NFL Labor Fumble: Union Dissolves, Owners Lock Out Players

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"This Congress is concerned about jobs, jobs and jobs," said Pete Kendall, a former offensive lineman and now a permanent representative on the union's negotiating committee. "A lockout will affect the local economy, not just those who attend the games but those who provide services at the games.

"We're not talking about penalizing players only," Kendall said. "This is going to hurt your parking lot attendants, your restaurants, your hotels. Everybody in your city hurts when this happens."

The NFL insists the changes it is pushing are necessary for the league's long-term financial health.

"This is about the future of our game," Goodell said in January. "There are things that need to be addressed, and we need to address those responsibly so that everybody can win."

Even President Obama seemed irritated that the two sides could not reach compromise.

Obama said at the White House last week that an industry that takes in $9 billion a year in revenue should be able to figure out how to divide that up in a "sensible way" and be true to the sport's fans, who the president said are "the ones who obviously allow for all the money that they're making."

In a statement after decertifying, the union apologized to the undoubtedly many frustrated and worried football fans.

"To the fans, we are sorry it came to this today. You deserve better," the NFLPA's Smith said. "I am truly sorry. The players are sorry. Our players -- YOUR players -- left everything they had at the table.

The NFL struck a similar tone in its statement confirming the lockout.

"Our message to the fans is this: We know that you are not interested in any disruption to your enjoyment of the NFL. We know that you want football. You will have football. This will be resolved," the league said.

"We have great respect for the fans," the statement said. "We have great respect for our players. We have great respect for the game and the tradition of the NFL. We will do everything that we reasonably can to ensure that everyone's attention returns to the football field as soon as possible."

It's anybody's guess on how long "as soon as possible" will actually be.

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