Is Twitter Hurting the NFL Lockout

Posturing is part of any labor negotiation. Labor says management is being cheap. Management calls labor's demands unfair. One side may accuse the other of lying. Someone says something about someone's mama and it's on.

The NFL labor talks haven't been much different. Last week, I wrote about a recent salvo between the two sides, with the Players Association sending out a memo warning players to prepare for a lockout with the league expressing shock and disappointment that the the union seemed so willing to throw in the towel.

It made me wonder if maybe that didn't signal that talks had hit a stalemate (even though the NFL later in the day said that talks were still ongoing). Nonetheless, I was curious if these talks may be more contentious than others - a question I posed to Gabe Feldman, the director of Tulane University's Sports Law Program.

"Not sure if it's significantly worse than in the past," he responded via Twitter. "Though Twitter has added some immediacy to the sniping, though."

An interesting point, for sure. In the past, any acrimony took time to reach players and fans. In some cases, if they weren't reported the body blows may have never landed at all. It's almost weekly that some athlete or celebrity sends a tweet that causes a stir, but the consequences are generally limited to that person. Likewise, we've seen our share of Twitter feuds that either blow over quickly or just get ignored.

But this is the first high-profile labor negotiation of the digital era and with the open conversation that is Twitter, it's allowed both sides to present their case and interact with players, fans and media - something that most groups have done with enthusiasm. From union spokesman presenting labor's side to the public to Cardinals' defensive end Darnell Dockett soliciting lockout job suggestions from fans, everyone has had a chance to weigh in.

It remains to be seen if this can be helpful. The NFL calls itself a game for the fans, so surely fan input must be good, right? Or will it be a case of too many cooks spoil the broth. Superagent Drew Rosenhaus thinks it's a good thing, but we may be months from knowing for sure. Stay tuned...

This post was originally on SportsAlert...

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