Chicago Bears

NHLPA has yet to present counteroffer to NHL

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NHLPA has yet to present counteroffer to NHL

It's been three weeks since the NHL made its first proposal, and the NHLPA still has yet to present a counteroffer. Today and throughout the rest of the week, both sides will meet to continue CBA talks.

Earlier in the week, Los Angeles Kings right winger Kevin Westgarth tweeted a photo of the 76,000 pages of NHL finances that must be sorted through before the players can make a counteroffer. Yes, it looks daunting, but a three-week response time when we're only five weeks from the Sept. 15 deadline makes you wonder just how much longer this process will take.

Since the initial NHLPA meetings in Chicago, Donald Fehr has stressed that there is no timetable on the negotiating process and has reassured that the season could still start on time even if no decision is made on the new CBA.

The last NHL lockout in 2004-05 really hurt the sport overall and losing another season is not something the league can afford to do again.

The five changes the owners desired in their first proposal were drastic and pretty overwhelming. By waiting closer to the Sept. 15 deadline, Fehr may be considering relying on the fan base to speak up as well, upset that training camps and preseason games aren't starting on time. The added pressure may be of assistance when getting owners to lower their initial proposal, which could speed up the overall process.

But by waiting closer to the deadline, the chances of not starting the season on time become greater, despite the ability to play while negotiations continue. As the battle between the two sides go on, there is a possibility neither will want to begin the season on time as frustrations grow further.

And as Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller pointed out earlier in the week, it's important that fans aren't alienated throughout the process:

"The last thing (we) need to do is have some kind of work stoppage, because we've made great strides with the positive spin hockey's had," Miller told the Montreal Gazette. "I think the years coming out of the (2004-05) lockout, we got a lot of the fan base back, a lot of positive energy. Mix that with the Olympics here in North America, a couple good playoffs, and we have a fan base that's loyal and, honestly, the best sports fans out of any sport."

George McCaskey, Bears release statement on Trump comments

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USA Today Sports Images

George McCaskey, Bears release statement on Trump comments

About an hour and 40 minutes before the Bears kicked off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Bears chairman George H. McCaskey released a statement following President Trump's comments about the NFL and National Anthem protests over the weekend:

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told CBS his team will remain in the locker room and will not participate in the National Anthem before Sunday's game.

A number of players knelt during the Star-Spangled Banner prior to Sunday morning's Baltimore Ravens-Jacksonville Jaguars game at Wembley Stadium in London, and Jaguars owner Shad Khan locked arms with his players during the anthem. 

Other NFL owners released statements on the Trump comments over the weekend, too:

Report: Steelers won't participate in National Anthem at Soldier Field

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USA TODAY

Report: Steelers won't participate in National Anthem at Soldier Field

The Pittsburgh Steelers will not participate in the National Anthem on Sunday at Soldier Field, according to Jamie Erdahl. 

The decision follows Donald Trump's recent comments on NFL protests at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired," Trump said. 

No word on what the Bears will do yet, but the Steelers will be in the locker room.