What is this drama standing before us, a sort of apocalypse, or maybe even a crisis as horrifying as a dreaded recession we are witnessing? With the nation in shambles, a nation in an economic climate that seems incurable, a nation endangered by the ever changeable economy, the NFL is mired in disarray of its own.

If the problem is backlash over salaries from greedy and envious owners, then the prolonged disaster is coming from the stinginess of owners and players who have more common sense and intelligence than the franchise chairmen needy for additional money. The madness of a long-suffering stalemate, with so much egotism and selfishness cast on the richest enterprise that people nationwide suddenly stops in disbelief as much promise seem necessary after the owners on Thursday approved a 10-year collective bargaining agreement and announced plans for a figurative end of the lockout.

At this rate, when players decided to take a stance and manipulate the new CBA, pending until the players are unanimously ready to end the rift over profit, the players had no intent Friday to vote on the proposal team owners gave approval on. And it was nearly the remedy to virtually restore hopefulness and terminate the longest standoff in NFL history. The last thing the NFL needs, with so many angry fans already furious and outraged, is a missed season because of historically the worst lockout ever to paint a portrait of misery in an eventful league.

Amazingly, the players aren't allowing the league to push or bully them around, standing before the NFL, not afraid of a disoriented standstill ruining a 16-game season. The image of the owners, if you must, is an understanding of greed and a rash of torment. If the loyalists are studious enough to conceive that the owners bullied and tried convincing the general public in believing each owner's theory, then all individuals know NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is just as much at fault.

It was an offseason of nightmares for the organization and players, punctuated by the pending labor disputes. This was Goodell choosing his legacy instead of protecting the richest league from corruption. The deal will be finalized, and almost undoubtedly soon, for which there is too much money at stake for both parties. Without a full season -- Goodell would not only diminish his legacy but would also be labeled as a saboteur for such havoc -- it ultimately could damage his reputation as the commissioner who has been a pushover and overpowered by the players as well as the NFLPA.

It's a jarring look at a head honcho, once the world's most powerful man at the throne, whose lack of strong conviction and leniency transformed the landscape of professional sports. It wasn't until now, during the lockout, that he was communicative and steadfast in lifting the lockout as the season looms ever so quickly with disgruntled players ready to begin workouts and, sooner than later, report to mandatory meetings and training camps.

With the NFL labor troubles hovering over Goodell and the players, we finally have a clear understanding that this is the exemplification of skepticism many players have of Goodell and the owners. The lockout has been chaotic and a nuisance, a four-month affair of insanity in regards to manlike hubris as both sides sought ego and shares of a billion-dollar revenue. Neither side has reached a unanimous decision to resolve the widespread delirium nationwide.

The everlasting fray is rampant these days, with many furious fans begging for a football season by fall, ready to support their dearest team. That is, until the players ratify the deal to avoid the demise of the most popular sporting league. For a moment, it almost looked like the NFL and players had cured any differences or even animosity in a feud that was nearly as laughable as chuckling at Adam Sandler quarterbacking a football team of inmates from prison.

This is, at the very least, a dreadful lockout directly aiming towards a national turning point and a demolition. The hypocrisy takes a major twist in a league that remains in limbo, not exactly knowing the state of the latest progress made in approving the new collective bargaining agreement. There is NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, who has represented and reinforced active players currently in the league in a temporarily decertified union, coinciding with the players after rejecting the latest deal presented.

If a deal is ever done, sooner rather than later, the players are required to recertify as a union to officially discontinue the impasse. Until then, the sight of a new deal is unlikely. More to the point, players have to recertify for the NFL to install substantial terms of the deal like a policy specifically regarding drugs or even disciplinary principles. The winners in such a tussle are the players, refusing to vote and leaving the sport in uncertainty.

This clearly tells us there's more work to be done, certainly when malcontent owners and players aren't compromising on much of the negotiations as the negatives still unfolds with preseason and the regular season quickly approaching. The four-months of unpredictability of an eternal lockout that lingers is the first work stoppage since 1987. With that being said, the exhibition opener was canceled -- the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame game with Chicago and St. Louis scheduled to play in Canton, Ohio.

The owners, as businessmen are trying to restore the league and inherit profit based on a full season, approved a tentative agreement Thursday that would lift the lockout, imploring that players renew their union and sign off on the proposal. Although it was a shady deal and the players weren't going to buy into it and make sure to read before they even vote on it. Further proving the selfishness of the owners.

Above all, the lockout is lurching to a closure, simply because the players and owners are reacting as if they are adamant, at least better than a few months ago when all labor talks seemed unreal. The deal is relatively close to getting done, but many are unable to break off the dilemma of likely a missed season. At around dinner time a few days ago, owners voted 31-0 to approve the deal, except for the Oakland Raiders, a troubling franchise with a sullied owner in Al Davis, who abstained to authorize the deal. Shortly after, a statement had been released from the league to announce that the NFL ratified the settlement.

It read: "NFL clubs approved today the terms of a comprehensive settlement of litigation and a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association."

But then, the circus of a long-lasting monstrosity lasted when NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith sent an email to team reps that read: "Issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open; other issues, such as workers' compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms, remain unresolved. There is no agreement between the NFL and the players at this time."

The players held a conference call and opted not to vote, acknowledging they never seen the full proposal approved by owners. There is one person optimistic about a deal being finalized and it just so happens to be Goodell, when it all seemingly appears that the deal is fair for both sides to end the disruption. Much of the framework of the new CBA, if it ever is approved, is valid for 10 years without any opt-out, an agreement designed for players and owners in the long term. But it all comes down to the players, eventually passing a proposal the players haven't employed.

There is still next week for the players to approve or either counter the deal without missing the beginning of football season. At this moment, players aren't giving in but the shrewd owners certainly thought they'd have fallen for the tricks thrown at them instantly. If the owner’s plans are to victimize and deceive the players, they've forgotten the damage Goodell created during his reign as commissioner.

For one, he's blundered on a series of mistakes that can rationally be from his ego trip and dumbfounded reactions. For another, he is scorned by many players in the league, turning their backs on him and uttering cruel remarks angry with Goodell after losing much regards as the leader. As it stands, the players are true leaders and have bonded together, showing solidarity to send a strong message.

It's now the moment for the NFL to heal from all the sorrow, following over 100 days of troublesome standoffs that earned the loudness of the crowd nationally. It's easily knowledgeable never to fault the players, pulling off a surprising maneuver protecting themselves.

In other words, the players have discussed that they were risking lives for less profit in short-term salary as greedy, stubborn owners watched in suites and increased their revenue. If the NFL wants to keep fans, they need to protect the league from mayhem.

--Jonathan Mathis


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