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feltdizz
03-17-2011, 09:30 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=6229779
Roger Goodell sends letter to players

NEW YORK -- Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote NFL players Thursday, outlining the league's last proposal to the union and cautioning that "each passing day puts our game and our shared economics further at risk."

Goodell ended the letter by telling players: "I hope you will encourage your union to return to the bargaining table and conclude a new collective bargaining agreement."

Talks between the teams' owners and the NFL Players Association broke off last Friday, the 16th day of federal mediation in Washington. The union dissolved that afternoon, allowing players to file a class-action antitrust suit in federal court. Hours later, owners locked out the players, creating the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987.

Goodell letter

Goodell NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to 1,900 NFL players on Thursday. Read it here. Letter

"I've told my guys to take the letter and set it on fire. We're not that stupid," said Seattle Seahawks guard Chester Pitts, whose reaction was relayed by NFLPA assistant executive director George Atallah.

Goodell wrote that the NFLPA "walked out of the federal mediator's offices ... and filed a lawsuit." He also said owners "are prepared to resume those negotiations at any time."

"We need to come together, and soon," Goodell wrote.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday there's no reason talks can't occur between the players and owners before the April 6 lockout injunction hearing, according to a report on ProFootballTalk.com.

"What came out of the Reggie White lawsuit?" Smith said during a Thursday interview with Mike Francesa of WFAN in New York. "A CBA that has done nothing but grow the game. We have lawyers and class counsel who are representing us. There's no reason why those lawyers and class counsel and lawyers for the league can't get together and talk and negotiate."

Despite the fact that both sides have said they are willing to meet, sources tell ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that they are not expected to meet until after the ruling on the preliminary injunction, which will be heard on April 6.

Goodell told players he wants them to "understand the offer that we made," a proposal put forth during the final day of negotiations.

"We believe the offer presented a strong and fair basis for continuing negotiations, allowing the new league year and free agency to begin, and growing our game in the years to come," Goodell said.

His letter goes point-by-point through 10 categories Goodell said were included in the NFL's last proposal. Among them:

• Salary and benefits would be $141 million per club in 2011, and rise to $161 million by 2014;

• Free agency after four seasons;

• Less offseason work and fewer padded practices in the preseason and regular season;

• Keeping a 16-game regular season for at least the next two seasons and not changing to 18 games without the union's agreement;

• Guaranteeing up to $1 million of a second year of a player's contract if he is injured and can't return to play;

• A new rookie compensation system;

• A jointly appointed neutral arbitrator for all drug and steroid appeals.

hawaiiansteel
03-18-2011, 02:39 AM
Chester Pitts on Goodell letter: “We’re not that stupid”

Posted by Mike Florio on March 17, 2011,


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has sent a letter to all players summarizing the terms of last Friday’s offer to the NFLPA*, and urging the players to ask the NFLPA* to continue negotiations.

The early reaction to the letter isn’t good.

Seahawks guard Chester Pitts, the player rep in Seattle before the NFLPA became the NFLPA*, assailed the letter in comments provided to us via NFLPA* spokesman George Atallah.

“I’ve told my guys to take the letter and set it on fire,” Pitts said. “We’re not that stupid.”

Neither Pitts nor the NFLPA* have elaborated on why they think the letter presumes that they players are stupid. Though the deeper objective may have been to spark a process of divide and conquer, the fundamental point made by Goodell is accurate and useful.

With an unnamed nucleus of NFLPA* officials and/or lawyers apparently refusing to continue negotiations, the players need to press them to talk in order to bring the decertification-litigation-lockout mess to an end.

Though no one (including the owners) expects the players to accept the offer, the players need to respond to it. That’s Goodell’s message, and we agree with it.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... at-stupid/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/03/17/chester-pitts-on-goodell-letter-were-not-that-stupid/)

Discipline of Steel
03-18-2011, 08:40 AM
He forgot a key provision...offensive players will receive 2/3 of the players cut and defenders 1/3 because defenders will suck and offenders are the only true stars in the league.

RuthlessBurgher
03-18-2011, 10:08 AM
• A jointly appointed neutral arbitrator for all drug and steroid appeals.

I hope that when a deal finally gets done, there is a provision for a jointly appointed neutral arbitrator for all appeals, not only drug and steroid appeals. Fines and suspensions should not be made at the sole discretion of Dictator Goodell and his cronies. There should be a fair way to appeal discipline for illegal hits than meeting with the same guy who doled out the punishment in the first place.

Discipline of Steel
03-18-2011, 04:51 PM
• A jointly appointed neutral arbitrator for all drug and steroid appeals.

I hope that when a deal finally gets done, there is a provision for a jointly appointed neutral arbitrator for all appeals, not only drug and steroid appeals. Fines and suspensions should not be made at the sole discretion of Dictator Goodell and his cronies. There should be a fair way to appeal discipline for illegal hits than meeting with the same guy who doled out the punishment in the first place.

Thats the Troy Polamalu Correllary to the James Harrison Rule.

hawaiiansteel
03-18-2011, 07:47 PM
Updated: March 18, 2011

Mike Vrabel: Nix NFL brass from talks

ESPN.com news services


MARCO ISLAND, Fla. -- Chiefs veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel has an idea for progressing talks between the NFL Players Association and the owners who have locked them out: Cut out the middle men.

Vrabel, speaking to ESPN's George Smith in a roundtable interview during a break at the former union's annual meeting Friday, suggested meetings that don't include commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL's lead labor attorneys would be to everyone's advantage.

Before the NFLPA decertified last Friday, owners increased their offer from $131 million in player costs in 2011 to $141 million. But a pre-2008 salary cap simply doesn't work with 2011 salaries, writes John Clayton. Story

"We are willing to negotiate. But we don't want to negotiate with Bob Batterman, Jeff Pash or Roger Goodell," Vrabel said, referring to the NFL's outside labor counsel in Batterman and its executive vice president and lead counsel in Pash. "Our executive committee needs to negotiate with Jerry Jones, Bob Kraft, Jerry Richardson -- their executive committee. People that are willing and can agree to a deal. Jeff Pash can't agree to a deal."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league accepts Vrabel's invitation to negotiate but didn't rule out the top executives' participation.

"The NFL's negotiating team -- accompanied by the three owners Mike mentioned, Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson and Robert Kraft -- is prepared to meet immediately. Just tell us when and where," Aiello said of the Cowboys owner, the Panthers owner and the Patriots owner.

A week after the union decertified and a lockout began shortly thereafter, Vrabel was among several players who continued to ratchet up the rhetoric publicly, targeting the owners group's motives and means in the NFL's labor stalemate.

Pete Kendall, the NFLPA's permanent player representative, told reporters labor negotiations broke down last week because the owners' last proposal would have made salaries a fixed cost and eliminated the players' chance to share in higher-than-projected revenue growth.

"That's a fundamental change as to the way the business has been done with the players -- player percentage always has been tied to revenues," said Kendall, a former 13-year offensive lineman who retired after the 2008 season.

Colts center and player representative Jeff Saturday, speaking to ESPN's Smith along with Vrabel, Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Broncos safety and player rep Brian Dawkins and Ravens player representative Domonique Foxworth, bashed a letter Goodell sent to all NFL players Thursday in which he detailed the owners' version of events that led to last Friday's lockout.

"It's his attempt to, you know, to divide us as a group of men," Saturday said. "You know, anytime you send something out like that after we've been in negotiations for two-years plus, you know, 15-day extension -- all the things we've been through -- you know it's just one of those tactics different people use during the negotiations."

Mediation cut off last Friday, and the union dissolved itself, allowing players to file suit in federal court. Hours later, when the old collective bargaining agreement expired, owners locked out the players.

"The reality is we've been communicating to our men throughout this whole process about what the offers really are, what the numbers really are, things that we have tried to agree upon that have not been agreed upon and as a group of men we knew it wasn't a deal that our membership would accept," Saturday said.

In a speech Friday to players at the NFLPA's annual meeting, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said he won't be paid during the work stoppage -- the league's first since 1987. Goodell and Pash, the league's lead labor negotiator, already said they would reduce their salaries to a dollar each.

"Our players are locked out," Smith said during a brief session with reporters. "The league made a unilaterial decision to punish the people who made this game great."

Smith said he does not consider Goodell's letter an attempt to engage in good-faith negotiations. The league, he said, could attempt to restart talks by writing, instead, to lawyers representing the players now that the union has dissolved.

"Let's not kid ourselves. Jeff Pash ... knows that class counsel can always engage in discussions with counsel for the National Football League to have discussions relating to a settlement," Smith said. "He knows what letter should have been sent."

Kendall described the league's 11th-hour offer as "kind of the old switcheroo," saying that throughout negotiations the players' chance to share in increased revenues had been a key component of how to divide the NFL's yearly take of more than $9 billion.

Kendall said the discussions until talks stopped last Friday -- the 16th day of federal mediation -- always revolved around the premise that if the rise in league revenues exceeded a certain percentage each year, players would get a cut.

"The most important thing is getting back to playing football again," Brees said. "And that's why we're enjoining a lockout. Like all these guys have said, we, our intention was never to get locked out, we wanted to get a fair deal done. We always had guys there to do that."

Brees addressed the perceived Catch-22 surrounding rookie prospects' decision over whether to attend next month's draft, set for April 28-30.

"Each rookie has -- if they've been invited to New York -- they absolutely have the option of going to New York," Brees said in the interview with ESPN. "I think to our point it was -- how do you feel about walking across the stage and shaking the hand of the commissioner who just locked you out? And as great an experience as it is to get drafted, which it absolutely is, I think the even greater experience is to play your first game, and to have to opportunity to win a championship and right now that's being threatened with this lockout."

While the addition of an immediate 18-game schedule was tabled in the negotiations early last week, the possibility for instituting it in future seasons -- with the players' approval -- was retained.

"Eighteen games does nothing for our health and safety," said Foxworth, the former defensive back and Ravens player rep who retired in 2009. "We're not looking to make any financial gains, we're looking to protect former players and make protections and safety improvements for current players."

But the players told ESPN's Smith it wasn't a deal-breaker.

"No. We'll negotiate on the economics of football," Vrabel said. "We're not negotiating on health and safety. And as far as we're concerned 18 games lies right in the way of our players health and safety."

Pash told the AP this week that the owners' final proposal was for a 10-year CBA. Kendall confirmed that.

"A 10-year, fair deal might be something worth considering," Kendall said. "A 10-year deal where the players don't participate in any of the upside is not a deal that I think is ... something that the players should have taken."

An April 6 hearing date is set for U.S. District Court in Minnesota for a ruling on the players' request for an injunction that would end the lockout.

But a settlement between the owners and players before the hearing is unlikely, an NFLPA source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter earlier this week. The source said a ruling on the players' injunction request was expected within a week of the hearing.

"We're confident that this injunction is gonna be granted," Foxworth said. "And I think the message to the fans is -- all the fans should just unite and root for this at this point. You don't have a team to root for at this point, you wanna root for your team when the season comes, you need to be outside the courthouse with your face painted cheering for the judge to grant this injunction. Because I think simply put if we are granted this injunction there will be football."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=6232940

Discipline of Steel
03-18-2011, 08:30 PM
Thats refreshing! None of the players like Goodell!!! He has got to be on his way out!!!!!!

hawaiiansteel
03-18-2011, 10:01 PM
Thats refreshing! None of the players like Goodell!!! He has got to be on his way out!!!!!!


unfortunately, it looks like one of the NFL players does like him -


At least one player appreciated Roger Goodell’s email

Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on March 18, 2011

http://nbcprofootballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/m-owens.jpg?w=232

Commissioner Roger Goodell’s email to players on Thursday has seemingly only served to inflame the majority of its recipients.

Jaguars fullback Montell Owens had a different take on it. He told Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union that he thought Goodell’s letter was “heartfelt.”

“I read through it and I understand we’re all trying to come to some agreement,” Owens said. “I do know the negotiating table is where this is going to get resolved. I really commend him on that and his efforts of really wanting to get things done.”

Wow, that was a nice change of pace. It’s jarring at this point to hear either side of this argument actually say something giving the other side a sliver of credit. It’s almost like Owens realizes it is necessary for both sides to have folks who are willing to bridge the labor divide.

Goodell’s letter was mostly scorned, but the core message in it is hard to argue: Let’s get back to the negotiating table.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... lls-email/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/03/18/at-least-one-player-appreciated-roger-goodells-email/)