July 26, 2011
After 135 days and countless meetings, the NFL lockout is finally over. On Monday, NFL owners and players association agreed to a 10-year labor agreement, ensuring the fate of the game for the next ten seasons and letting die-hard fans and season ticket holders alike breathe a sigh of relief. Not a single game will be missed.
DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the National League Players Association (NFLPA) released a statement to the media this afternoon, letting fans know exactly what was going on. “We wanted to let everyone know who loves this game that the executive committee and board of player reps of the National Football League unanimously recommended the approval of the deal.” He went on to list the logistics of what the next steps would be, before addressing the fans who he believed stood behind him during the long and arduous process. “To our fans, I know you love this game as much as I do. I know it’s been a very long process since the day we stood here on that day in March. But our guys stuck together when no one else thought we would, and football is back because of it. I’m proud of the men that you see behind me, I’m proud of the former players that have stood with us, and most of all, I dig our fans who love our game.”
Now that the lockout is a thing of the past, it’s time to focus on free agency, which in a normal off-season would have begun on March 12. Of the 1,900 active players, 545 are on the free agent list released by the NFL. It’s no secret that the Redskins are among one of the many teams who need to beef up their roster before the season begins. With the NFL’s new salary cap set at $120 million, it will be interesting to see what the Skins will do. They’re well-known for doling out enormous amounts of dough for free agents who don’t always pan out, i.e., Albert Haynesworth. With the departure of Clinton Portis, the possibility of a Chris Cooley trade and McNabb all but packed and ready to get the hell out of here, Shanahan has his work cut out for him.
At 49-52 (.485), the Nats have continued to fall in the rankings since the All-Star Break, only half a game ahead of the last place Marlins (49-53). It’s pretty clear that any hope the Nationals had of coming close to a wild-card spot has long dwindled. However, they’re still close enough to the .500 mark that they could have a “successful season” by ending 81-81. After losing their last five games, the Nats get a one-day break before hosting two division rivals back to back this week. They’ll first face the Marlins and then the Mets, each for a three-game series. While the Florida fish are struggling to keep afloat, it may be the perfect time for Washington to nab some easy wins. But with just two wins in the last nine games, the Nationals may be an equally easy target for the Marlins, who are more than eager to give Washington back their last place spot.
Sometimes it’s amazing that women so strong and tall can be overlooked, but for the women of the WNBA, it happens all the time. For one Washington Mystics player, last weekend was a chance to shine on the national stage. For the second year in a row, Mystics forward Crystal Langhorne appeared in the 2011 WNBA All-star game, having been selected by WNBA coaches as an Eastern Conference reserve. She is the team’s leading scorer, averaging a career high 18.4 points per game so far this season and did not disappoint in her all-star appearance. Langhorne scored five points and six rebounds in the East’s 118-113 win against the West Saturday afternoon, their first since 2007, when they won 103-99. The All-Star Game provided a much needed win for Langhorne; the Mystics are struggling at 3-11, and only 1-7 against division rivals.