Well, I don't know what else to say other than it's not looking good on the NFL labor front. No, I don't have any inside information, and it sounds like it's hard to get unbiased information from those involved anyway, but judging by the public comments from the NFL and NFLPA it's hard to see how things could be characterized as good.
Here are a series of statements on Thursday night from folks involved in the process. First, NFL negotiator Jeff Pash had this to say Thursday evening:
"If both sides have an equal commitment to getting this deal done, it will get done," Pash said. "I don't know if both sides have an equal commitment. You've heard plenty of what I've heard as well. If that's the case, if both sides have that commitment, there's a deal to be made."
Remember the media blackout? In the first week or so of these talks, it worked really well. The past few days the wheels have fallen off. Responding to Pash's comments, here is NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith in an email to the (other) AP:
"Jeff Pash was part of an executive team that sold the networks a $4 billion ticket to a game they knew wouldn't be played. The only thing they've been committed to is a lockout."
Context matters here. These two are involved in daily negotiations and if this is how they interact in public, I can't imagine what it's like inside the building at 21st and K in Washington D.C. The deadline to do a deal (or extend it) is Friday night. You think they're going to solve this over coffee and donuts in the morning?
Spokesmen for the union and the league have also chimed in. The NFLPA's George Atallah had this to say, per Bob Glauber of Newsday:
"If owners continue to [question] players' commitment to negotiations, we're prepared [to] make public all our unanswered proposals."
And because Twitter is in style these days, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello responded in less-than-140 characters:
"While George is at it, ask him when is union going to respond to our 150 pages of draft CBA provisions that they received eight days ago. Waiting."
Yeah, this doesn't sound like it's going to work. Just like last week at this time, the best hope we're hoping for right now is an extension.