PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s difficult to imagine a Sunday in autumn without Steelers football, but months of fruitless negotiations between NFL players and owners have put next season in jeopardy.
Talks broke down late Friday in Washington, D.C., and the owners imposed a lockout at midnight.
Steelers Chairman Emeritus Dan Rooney declined comment about the situation at Saturday night’s American Ireland Fund Gala; but Steelers President Art Rooney II did say the clubs did everything they could to lay the framework for a fair agreement.
Rooney told KDKA’s Kym Gable, “I think we made a very good offer and certainly something that should have been the basis to continue bargaining. We thought we were going to make some progress, so it’s a very frustrating week and disappointing.”
The NFL Players Association opted to decertify, essentially giving up collective bargaining rights – a signal the legal issue will likely drag out for months.
“We did offer them some economic concessions,” said Jim Quinn, the NFLPA attorney on Friday. “They rejected out of hand, basically said that’s not enough.”
Now, both sides are engaged in a game of finger-pointing that may ultimately be decided in a courtroom.
“Hopefully, we can get back to the bargaining table soon and get something done so we can get back to football,” added Rooney.
It’s the league’s first work stoppage since 1987.