The National Football League lockout is no different from any negotiation, whether two parties or several parties negotiate: The goal isn't a good deal, but a great outcome. In a perfect world, it's a formulation of a great outcome vs. a negotiation of a good deal. But it isn't a perfect world. In fact, the sand is flying in this sandbox.
Lets take a peek at the NFL lockout from a bird's-eye view --- a player agent perspective.
Player agents like to be able to provide their clients with answers and solutions to challenges. During a lockout, most of an agent's information comes from their players or a trusted media source. During the lockout, agents spend their time anticipating for (and with) their clients, their clients' financial advisers and, believe it or not, attempting to help players see both sides.
Agents are often business owners as well. So empathy with the owners exists by some agents. Agents are out of control right now, but let's be honest, agents are used to being out of control. Their livelihood primarily exists based on someone else's performance and decisions; and an agent's business model is made up of multiple bell curves and requires constant reinvention and retention.
The NFL has been one of the best sports products in the market. In my opinion, one of the many reasons the NFL has flourished is due to the fact that the players are modern-day gladiators. Yes, they have a unique platform, but they pay a price for it and only have a limited window of time to play in their lives.
The owners also take significant risks, most notably financial, by providing the infrastructure and platforms. Both look at each other as a resource to support their unique professional objectives.
Like anything in life, it takes two to tango. Negotiations typically boil down to greed, money and control; a belief that one party can't live without the other. This negotiation, at its core, is transactional for both parties, making transparency and authenticity difficult to surface.
Many people reading this might think, "but it is just a game --- don't forget that." I agree. No question, jumping out of the sandbox and realizing it isn't a solution to world hunger would support perspective.
Although transactional, results will flourish if discussions are anchored against honoring the game of football. Honoring the game that allows so many people to make a living doing something they love. It's about honoring the people who paved the way and honoring the people forthcoming.
Do I sound too altruistic? Stay with me. It's about honoring the people for which the game impacts. It's about remembering the reality, that it is a game. But the fact is, it is a business and a livelihood for many. And a good one --- let's not forget it.
From my experience and judgment relative to negotiations, the party with the most choices is in control --- and more likely to "win." Who has more choices in this lockout?