I see one side trying to negotiate and the other side giving yes/no ultimatums and taking their ball home when the answer is "no". I'm really shocked that people are so readily willing to excuse the owners for being so willing to walk away from any progress made just b/c Fehr is an underhanded negotiator. I'm not trying to excuse Fehr or say that he's blameless, but these owners are just looking for an excuse to throw up their hands and they clearly have been since day one.
There is nothing harder than for an owner/manager to ask an employee to give up something they have been receiving. The owners demands, across the board, require the players to give something up. With every step of progress, it seems there remains something left to claw back. The trouble is, what the owners are "giving up" seems to amount to "agreeing to claw back less than they originally asked for." Now, people can debate the merit and importance and fairness of what the owners want versus what the players want. But it simply makes for a tough negotiation when the bottom line is for one side to contain how much they are giving up without much improvement from the previous deal to point to. It's just human nature that this is going to be a bitter and ugly. I do wish the owners could come up with an olive branch that was not of the type "our new offer asks for less back than the last offer." Again, it's not about whether that means the players will still be filthy rich no matter what. "I'm gonna take that away from you." Good luck, never easy.