Good Friday morning Caps fans. Hoping your week was fruitful and your well-earned weekend is relaxing.
I’m going to make this one short and sweet but I did want to slide in a brief update on the state of labor negotiations. You all probably saw this elsewhere but it is such an important issue at the moment, it bears repeating.
After a week extension in negotiations, the deadline to avert a lockout would have expired last night. But the league and the Players Association opted to extend that for another 24 hours, with MLS saying in a statement that negotiations have reached an “advanced stage.”
MLS Statement on CBA Negotiations pic.twitter.com/9uPynhf2oj— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 4, 2021
This is not a slam dunk. Both the league’s statement and original reporting from journalists note that there are gaps on some core issues. But this is perhaps the clearest sign yet that a lockout can be avoided and things can be repaired, at least somewhat, after the controversial force majeure maneuver.
I don’t think it is possible to underscore how disastrous a work stoppage would be for the league. Setting aside the unknown implications for player contracts (it doesn’t seem like MLS players would instantly be able to up and go to another team on a free but FIFA is probably the only one to know for sure), the effects of lockouts on fan support have been historically disastrous. One only needs to look at stalled efforts to build fan support in the NHL in the 2000s, which was largely due to Gary Bettman locking the players out every other year (OK not really but it seemed like it was that often).
The players deserve some key wins and it seems like they might get some. Expanding free agency, for example, would be a big victory for them and one that is quite rightly deserved. And given the spending sprees some MLS owners are going on, the arguments that ownership is dead broke seems ... tenuous. So I’m sympathetic to the players here.
But for the good of the sport, let’s hope something gets done. We’ll probably know in a few hours...
In the meantime, here are some links to chew over:
Best of the Rest
The Caps and winger David Milinkovic have mutually agreed to terminate the Frenchman’s contract. The move is obviously not a surprise but it will disappoint fans who thought Milinkovic looked solid last year (raises hand) and it further underscores the high expectations for Deibar Caicedo
The Caps signing of top pick David Egbo is officially official, setting off the club’s race to track down some international slots
What the heck is FC Cinci doing Part I (signing a well-regarded Brazilian striker who was linked with a European move)
What the heck is FC Cinci doing Part II (bringing back Pity Martinez)