View Full Version : New target date for labor deal

07-01-2011, 03:21 PM
There had been widespread optimism in recent days that a deal in principle between the owners and players could be reached by this weekend. That would have allowed the lawyers for both sides about two weeks to write the new agreement and go over it with a fine-tooth comb.

It appears by all accounts that won't happen now. Judy Battista of the New York Times reported this morning that the new target date to have a deal in principle "the week of July 10." Presumably, that still would give the lawyers enough time to do their work and still save the preseason.

Remember, the preseason is vital to the owners because of the revenue generated from the two home preseason games. Ticket prices, parking and concessions are priced the same during the preseason and regular season, much to the disgust of the paying customers.

Michael Silver from Yahoo also reported that the negotiations stalled this week in Minnesota.

The Battista's story is below but first a few other thoughts.

*One leftover I forgot to mention after speaking with Joe Linta, the agent for Willie Colon, earlier this week. He was the first agent I spoke with who was not convinced that free agency would be rolled back from six years to four. "I'll believe it when I see it."

True enough, two days after Linta's skepticism, word has leaked out that the owners are trying to bait and switch the players with proposals that had previously been agreed upon in "verbal handshakes."

*If you missed it, two of the four professional sports leagues in this country are now locking out players. The NBA locked out its players at 12:01 this morning. When I'm not helping out with the Steelers coverage when Ed and Gerry take some time off this summer, my other beat is college basketball.

After talking to people in college basketball and the NBA, the general consensus is that the NBA is waiting to see what happens with the NFL before they make any big moves in negotiations. This is an important time for professional sports, and everyone is watching the outcome of the NFL labor deal.

Here is the New York Times story:

The N.F.L. had hoped to have at least an agreement in principle in place around the Fourth of July, but three people who have been briefed on the negotiations said that although a resolution remained possible within the next 10 days, it was more likely that negotiations would drag on past that time, with a better chance for a settlement coming the week of July 10.

One person said that little progress on the critical issues that divide the sides had been made earlier this week, when lawyers and staff members negotiated without owners and players in attendance, and another said he still believed it was possible that games would be missed and that it would require a breakthrough for a deal to be completed in the next couple of weeks.

Owners and players are expected to continue talking Friday in Minneapolis.

Recent joint appearances by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the chief of the decertified players union, DeMaurice Smith — including one Wednesday in which both men spoke to rookie players in Florida — fueled speculation that a deal was imminent. Despite the apparent thaw in the personal relationship between the two men, the sides continue to spar over such fundamental issues as the formation of a rookie wage system and how to divide revenue.

One person who has been briefed on the status of talks said that the sides were close enough to complete a deal within 72 hours with intense effort. But dynamics among the parties, the person said, could stall a deal. The league is concerned that some lawyers and agents on the players' side will prefer to wait, perhaps for a court decision that could sway negotiating leverage, before reaching an agreement.

And players are concerned that owners want to change the terms on issues that they believed had already been agreed upon, including the revenue split that had appeared to be nearly settled last week, with players receiving slightly less than 50 percent.

A long delay in completing a deal could affect the start of the preseason. The N.F.L. had hoped to conduct a condensed free-agency period — perhaps one starting in mid-July — before teams began reporting to training camps at the end of the month. Preseason games begin Aug. 7 with the Hall of Fame Game, and the N.F.L. estimates that $200 million in revenue would be lost for each week of the preseason that would be missed.

Lost revenue will probably make a deal more difficult to complete because while players do not receive game checks during the preseason, revenue from the preseason — which includes ticket sales and television money — goes into the pool from which the salary cap is determined.

Free agency and training camps would not begin until a deal was completed, which would almost certainly include the resolution of the players' antitrust lawsuit and probably the reconstitution of the players union. That process could take at least a week after an agreement in principle is reached, giving the two sides no more than another two or three weeks to complete a deal before training camps could be disrupted.

Hanging over the negotiations is the possibility of a ruling by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on the league's request to have the injunction that would end the lockout overturned. That decision could come at any time, although it is likely the three-judge panel will wait to see if a settlement can be reached. The sides have not grappled with benefits for retired players.

Representatives for retired players who joined the antitrust lawsuit want a voice in determining what those benefits would be.

Remarks by the judges after oral arguments on June 3, which suggested that neither side would be entirely pleased with the outcome of the league's appeal, have spurred this round of negotiations, which began in the days before the June 3 court appearance.

Still, for all the concern about prospects for a deal — Fox Sports reported Wednesday night that Smith told elite players on a conference call that a deal was not close — Goodell and Smith said this week that starting the season on time remained their priority.

http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/inde ... labor-deal (http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/pro-sports/steelers/110535-new-target-date-for-labor-deal)

07-02-2011, 02:29 PM
Christian Ponder: “Guys are hurting for money right now”

Posted by Michael David Smith on July 2, 2011

Even if there weren’t a lockout, most NFL rookies wouldn’t have signed their contracts yet. So the lockout hasn’t really had that big a financial impact on the players who were drafted this year.

But that doesn’t mean rookies aren’t starting to get concerned.

Vikings first-round quarterback Christian Ponder said after talking to some of his fellow rookies at this week’s NFLPA* symposium that financial concerns were a hot topic of conversation.

“Guys are hurting for money right now,” Ponder said. “It’s a crazy time, especially with the uncertainty of when we’re going to start and get some money in our pocket.”

Ponder was one of several NFL rookies who talked to the Associated Press about their offseason activities and who said they’re eager to get to work and start getting paid. Bills second-round pick Aaron Williams, a cornerback from Texas, has been working on a ranch, bailing hay and fixing barbed-wire fences.

“Acres and acres of land; you’re always moving,” Williams said. “But it’s better than sitting on your butt playing Xbox.”

Lions receiver Titus Young is living with his parents and says his mom wants him home and his dad wants him gone.

“My mom is rooting for the lockout to continue,” Young said. “But my dad is saying, ‘Get out of the house, son.’ He’s looking up the latest on the lockout every day and telling me updates.”

We hope good news is coming soon, Mr. Young.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... right-now/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/07/02/christian-ponder-guys-are-hurting-for-money-right-now/)

07-02-2011, 02:47 PM
In normal years without a lockout, many rookies don't sign their deals until right before training camp starts. We aren't even to that point yet.

07-03-2011, 09:13 PM
In normal years without a lockout, many rookies don't sign their deals until right before training camp starts. We aren't even to that point yet.

But I bet rookies had no problem getting advances from their agents because they knew when players were getting their money.