The only image that came to mind Thursday evening was of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sitting in front of his computer with a smirk smeared across his face, hands clasped together and an eyebrow raised ever so devilishly.

It was a look that was reminiscent of Dr. Suess’ Grinch as he sat in his cave plotting his robbery of everything Christmas.

My mind raced as I envisioned him in a black leather chair gazing at the monitor while his mind raced and churned over the ramifications of his actions.

But he was cool. He was calm. He was satisfied.

And just like the Grinch was happy with every Christmas tree and present he stole from Who-ville, Goodell was just as happy as he knew exactly what kind of situation he was about to create when he sent a copy of the owner-approved contract over to the players union.

It was an underhanded move that was calculated and devious.

But it was effective.

I’ve been pretty open with people who I have talked with during the lockout that I’m in the players’ corner on this one.

I’ve never felt convinced to support the owners’ during the NFL lockout whatsoever. Even before the season ended and there were rumblings of what could happen if there was no football, I never felt there was a strong case for them to argue why they needed to make billions of dollars on top of their multi-billion dollar empire.

I just couldn’t side with a commissioner whose heart was an empty hole with a brain full of spiders, garlic in his soul. There was something not right taking a billionaire’s side and the man who led them.

So I took the player’s side. Since the beginning I thought the players were getting the short end of the stick with an extended season. I felt the players were not fairly treated when it came to the application of the franchise tag and I didn’t see how it would be fair that players were considered partners when it came to revenue sharing.

More importantly, there are players in the league who I went to school with and I know many former players so there is a tremendous soft spot in my heart for them. I didn’t think it was fair the way the players were being treated after some of the horror stories I heard.

Unlike the Grinch, sorry Goodell, there was actually a beating heart in my chest and it ached with the players.

When I heard Thursday evening that player union representatives were not going to vote on the contract immediately, I thought that it was smart of the players to read through the contract.

Then I learned more about what was going on and I became angry at the situation.

There is nothing more underhanded and slimy than trying to sneak negotiation terms, no matter how big or small, into a contract. What’s even worse about this is that the owners then handed a copy over to the players union as if nothing after having a copy for approximately a week.

It was a slap to the face of the players. The owners might as well have kicked them in the gut while they were at it.

The Grinch would have, so why shouldn’t Goodell?

On top of that, the owners are pushing for the union to recertify quickly by any means possible.Never mind the process that the players want to follow at this point; it’s all about timing and pressuring players into just signing something they haven’t read. It’s time to make money.

The move was premeditated. Goodell knew exactly what the reaction would be if he came out first and presented an image of wanting to get football back on track while smearing the image of the players as holdouts.

But remember, he’s the Grinch. He has termites in his smile and the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile.

By the end of the day Thursday, it was evident that the move by the owners was a power play to regain as much control of the negotiations as possible by placing the players in a poor light with the fans. I don’t know if it’s the right move, but what’s done is done.

The sad thing about all this is I don’t see Goodell finding any revelation at the end of the day to do what’s right and be upfront about the contents of the contract and whether or not the “sticking points” that have come up were even discussed during the negotiations. This story won’t end on a happy note of sing-song and snowflakes falling from the sky. That’s just not how business works during labor negotiations of this magnitude.

I retain hope that the events of Thursday afternoon and evening may have simply been blown out of proportion but my instincts say otherwise. 

To me, Goodell is the Grinch and I still have only three words to describe him: “Stink, stank, stunk!”

Chris Avila is the co-owner and president of To read more of his ramblings about UTEP sports from football to softball, visit the best independent site for news, analysis and opinion.