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hawaiiansteel
02-04-2010, 08:32 PM
NFL players bracing for a lockout in 2011

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, February 4, 2010


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. The NFL is headed for its first work stoppage in almost 25 years, players' union boss DeMaurice Smith said today.

The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the players and owners expires after the 2010 season, and Smith said owners are preparing for a lockout by negotiating TV contracts that pay them in 2011 even if there are no games because of a labor standoff.

When asked at the National Football League Players Association's annual news conference today about the chances if a lockout occurring after next season, Smith said, "On a scale of 1 to 10, it's a 14. It's that serious."

The two sides don't appear to be any closer to a new CBA than they were at this time last year.

The owners, citing rising operating costs and a slumping economy, want the players to accept a lower percentage of the total revenue generated by the league. Smith said the players, who get roughly 60 percent of gross revenue, are unwilling to take what he said is an 18 percent cut.

Smith said all NFL franchises made at least $25 million last year.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will address the labor situation tomorrow when he delivers his annual state of the league address.

NFLPA president Kewin Mawae said the players are preparing for the worst and have been advised to save a quarter of their salary next season in preparation for a lockout.

The owners and players have enjoyed labor peace since a players' strike in 1987.

"I truly believe in my heart that we'll get a deal done," Mawae said, "but there's going to have to be some give and take."

hawaiiansteel
02-04-2010, 08:33 PM
De Smith: "Virtually impossible" to go back to capped system

Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on February 4, 2010 5:01 PM ET


The NFL is expected to play 2010 without a salary cap in place. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said that once that genie is out of the bottle, it will be "virtually impossible" to go back to a capped environment.

It's the first time Smith has used words that strong about the salary cap. Whether it's rhetoric or not, the battle lines here are being drawn. According to Smith, the salary cap system as we know it may be done for good one month from now.

RuthlessBurgher
02-04-2010, 08:39 PM
Right now, it is the owners' fault. They are the ones who opted out of the deal. They are squabbling with each other over the extend of revenue sharing that should take place between clubs (cash cows like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder on one end, and owners crying poverty on the other end like Ralph Wilson and Mike Brown). The players union suggested that the current deal be extended for 6 more years, and there would be total labor peace...no uncapped "Final League Year," no potential lockout, etc. but the owners are claiming that the players take up too high of a percentage of revenues and want player salaries to be scaled back by 18%.

hawaiiansteel
02-04-2010, 08:40 PM
Union targets public opinion by claiming the NFL is "non-profit"

Posted by Mike Florio on February 4, 2010 6:08 PM ET

The NFL Players Association hopes to conjure public support in connection with the ongoing labor battle against the league. And so the NFLPA will be posturing from time to time in the hopes of selling sound bites, even if the sound bite has no relevance to any of the real issues -- or if the sound bite is flat-out misleading.

Case in point: Union chief De Smith recently has been peddling the notion that the NFL is a non-profit entity. He made a big deal about it during Thursday's press conference, as he roamed the stage like a trial lawyer in the well of a courtroom.

In a conference call with reporters conducted after the union event, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash explained that the non-profit concept is a "non-issue." Pash explained that the league office merely passes profits through to the teams, and that the teams then pay taxes on the profits.

So the league office generates no profit, but the teams generate plenty. And the teams pay taxes on those profits.

But, like many trial lawyers, Smith is seizing upon a complex concept and offering a grossly simplified explanation of it in a manner that suits the interests of his client.

If nothing else, it makes me feel even more better about my decision to get out of the law business. But it won't help the league and the union to work out a deal. And it will make it even harder for the union to command any respect from the 32 NFL owners.

Mister Pittsburgh
02-04-2010, 10:04 PM
No salary cap = inferior product. Greed has pretty much ruined every other thing in this world.

BURGH86STEEL
02-04-2010, 10:24 PM
No salary cap = inferior product. Greed has pretty much ruined every other thing in this world.

I agree.

Slapstick
02-05-2010, 12:58 AM
Jackasses like Jones and Snyder want to slay the goose that lays the golden egg...

Just like in the fable, once they open the goose up after killing it, they aren't going to find any fricking eggs...

If the league isn't competitive from top to bottom, the NFL will lose prestige...it is the strength of the league that makes NFL franchises so valuable, not the ambition of the owners...

And Smith can say what he wants, but after a year long lockout, the players will stuff that stupid genie back into the bottle and agree to a salary cap...hockey players did...

Chadman
02-05-2010, 01:41 AM
It very easy to blame the Jerry Jones' & Dan Snyder's for this, but to play Devils advocate, let Chadman just point out that-

It is the OWNERS that have to pony up the money for the players. They are the ones taking a financial risk on these guys, and on their team. It is in their best interests, and their company's (franchises) to make as much money as they can too. Yes, the players put their bodies on the line- but without these big money spending owners, these players don't get the money they are used to either. 40% of the NFL revenue goes to the owners- yet they outlay 100% of the financial risk for each franchise.

The players get 60% of the NFL revenue, but outlay.....umm......well......physical pain, or to be exact, the POSSIBILITY of physical pain for themselves. The players don't actually invest any of their own finances into the organisations.

So yes, it's easy to point fingers & claim Dan Snyder & Jerry Jones are spawn of Bealzebub. But from their point of view, they want to even up the financial return between owners & employees.

Get it to 50/50, and there can't be much complaint, can there?

hawaiiansteel
02-05-2010, 02:21 AM
NFL players gear up for impending lockout

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Forceful and at times defiant, NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith said Thursday that the players are bracing for a lockout in 2011 and vowed they will not blink even if a stare down with owners stops play for the first time in almost 25 years.

The players and owners are still far apart on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The two sides have been unable to reach common ground on how $8 billion generated by the league annually should be split.

They have almost a year to bridge the gap on revenue sharing, but Smith said the owners have been preparing for a lockout by negotiating TV deals that pay them even if there are no games in 2011 and hiring Bob Batterman, the attorney for the NHL when it locked out its players in 2004.

Asked yesterday about the gravity of the labor situation, Smith said: "On a scale of 1 to 10, it's a 14. It's that serious."

The potential standoff has been brewing for almost two years. In 2008, the owners opted out of the current CBA after the 2010 season because they want players to accept a smaller share of gross revenues.

Players get roughly 60 percent of such revenues, and Smith said owners want them to take an 18 percent pay cut. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the owners have asked for a more equitable split because of rising operating costs and a slumping economy.

Goodell will talk about the labor situation today when he delivers his annual state of the league address.

Smith, who is in his first year as the NFLPA's executive director, said the 60 percent share the players get is misleading.

He said $1 billion is taken off the top and given back to the owners to help them with stadium renovations and anything else that creates revenue streams.

The players aren't willing to budge when it comes to their revenue share, Smith said, because every NFL team made at least $25 million last year.

"What we cannot give in to is how a business that averages over $31 million (in profit) per team can look at their employees in the face and say 'Take an 18 percent pay cut,'" said NFLPA president Kevin Mawae, who plays for the Tennessee Titans.

There hasn't been a work stoppage in the NFL since 1987, when the players went on strike, forcing owners to use replacement players for part of the season.

"The reason we are no closer (to a deal) is because I haven't said yes to (an) 18 percent (cut)," Smith said. "For that, I apologize."

Even if the two sides agree on a new CBA before the end of the 2010 season, the NFL could still undergo significant changes.

The salary cap, which the players agreed to in 1994 to preserve parity in the league, is scrapped if no CBA is reached before March 1. The players have said they won't agree to the return of a cap once it is gone, a stance Smith reiterated yesterday.

Players have said that if the NFL goes to an uncapped system, it is only the prelude to a lockout.

Steelers union representative Charlie Batch warned players at an NFL rookie symposium last June about the likelihood of a lockout following the 2010 season.

Mawae said players will be advised to save 25 percent of their salary next season to prepare in the event of a lockout.

"I've been preparing for the worst," Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff said. "But I'm still optimistic. Even if we don't start when we're supposed to, I believe we'll have some type of season in 2011."

Mawae voiced similar optimism, although he characterized negotiations as both "frustrating" and "moving at a snail's pace."

"I believe we'll get a deal done," Mawae said, "but there's going to have to be some give and some take and not just taking from one side."

WHAT LIES AHEAD?

If the NFL owners and players don't come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) before March 1, there will be significant changes next season. Among them:

No salary cap.

No minimum or maximum payrolls. In 2009, teams had to spend at least $111 million and no more than $128 million.

Players cannot become unrestricted free agents until they have accrued at least six seasons. Players had been eligible for free agency after their fourth season.

Teams get an extra tag to use on their own players that are unrestricted free agents. They could use a franchise and transition tag or two transition tags.

Final eight rule: The teams that made it to the divisional playoffs in the AFC and NFC are only allowed to sign as many free agents as they lose.

Oviedo
02-05-2010, 09:17 AM
It very easy to blame the Jerry Jones' & Dan Snyder's for this, but to play Devils advocate, let Chadman just point out that-

It is the OWNERS that have to pony up the money for the players. They are the ones taking a financial risk on these guys, and on their team. It is in their best interests, and their company's (franchises) to make as much money as they can too. Yes, the players put their bodies on the line- but without these big money spending owners, these players don't get the money they are used to either. 40% of the NFL revenue goes to the owners- yet they outlay 100% of the financial risk for each franchise.

The players get 60% of the NFL revenue, but outlay.....umm......well......physical pain, or to be exact, the POSSIBILITY of physical pain for themselves. The players don't actually invest any of their own finances into the organisations.

So yes, it's easy to point fingers & claim Dan Snyder & Jerry Jones are spawn of Bealzebub. But from their point of view, they want to even up the financial return between owners & employees.

Get it to 50/50, and there can't be much complaint, can there?

Chadman you sound like someone who really understands business and realizes that sports are a business and not a public works program.

The numbers I heard this morning is that the players are willing to go from their current 60% of the take to 57% while the owners want it to go to 42%. That is a huge gap but I sorta think that the owners have staked out a low ball bargaining position.

The owners are in a very strong position on this with them guaranteeing they get TV money even if no games are played in 2011. The reality is like most labor impasses the players will ultimately break like the NHL players did. It's not like a lot of these guys have other career options. The problem with the players is they want the majority of the revenue but they want none of the risk. Sure they accept a health risk but they don't have to pay off stadiums, pay taxes to local and municipal governments, etc.

I think the league could survive fine without a salary cap as long as they put mechanisms in place that prevent high revenue teams from doing what they do in MLB. This could take many forms like the loss of draft picks for teams that spend in free agency, a plussed up form of additional draft picks for teams that lose players in free agency, pro rated distribution of TV revenue, etc.

I do think it is all but certain that 2011 will be a lockout with no football which should be factored into decision like extending a player like Casey Hampton. If you extend him 3 years it really could be for 4 years and you have to consider what kind of player you would get back after him not playing football in 2011, i.e. big, fat and out of shape.

Chadman
02-05-2010, 09:33 AM
SERIOUSLY doubt we'll get a lock-out. It doesn't benefit the players at all, and as was stated, as soon as cracks appear in a 'united front'- all the players will lose their nerve & flood back.

It'll be nearly impossible to run a non-capped NFL without there becoming a gap in the rich & poor teams that will, over time, become a chasam.

The aim has to be to get a balance that the owners feel is acceptable, and that the players feel won't hurt their earnings too much.

Chadman read that there may be a few options that are not being bandied about too much that could, if the players agree to a pay reduction, pump up their earning capacity- an extended season for one will give players 2 or 3 games more a year to earn coin, while not affecting the owners pockets adversely.

The problems really started when the players union got hold of that 60% of the revenue. Owners were never going to be happy with that.

Perhaps the NFL needs to look at options for both players & owners to make money outside of their respective contracts. Manchester United, Real Madrid & a few other soccer teams have their own television stations that play replays, live games, stories etc of their club all day. Perhaps if the NFL was to broker a deal with the television companies that currently have the TV rights, to allow teams like, say Dallas, to have a TV station dedicated to the Cowboys. It would take a 'relaxing' of the earning capacity from TV rights away from the NFL, but it could also be a simple way for Dallas to get more money in Jerry's pocket without having this power struggle with the players union over cash.

As Chadman sees it, the NFL & players union have 12 months to be creative, and stop bickering. They need to be realistic in their goals, and work towards an amicable solution. In the end, the owners don't have a product to sell without the players.

But the players don't have a career without the owners.

Neither side is stronger in this situation.

The real winner?

College football.

Slapstick
02-05-2010, 10:32 AM
I don't blame owners for not wanting to pony up those huge amounts of guaranteed money for the players...

I do blame Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder for messing with revenue sharing...

Doing away with revenue sharing is short-sighted...revenue sharing, while inconvenient for disgustingly rich owners, is one of the reasons that the league is as strong and competitive as it is...messing with that will weaken the league and make it less popular over the long term...when that happens, you won't see the ballooning franchise values that we have seen over the last ten years or so...

Mister Pittsburgh
02-05-2010, 10:43 AM
Is this league really set up so halfassed that a handful of teams not agreeing to a new CBA could bring the whole thing down? I mean out of 32 teams you could have a few teams like the Cowboys & Redskins, maybe Giants, Philthy possibly, and they could say they don't agree and the majority doesn't rule? That seems silly.

flippy
02-06-2010, 08:45 AM
Wonder if any players are interested in playing in the UFL?

The UFL could offer ownership to players.

There could be an opportunity for a major coup.

The Man of Steel
02-06-2010, 08:55 AM
I still find it laughable that there's actually a union for millionaire athletes. I just don't get it.

flippy
02-06-2010, 08:59 AM
Come to think of it, we should take a look at a couple of these players:
http://www.ufl-football.com/players

I thought CHarles Spencer and Rob Pettiti had a chance to be decent NFL players coming out. Now they're making $35K/yr.

I was surprised to see Simeon Rice plays in the UFL.

There are quite a few recognizable names. Many former Steelers practice squaders fill the UFL.

Mister Pittsburgh
02-06-2010, 12:40 PM
Nobody had touched upon my question so I will raise it again for those more knowledgable with the NFL's hierarchy.....does there have to be a unanimous agreement amongst the owners on a new CBA or does the majority rule. Meaning, if 3/4 of the teams owners vote that they like a new CBA they are presented with can 1/4 (or some other fraction) disagree and it doesn't go through?

RuthlessBurgher
02-06-2010, 01:57 PM
Nobody had touched upon my question so I will raise it again for those more knowledgable with the NFL's hierarchy.....does there have to be a unanimous agreement amongst the owners on a new CBA or does the majority rule. Meaning, if 3/4 of the teams owners vote that they like a new CBA they are presented with can 1/4 (or some other fraction) disagree and it doesn't go through?

Typically, when the owners vote on things like whether or not to change the instant replay system or what city gets awarded a future Super Bowl or whether to approve the sale of a team to a new owner, it requires a 75% vote (24 of the 32 owners must agree), not just a simple majority in which just one more than half (only 17 out of 32) can push something through (and a unanimous vote in which everyone agrees is not needed either...or else nothing would ever get passed because Al Davis never agrees with anything, just to be a thorn in the league's side since he is a putz that considers himself to be a rebel of some sort). I would imagine that it is the same in a situation such as this as well...75% majority of owner to pass (of course, then the player's union would also then have to agree with the stipulations that the owners set forth in order to adopt a new CBA).

Mister Pittsburgh
02-06-2010, 02:23 PM
Thanks Ruthless. So it isn't just Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder, and the like holding it up.

hawaiiansteel
02-06-2010, 02:24 PM
Commissioner: Talking lockout won't help

By Scott Brown and Carl Prine, TRIBUNE REVIEW
Saturday, February 6, 2010



FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. On the eve of football's biggest game, a larger labor struggle threatens to upstage the Super Bowl.

National Football League Players Association director DeMaurice Smith predicted Thursday that a deal between the union and NFL owners won't be inked soon, which will propel the league into the 2010 season without a salary cap. On a scale of one to 10, Smith also rated the likelihood of the owners locking out players in 2011 "a 14."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fired back Friday, arguing that Smith's prediction threatens to "become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

"Right now, we don't need to focus on that," Goodell said. "We need to take advantage of every opportunity to sit down and negotiate. That's how this is going to get done, and we will have an agreement. It's just a matter of when. But talking about work stoppages is not going to get us there.

"I'm not much on rhetoric. People want solutions most importantly, our fans."

In December, union officials asked NFL negotiators to sit down to round-the-clock talks to avert an uncapped year, but NFL officials rebuffed them. Goodell thinks both sides can still reach a deal by March. Steelers owner Dan Rooney taking a break from his duties as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland also remained optimistic that they'll avert a lost 2011 season.

"Nobody wants to see a work stoppage of any kind," said Rooney, now chairman emeritus of the famed franchise. "It's a tough thing for the players. It's a tough thing for the teams, and it's a tough thing for the fans.

"You're talking about a year away. If people work hard and come in with good intentions, a year seems to be a time you could make it happen. Both sides are really dug in right now. Both sides want an agreement. Nobody wants to see a work stoppage. They've got to work at it, and they've got to work hard on it."

According to the union's Smith, owners want to trim the players' share of most revenues from 59 percent to 41 percent, which would slash salaries and benefits. Commissioner Goodell and NFL owners said that they want athletes to assume a greater risk in long-term financial projects, such as new stadiums and the budding NFL cable network.

"The fans don't want to hear about well-to-do players or well-to-do owners squabbling about money," said New England Patriots' owner Bob Kraft. "We've got the greatest game in America. We've got to solve it and that's the focus."

Baltimore Ravens' owner Steve Bisciotti recently told reporters that several teams are "bleeding" cash. Commissioner Goodell yesterday pointed specifically to fans failing to flock to Jacksonville Jaguars' games. He insists the union understands the state of the NFL's finances. But Smith says they deserve to see the books before players jettison nearly a fifth of their earnings.

Smith also wants owners to reserve a larger share of revenues to help retired athletes, many of whom suffer from lifelong debilitating injuries earned on the field. He hopes to directly address owners at their annual Saturday pre-Super Bowl conference.

To outside experts, however, the labor squabbling might obscure a larger problem common to all major pro sports, including basketball, baseball and hockey. A bitter economic recession continues to whittle away profits in all leagues. Once lucrative marketing ventures have stalled about half of NFL teams are without naming rights deals on their arenas, including the new $300 million stadium of the Dallas Cowboys. "What we see playing out are parties focusing on the short term and not the crucial long term," said Lee Igel, a sports management professor at New York University. "Are they balancing their short-term worries with a long-term perspective?

"It seems now that they're headed for an uncapped year. But the salary cap was important for 'every given Sunday,' which fans understand means that their small-market team can compete against the big ones. If we look at the aftermath of an uncapped year and then a lockout, if they can't stop that what does it do to football?

"There's a 'meaningful outside.' It matters what fans outside these negotiations think about football. If we're looking at the tea leaves, what will they think the NFL looks like without a salary cap or after a lockout? Everyone needs to worry about that."

Chadman
02-08-2010, 09:46 AM
MIAMI -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell predicts players' salaries will still grow under a new labor agreement, even if their share of revenue is reduced as owners have proposed.

Appearing Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" hours before the Super Bowl, Goodell said the owners need more money to cover rising costs for international ventures and infrastructure projects such as new stadiums.

"You have to invest in these stadiums that we're in today," Goodell said. "You need to find new ways of creating revenue, whether it's international or otherwise. And that takes investment. And we need to make sure that the owners have the capital to be able to do that. And then the pie grows, and everyone benefits."


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On Super Bowl Sunday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell comments on labor talks, what an uncapped 2010 season will look like, the changes to the Pro Bowl and more.

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The union has said management wants players to reduce their share to 41 percent of applied revenues from about 59 percent. Goodell counters that of the $3.6 billion in incremental revenues since 2006, players received $2.6 billion.

"We want to structure something that really is going to lead us into the next decade in a way that's constructive, so the players benefit, the teams benefit, and most of all, the game," Goodell said.

The league's current labor contract expires in March 2011. NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday the chance of a lockout next year is a "14" on a scale of 1 to 10.

"I don't agree with that," Goodell said. "The owners don't win by having a lockout. Shutting down your business is not good for anybody. And it's certainly not good for the players. It's certainly not good for the fans."

Addressing the issue of concussions has been another priority for the commissioner, and he said the league will continue to look for ways to make the game safer. He didn't rule out the idea of getting linemen out of their three-point stances to reduce the ferocity of collisions at the line of scrimmage.

"As you'll see tonight, you'll see a lot of players that never get down in a three-point stance," Goodell said. "So it's possible that would happen."

While science is still trying to determine the long-term effects of concussions, Goodell said, the league has made progress in increasing awareness about the severity of such injuries.

"For many years the culture had been quite different -- that concussions weren't serious injuries," he said. "I think we have changed that culture and made sure that people understand they are serious, and they can have serious consequences if they're not treated properly."

hawaiiansteel
02-09-2010, 03:22 PM
NFL braces for uncertain future

By The Associated Press Tuesday, February 9, 2010



FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A memorable season capped by a super title game with a record TV audience has NFL executives and fans beaming.

The smiles might soon disappear.

Pro football is headed into the great unknown. Barring a quick and totally unexpected agreement with the players' union on a new contract, 2010 will have no salary cap. After that, perhaps a work stoppage, something NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith puts at "14" on a scale of 1 to 10.

Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't agree, believing negotiations will lead to a new deal before March 2011, when the collective bargaining agreement expires. But an accord before the New Orleans Saints -- who dat? -- begin defense of their Super Bowl championship in September is unlikely.

The 32 team owners clearly are prepared for a go at the first uncapped season since 1993. Enough restrictions are in place, including extending the minimum years of service for unrestricted free agency from four years to six, that baseball-like bidding wars are improbable.

With the owners claiming they are losing millions and the players arguing that teams are making money by the fistful, a common ground will be difficult to find.

"The labor agreement is a very important agreement," Goodell said during his annual Super Bowl week news conference. "It's something that is important to our players. It's certainly important to our clubs, and it's important to our fans.

"We have to sit at the table and we have to get an agreement that works for everybody. And that's what people expect. They want solutions, and that's what we should deliver."

Free agency begins March 5. The more critical date might be March 5 of next year, when, if no new deal has been struck, the most popular and prosperous sport in America could see the owners locking out the players.

That's the last thing fans want to hear after a special season featuring the Saints capping a football renaissance for their team and their city with their first Super Bowl title. The NFL's best teams, led by New Orleans, generally have become the most potent on offense: each division winner except Cincinnati regularly visited the end zone, and three of the four playoff semifinalists scored at least 416 points.

And as some stars begin to fade (LaDainian Tomlinson, Champ Bailey), others emerge (Chris Johnson, Darrelle Revis). A league driven by quarterbacks has a splendid blend of veterans in top form (four-time MVP Peyton Manning, Super Bowl most valuable player Drew Brees, even 40-year-old Brett Favre), passers only now in their primes (Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers), and youngsters with great promise (Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Chad Henne).