MLB Lockout Rumors: Players Association ‘Galvanized’ Against Rob Manfred

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After team owners unanimously voted to impose the MLB lockout at the beginning of December, commissioner Rob Manfred declared the decision the “best mechanism to protect the 2022 season” and a “necessary” one to protect the sport’s integrity.

Little has gone well since that point, with the league and MLB Players Association remaining at odds over several economic issues. As days have continued to pass without a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in place, the likelihood of Spring Training and potentially the regular season being delayed increases.

The latest speed bump was the union declining MLB’s request for a federal mediator to become involved in CBA negotiations. It has since been followed by reports of MLB and the MLBPA not having any additional meeting scheduled to discuss core economics of a CBA.

While in years past it was speculated the MLB benefitted from a union that splintered among differing opinions, the players appear to be in lockstep during the lockout and largely due to frustration with Manfred, according to Maury Brown of Forbes:

In speaking with several players, I don’t think it can be underestimated just how much dislike the collective body of the union membership has for Manfred.

“He has galvanized us in ways he can’t imagine,” said one. “He underestimates how unified we are in this moment.”

— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) February 6, 2022

After the Players Association formally rejected negotiating with a representative from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service on hand, MLB again looked to divert blame.

“Our goal is to have players on the field and fans in the ballparks for spring training and Opening Day,” MLB said in a statement after their request was denied. “With camps scheduled to open in less than two weeks, it is time to get immediate assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help us work through our differences and break the deadlock.

“It is clear the most productive path forward would be the involvement of an impartial third party to help bridge gaps and facilitate an agreement. It is hard to understand why a party that wants to make an agreement would reject mediation from the federal agency specifically tasked with resolving these disputes, including many successes in professional sports.

“MLB remains committed to offering solutions at the table and reaching a fair agreement for both sides.”

Manfred believed MLB lockout would protect 2022

Earlier this offseason, Manfred expressed a belief that team owners imposing a lockout would prevent “doing damage” to the 2022 regular season. Manfred cited the players’ strike in 1994 as the reason he held that sentiment.

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