He’s the Baltimore Ravens player-rep in the NFLPA, and he’s always a good interview. So why don’t we see what’s on Derrick Mason’s mind these days? In addition to the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement stalemate in the NFL, Mason’s got the NBA to comment on. His Lakers looked good during Sunday’s thumping of the Spurs, and then there’s that little anecdote about tears being shed in the Miami Heat locker room after losing to the Chicago Bulls the other night. Mason, a wily veteran, definitely had something to say about that. But you might just be surprised who his criticism was leveled at.
Mason joined 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore to talk about why he’s a huge Lakers fan, his reaction to Erik Spoelstra’s comments about Heat players crying in the locker room following their recent loss to the Bulls, whether any of his teammates on the Titans cried in the wake of their heartbreaking loss to the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV, on fans issuing death threats to players like what happened to Cleveland Browns defensive back Eric Wright, his thoughts on the week-long extension to the CBA, how he thinks the owners are not nearly as unified as they try to appear, and how he believes all players will ultimately be better off under the provisions of the new CBA provided they remain unified for the final push of negotiations.
Whether he heard Erik Spoelstra’s comments about certain players crying after the Heat’s most recent loss:
“There’s no crying…like they said in that movie, there’s no crying in baseball. There’s no crying in basketball. I mean some things you just don’t let out of the house; some things you keep in-house regardless of what the situation is; some things allow to remain in the locker room. And I think that’s of those things that should have stayed in the locker room. What he should have said was guys are very disappointed, guys are upset, and it means a lot to them. But to cry? To come out and say cry? Now you know it’s going to be on the bulletin boards and in the newspapers — the Heat are a bunch of cry-babies that can’t win. I mean, come on! You can’t do that to your team. Now eventually they’re going to get rid of you, because you’ve got three mega superstars on your team with two mega stars and one superstar, and you can’t beat the tough teams. So eventually they’re going to get rid of you.”
Whether there were any Titans players who cried when they fell just short against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV:
“I think there were some tears shed, but that’s a situation where you made it to the pinnacle of your sport, and you’ve played so tough, and it comes down to a situation like that. It’s not a regular season game, or something like that. It’s the last game of the year, you’re playing in the biggest game in your profession, and you lose in that fashion. There were some guys crying, and I was very upset as well. There were some veterans that you saw that were highly and visibly upset, and might have shed a tear or two.”
On Cleveland Browns DB Eric Wright getting death threats from one lunatic fringe fan after a particularly bad game:
“Well I’ve never received them, and fortunately for me my career has gone as such that I haven’t made too many blunders. I’ve made a few, but not too many. But I haven’t received any. You have those occasional fans, those die-hard…not even die-hard, they just crazy….the fan fanatics that they take that meaning to heart — they’re true fanatics of the game and they kind of go overboard sometimes. I think it’s wrong, I think it’s disheartening to send a death threat out to somebody. If you’re going to send a death threat to somebody, go up to their face, walk up to them, let them know you are, let them see you, then threaten to kill them. Don’t send it through an e-mail or something like that, or a phone call. That’s just cowardice. If you’re going to threaten a guy, threaten him in his face. But it’s bad that it gets sometime to that situation where people feel the need that just because you didn’t win the game that week and didn’t do so well that they feel they’ve got to send out a verbal threat to you. What about the other works when you were doing good. You were their guy. So it’s just bad, it’s a bad situation.”
On the week-long extension of the CBA and his take on whether that means a new deal is in sight:
“There has been progress made. Obviously when you extend it seven days, there’s some progress in the room; there’s some optimism that something can get done. The longer can you talk, and the longer you can mediate, that’s a good thing. Because once you get into litigation, then everybody…the gloves are off, all the punches are being thrown, and that’s when it gets really ugly. So let’s continue to mediate and try to find a way out of this and find a common goal amongst the owners and players. That would be great. So the seven days, it doesn’t hurt. I think it helps, so hopefully after this seven days we can get something going where we won’t have to extend it and we can get something done come Friday.”
On how the players stay unified when there’s so many different interests and priorities in the union ranks:
“Well for one, I think all the owners are not on the same page here. You’ve got to understand, the Jerry Jones’ of the world feel they should be making more because they’re bringing in more bucks. But then there’s some other owners that aren’t bringing in a whole lot because of where they are geographically that probably say you know what, I like the current system because we all get to share the money. So I don’t think they’re all on the same page. But they’re all owners and they’re going to fight us and make it seem to us that they’re on the same page. But I guarantee you there are some owners in there that are like let’s just get this thing done and over with so we can continue to go on and do business as usual. But for the players, we all understand that regardless if you’re making $10 million a year, or $300,000 a year, that what we’re doing as a union is for the best — it’s for the best individually and collectively for everybody as a whole, so everybody just needs to hang in there and best believe that when we get a deal done, everyone will reap the benefits from it — regardless of whether you’re a first-year player or a ten-year player; regardless of if you’re making millions or not. What we’re trying to do to this game is we’re trying to expand it. So in the long run it will help those guys that are not making what the Peyton Manning’s or the Drew Brees’s are making. They may not ever make that type of money, but in the long run it will help them out in the end.”