mothership is the biggest NFL team website with 290 million page views and 30 million unique viewers in 2009. We'll take some of that, thank you.
- Finally, this one may be a fully intended consequence: Despite a significant lead time and many warnings by the NFLPA to prepare for the lockout, some players are already struggling financially even before the lockout has even begun. Tim McManus at Philadelphia Sports Daily writes about some broke Eagles players who appear to be ill-prepared for a lockout and have been feeling up rookie Brandon Graham for a handout.
Despite warnings from the NFLPA, there are players on the Eagles who are financially ill-equipped for the looming lockout. Brandon Graham is not one of those people. Thanks to a first-round contract that reportedly guarantees him $14 million, as well as the guidance of a trustworthy management team, the former Michigan Wolverine is set up for long-term wealth despite short-term hurdles.
This makes him attractive to the needy and the greedy seeking some liquid – including his own teammates. By Graham’s count, at least two fellow Eagles have asked him for substantial loans to get them through the lockout.
The most he’s gotten hit up for?
"100K," said Graham.
"They try not to make it awkward. They’ll come to you like they’re joking, but they’re serious. They’re trying to feel you out, to see what you’ll say."
If a lockout does happen after Thursday, there are likely going to be many more unintended consequences. Not all of them will be of the anecdotal variety, and many of them will impact the lives and perhaps the livelihoods of people who have little or no stake in the labor deal.
How would a lockout impact you personally?