A deal that should have been made last March between the owners of the National Football League and their players still hadn't been made Thursday night. By the end of this, if there ever is an end to this, fans of the sport will feel that this negotiation has lasted longer than some players' careers.
DeMaurice Smith went through the wrong-headed process of decertifying the NFL Players Association as a show of strength and force, took this into the courts to gain the leverage he thought he needed against the most powerful league in this world. It means he listened to a Rasputin-like union lawyer named Jeffrey Kessler, who clearly thought the only way to scare Roger Goodell and his owners was to raise a club to the league's anti-trust exemption. And prevent a lockout. That strategy failed.