You've waited for this moment all your life. Practiced. Rehearsed. Trained. Sacrificed. Compromised. Even went to college class, some of the time.
But now, on the eve of a major company extending you a lucrative dream job, veteran workers at the company are suddenly urging you not to accept the job because, well, the bosses there suck. What to do?
Go to the NFL Draft April 28 in New York, hear your name announced and walk across the stage to shake hands with commissioner Roger Goodell? Or listen to the professional trade association formerly known as the NFL Players Association and meet down the street with your future peers?
I say screw it. Embrace your moment in the sun and on the stage. The owners have done nothing to you other than offer you a job making millions of dollars playing a game. They'll sign your checks. The other guys wanting me to buck the system? Most of them will be out of football by the time you reach your prime.
While the players and owners debate the logistics of the draft and while Vikings running back Adrian Peterson became the first -- you knew it would happen -- to inject "slavery" into the lockout discussion, nothing significant will happen until an April 6 hearing at which the players will get a judge's decision on their injunction to legally stop the lockout.
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The lockout is on. And, embodied by Jerry Jones, the owners are dug in.
According to this tale in Sports Illustrated, Jones attended a March 2 meeting between owners and players in Washington, D.C. and put on quite a show.
"I don't think we've got your attention," Jones said to the players, several of whom recounted the incident to SI. "You clearly don't understand what we're saying, and we're not hearing what you're saying. So I guess we're going to have to show you to get your attention."
Jones tapped his fists together for emphasis--the players interpreted it as a sign that a lockout was coming--then stood and walked toward the door. As he reached the end of the table, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, another labor hawk, began to rise, but Robert Kraft of the Patriots, who was sitting next to him, put a hand on Richardson's forearm and kept him from going.
If Jones's intention was to intimidate the players, he failed. "I think everybody in the room thought it was overly dramatic, almost hilarious," one player said. "It was like a Jerry Maguire moment. You know, 'I'm leaving. Who's coming with me?' I know it didn't scare any of us."
Scared straight or not, here's betting that -- in the end -- the players will win some battles but ultimately lose this war. Let's just hope the truce arrives before Labor Day.