This Week’s Reminder That the NFL Lockout Needs to End

There's no football in sight.

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It has been almost two weeks since the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay that put the NFL lockout back into place after a few days of hope that the league would actually get back to the football business.

There are ways to kill the time waiting for someone to fill the rest of us in on how the legal definition of temporary relates to the one understood by the masses. You could take up bullriding, cut the salaries of your employees because you've decided to put yourself out of business or, in the case of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, keep up your habit of simply making things up in hopes that people will fall for your line.

The commish went on PFT Live Wednesday to complain that the players are unwilling to negotiate with ownership. It's a strange point of view from the man who led the charge to take football away, although it makes sense if you simply realize Goodell's idea of negotiating is the players giving the owners everything they want while asking for nothing in return.

Don't take our word for it. Goodell himself said that the four owners attending the next mediation sessions have no authority to make a deal which means that's about as serious as negotiating with a three-year-old.

While Goodell takes his whine to the airwaves, the players are trying to stay in something close to shape so that they are ready to go whenever the courts decide they should be allowed to earn a living. Well, some of them are anyway.

Justin Tuck isn't doing anything because he knows that if he or some other member of the Giants defense should get hurt, the owners will refuse to pay them for suffering a non-football injury. Yes, friends, preparing for the 2011 football season now qualifies as something that isn't related to football.

Those concerns are also what's kept Eli Manning from drawing a large contingent of players to his workout sessions in Hoboken. There have been more reporters than players at those workouts which tells you a good deal about how useful they'll be when  everyone gets back to real work and tells you how desperate media members are for something to talk about. 

Or you could just read Steve Politi's column in Thursday's Star-Ledger. He compares and contrasts the conditions at Manning's Hoboken camp with those at the Jets West camp Mark Sanchez has been holding in Mission Viejo.

It's a funny piece, but also a sad one for reasons that have nothing to do with grown men watching other grown men play catch in a park and writing about it. That we're reading such silliness is sad enough, but perusing the comments make it even sadder as Jets and Giants fans snipe at one another over how their quarterback's camp makes the team that much likelier to be successful when football returns.

That's a load of horse manure and we're pretty sure all those people know that it is a load of horse manure. A handful of players running around catching passes matters about as much to the success of a team this season as the fact that fans really want football matters to the people in charge of giving it to them.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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