During the Friday before the Super Bowl, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell delivers his state of the game press conference. This year, in Dallas, the talk was focused on whether there would be a game next year, as the collective bargaining agreement between the players and owners expires on March 4. Labor anxiety has overshadowed this Super Bowl as intensely as the Dallas snow.
Enter Ochocinco. Mercurial Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, who attended the affair as a representative of his media conglomerate, the Ochocinco News Network, tried to get a straight answer about football’s future from the commissioner.
“Hey, Rog,” he said. “You represent 32 NFL owners and right now I’m standing here representing over 1800 NFL players. We want to know one thing, serious. I don’t want the politically correct answer as far as it will be done in a week. Do you know how far away we are from getting a deal realistically done? . . . Because I see a lot of things being prepared on your guys’ end – and you guys are somewhat preparing for a lockout.”
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Was Ochocinco going to be the guy to stop the spin?
“As I said before, both sides are going to be prepared for every outcome,” Goodell said. He then gave the exact politically correct answer Ochocinco was trying to avoid. “Right now, I would say, let’s get to work and let’s get an agreement that works for everybody,” Goodell said.
After Goodell was done, Ochocinco slouched down in his chair, looking disgusted, as if he just dropped a pass.
The longer this labor uncertainty lasts, the more people will share Ochocinco’s anguish.
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