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Reading between the lines

So let me get this straight: The fact that the NFL owners have green-lighted a new collective bargaining agreement has somehow become a sticking point for the players.

Or maybe it's more than just that.

Certainly it makes little sense on the surface that -- according to a couple of high-ranking NFLPA officials -- the owners okaying the deal has "painted (the players) into a corner with the fans," put pressure on them to vote and made it less likely that the players would vote yes.

In other words: "We knew if the owners signed, it would make us look like foot-dragging chumps if we didn't sign, too. So our response to that is to not sign and look like foot-dragging chumps."

I'm sorry. But that makes no sense.

What does is what's slowly leaking out via Twitter and otherwise, which is that there's apparently a bunch of stuff in the deal the owners signed that the players never agreed to. And so, even if makes them look bad, maybe the players are right not to let the owners bully them into signing. After all, it seems more and more clear that trying to make the players look bad is exactly what the owners might be up to here.

If so, they're succeeding. But only if you fail to stop and think it through.

A couple of other items:

* A pall of disappointment settled over the nation when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that, because of time constraints, the Hall of Fame game was being cancelled for this year.

OK. So it wasn't a pall, exactly.

A yawn, maybe. A shrug. But not a pall.

* Show of hands here: Who was shocked and amazed when the word came down that the owners' vote was 31-0 with one abstention, and the team that abstained was the Oakland Raiders?

Oh, Al Davis. You are nothing if not predictable.

Ben Smith's blog.

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