This is what we know. Unless there is some sort of a last minute agreement between the NFL and union, Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to punish players that participated in the Saints bounty system. From all indications, he's going to come down very hard on some of them.
Second, the high level meetings between union officials and the league that have taken place over the past week or so, culminating in a four hour session on Monday that included union chief DeMaurice Smith and Saints quarterback Drew Brees, a member of the executive committee, have gone nowhere.
The union has stated publicly the NFL has not provided detailed proof of a pay-to-injure scheme.
So this is what's likely to happen (again barring some last minute change). Players will be punished for their role in the bounty scandal and both sides will then fight like hell. The union to overturn that punishment, the NFL to keep it in place.
Yet there's another angle to this and it's an important one and vital to the future credibility of a powerful union that most of the time does the smart thing and the right thing.
The union has an obligation to defend the players the Saints targeted for injuries. But the union, admittedly in a tough spot, isn't doing this.
The union is mostly defending the Saints. But the Saints players are the perpetrators. This is akin to the baseball union defending steroid cheats at the expense of a player base that follows the rules.
The union is run by smart and capable men, like Smith, but they just don't seem to notice a glaring blind spot which is they are defending the bad guys at the expense of the bounty victims.
Players Michael Crabtree, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Kyle Williams, Alex Smith, and maybe more, were targeted by Saints players. Shouldn't the union be more concerned about them?
There is also the uncomfortable fact that Brees continues to say the NFL has yet to provide proof to the NFLPA of its claims. To say that Brees has a tad bit of a conflict of interest is an understatement.
The punishment will come down soon. The union will fight like hell. But there are a few fights worth walking away from.