NFL Players Association president Kevin Mawae said Tuesday evening that he believes there will be a 2011 football season, but he is not sure when it will begin.
Mawae, who played center in the NFL for 16 seasons, was speaking in front of nearly 100 business and civic leaders in Nashville, according to the Associated Press.
"We sit here at a time of uncertainty and say, 'When will football be played?' " Mawae said, per the report. "My answer to you as fans is I don't know. My hope to you as the players' association president is that I believe that we will play in 2011 but under what system I do not know."
Mawae placed blame on league ownership for locking out the players and refusing to share financial information in negotiations. Proposals on certain issues that came up in discussions, including health benefits for retired players and the length of the season "went one way and never came back," according to Mawae.
"We had to wait three or four months before we even got a one-page response from the ownership," he said. "Now granted, you are saying, 'You are the NFL players' guy. You are giving me one side of the story.' And I wish that were true. I am telling you exactly how things played out because I sat in those meetings, those negotiations."
The lockout was briefly lifted by a Minnesota judge, but the owners appealed and the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay, barring players from team facilities. The hearing in appellate court will begin on June 3.