Mara is a low-key, high-class individual who thinks before speaks. I have a boatload of respect for the man. I don't, however, relish the idea of Mara acting as the front man for the owners.
His "essay" today (released on Giants.com) titled "Time to Get Back to Football" is a well-written account of the current condition of our great game, but I believe it will do little to generate any movement towards a settlement.
Mara is one owner who has not let the lockout disrupt the ongoings of the team's day-to-day operations. Everyone is getting paid in full and they are not forced to mow fields or shuck tickets in their spare time to make ends meet.
A dissertation coming from John Mara Esq. means more than one coming from one of the Jerrys or Paul Allen. It is a truthful attempt to inform fans and garner support for a settlement, but words alone won't get much done I'm afraid.
The lawyers have hijacked the peace process. Mara and others, including Roger Goodell, realize that the language in several of the current lawsuits - if fleshed out in reality - can inflict irreversible damage to the NFL . To be fair, we all must remember (including Mara) that it was their own decision to invite these snakes into the tent.
Now, the owners are counting on the courts to rule in their favor and suddenly the league's destiny, which was a controllable entity at one point, is out of their hands for the moment. Although they are defendants in most of the lawsuits (and are using the legal system for all it's worth may we add) they can only blame themselves if this impasse screeches off the rails.
We realize it was the players who dragged this affair in front of judges. Mara and the other owners have simply countered with a heavy-hitting lineup of litigators of their own.
But the owners are fearful of what may come if the wrong judge rules the wrong way. The NFLPA legal team is challenging everything that made the NFL great, as Mara points out...
The NFLPA lawyers want to wipe away fundamental elements of the NFL's appeal to fans, including the draft, "the Salary Cap, ‘franchise player' designation, ‘transition player' designation, and/or other player restrictions," according to their lawsuit.
One literal misinterpretation by a justice who has no sense of football history and how the NFL has become embedded into the American landscape could ruin the game forever.
I applaud Mara, an accomplished corporate attorney himself, for acting as the voice of reason in this matter. His family is one of the cornerstone ownership groups in the league. They genuinely care about the game's future and want to proceed in a fair and equitable fashion: through negotiation.
It is a noble undertaking on Mara's part to attempt to bring the sides together. Unfortunately, he is in the minority. Most owners want to crush the players' will and wrest as much of the revenue pie from them as they can. And they don't care what methods are used or how long it takes, either.
The players claim they are simply standing up for their rights. They are entitled to that. But they shouldn't allow lawyers to rip 90 years of tradition and progress to shreds in the process.
So on we go...