Still locked out?

Michael Moses

A federal judge ended the 45-day NFL lockout on Monday.

It sounds like good news for the NFL, but really, it’s nothing but more false hope.

Multiple players showed up at team facilities Tuesday hoping to get a workout in and prepare for the potential upcoming season. Some were let inside and greeted with “courtesy and respect,” or so the league states.

Some were able to lift.

Others were not.

Do you know why?

The owners, of course. They want to save themselves for as long as possible.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who’s never afraid to speak, said Tuesday that owners must get clarification from the NFL before they allow players to workout in team facilities.

My question is this: Why should he care?

Players need to get ready for the season and stay in shape. Owners should be begging players to be in the weight room at this point.

If there’s really been progress on this deal, then why can’t the players be players again?

The fact that teams are turning away players at entrance gates, denying them access to not only the weight room but even parking lots says a lot about the state of the NFL.

The league does not care about the players at this point. All that matters to the league is the business side.

No matter how serious the contract talks are, the fact of the matter is that we wouldn’t be here without these players. The games wouldn’t be exciting if guys like Peyton Manning, Ray Lewis, Andrew Johnson or Adrian Peterson weren’t on the field.

Ask any NFL fan to name 10 players on 10 different teams; I’m 100 percent sure they could. Ask those same people to name 10 different owners and I’ll bet money on it that most couldn’t come close.

This issue is not about the players.

It has been and always will be about the owners and their greedy minds. In the past, they were thrilled if players were coming into the facilities during the off-season. They would even put bonuses into players’ contracts stating that if he participated in a given percentage of voluntary workouts, they would receive a bonus.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson, New York Jets offensive lineman, has a $750,000 bonus riding on the line if he shows up to these workouts. Yesterday, he was declined entrance.

“I made every opportunity to avail myself to work out,” the 2-time Pro Bowler told reporters. “But at this time, I wasn’t afforded that opportunity.” As far as I’m concerned, this should definitely count as showing up.

Teams are treating the issue differently across the league. In Cleveland, players were handed a letter and were politely told that contact with coaches until further notice was prohibited. A few hundred miles away in Pittsburgh, Steelers owner Art Rooney and head coach Mike Tomlin greeted players, informed them that they couldn’t work out in the training rooms, but were able to talk to them directly.

In New York, the Giants facility was open. Defensive tackle Chris Canty said it was “like we never left.”

The state of the league has never been more uncertain.

Players are doing the right things. The owners have said that they never wanted a lockout in the first place, yet now they are physically locking players out.

The least they could do is open up the doors and give the players and fans some hope.

Contact Michael Moses at [email protected]