Blog Entry

De Smith: New deal would've been worst ever

Posted on: March 17, 2011 6:33 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 6:38 pm
D. Smith Posted by Josh Katzowitz

There’s been so much information (perhaps “misinformation” is a better word) thrown into the ethos by the NFL players and the owners that it’s hard to know how close they were to a new deal and who’s to blame that it didn’t happen.

The owners say the players walked away from the negotiating table. The players say they were insulted by what the owners had offered. Neither side has trust for their counterparts.

We’ve heard the inside scoop from people apparently inside the negotiating room, we’ve heard from the players themselves, and (in the form of letters and statements released by the teams) we’ve heard from the owners.

Now, we hear from NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, who told WFAN today (via Pro Football Talk) that if the trade association had accepted the owners’ offer, the deal would have gone down in history. And not in a good way.

“The NFL publicly projected by 2027, they want to have revenue numbers of approximately $25 billion,” Smith told the radio station.  “If we would have taken the worst deal in the history of sports, by the time they are making $25 billion off the backs, fingers, and legs of our players, our share of all revenue would be somewhere around 25 percent.

“My simple question to you as a fan of this sport for a long time: Does that sound fair?”

Instead what Smith wants is a 50-50 split. That wouldn’t be possible if the players went along with what the owners offered (apparently).

Even so, he said the NFLPA offered a deal in which the players gave up more money than they would have wanted.

Said Smith: “I gave them two offers, where from an economic standpoint, someone could say the players of the NFL are going backwards.  And they said no.”

NFL Labor
Of course, it’s hard to tell if that’s true, and naturally, the NFL disputes that thought.

Enter this statement from Jeff Pash, an NFL executive vice president, made to NFL Sirius radio (via :

“I think that is quite a surprising statement,” Pash said. “The deal we had on the table, which we did not put out there as a take it or leave it and didn’t set a deadline saying if you don’t accept it by this time we are going to lock you out, was meant to keep the negotiations going and keep the process going.  It would have paid the players over the next four years, 2011-2014, somewhere between $19 and 20 billion.  It would have increased pay from 2011-2014 by $640 million on a league-wide basis, $20 million per club.  It would have reduced the amount of work that is required in the off-season.

“We got rid of five weeks of the offseason program. We cut OTAs from 14 to 10 days.  We made changes in the preseason.  We put limits on full-padded practices in the regular season.  We increased days off.  We increased retirement benefits so that more than 2,000 retired players would have gotten almost a 60 percent increase in their pension benefit. We offered players the opportunity to have lifetime coverage in our medical plan.  We offered for the first time to revise our disciplinary system so that they get a third-party neutral arbitrator on all the drug and steroids cases.  We offered improvements in the disability plan, the 88 Plan, the post-career benefits, not just for medical but for post-career education and career transition programs.  There was a lot on the table that would have been significant improvements. To say it was the worst deal in the history of sports suggests a lack of familiarity with a number of professional sports deals, starting perhaps with the hockey deal in 2005 where players lost an entire season of pay and then went back to work with a 25 percent pay cut.”

Still, Pash doesn’t say what percentage the players would have received if they had taken the deal. He doesn't say what the NFL's revenue projections are. Hell, Pash doesn't even say that it was a good deal.

And so, the fans remain in the middle of what has turned into a nice, little PR battle. But again, the fans don’t care about the league releasing statements and Smith bringing heat on a radio show. They want a solution.

And they’re not getting one.

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Category: NFL

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:15 pm

De Smith: New deal would've been worst ever

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:05 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 1:41 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 2:10 pm

De Smith: New deal would've been worst ever

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Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: March 25, 2011 11:07 am

De Smith: New deal would've been worst ever

The players and De Smith are crazy to think they deserve a 50/50 split. I have said before and will say again, they are employees, not co-owners of the teams. They make a lot of money and if they were smart with the money, it would be enough. The players made a mistake by bringing in a hard-headed, unworkable putz like Smith to negotiate on their behalf. Now their contracts are going to get worse as the owners now have the upper hand. Even if the courts rule in favor of the players, the owners have the upper hand.

Remember it was the players whining about the last CBA and how they wanted and "needed" more. Now they are going to have to live under the same CBA until a new one gets resolved. The owners are more than happy with that. They get to keep their players longer and pay them however much they want. Then when it comes time for an actual CBA to finally be completed (after more negotiations) the owners can offer whatever they want and tell the players to take it or leave it. Problem is the NFLPA can no longer negotiate because they aren't a union any more and there is no more collective bargaining. Owners can now negotiate with a player on a case by case basis. The poor become poorer while the rich entitled athletes become richer and richer. This will create a rift amongst the players and more and more problems will arise. Winner: owners.

It was the players that stopped the negotiation process. They are the ones that refused to discuss a new offer and extend negotiations. The owners always had the lockout in their back pocket but they were not using it until the players walked away. The players screwed this whole thing up and the longer this drags on more and more players will defect from the group. Mostly because most of them can't afford to not play. The ones out in front of this whole thing for the players are the ones making the most money and can withstand the lack of a paycheck. Those that can't afford it are going to quickly start backing down and the unity is gone. Winner: owners.

Complain all you want about the owners, but they are the owners and control how much money they have to give to their employees. If the players don't want to play, then keep up the empty rhetoric and fail to get a deal done, and find other careers. The owners were smart enough to negotiate TV money during a lockout because they knew with De Smith, the players wouldn't negotiate in good faith and they still would have bills to pay. Is it lockout insurance? Absolutely. The players plan all along was to decertify because they weren't going to budge. Well, here we are, without the NFL for the time being because of a calculated, self-serving lack of good-faith negotiating by the one side...the players.

Since: Mar 21, 2009
Posted on: March 24, 2011 11:53 pm

De Smith: New deal would've been worst ever

ftballcoach, and I am assuming that is why you are and not some name you made up to sound like you are an expert,  I agree with your points except, they short careers they make more than most of use would make in 4 or more liftetimes.  They are conpensated extremely well for the risk they are taking.

Get a guy like Dez Bryant behaving as he did at the local Dallas mall and all he does is reinforce the spoiled feeling we have.  BTW here are some of the recommendations sent to players during a strike.  You tell me if they sound spoiled?

LOWER the size of your posse as you attend events

Do not buy as many cars and boats during this time

Limit your jewelry purchases

they make more than enough money to live well now, put money aside to retire, great medical care totally paid for,   Their salaries allow them to have a wonderful life and IFFFFFF they got an education  another income awaits.  DO NOT FORGET this was not meant to be their only job forver.  That is why they went to COLLEGE.  Sorry, my sympathy level is just not high for anyone.  I like humble and greatful and arrogant and greedy  --- which goes to both sides really. 

Since: Mar 21, 2009
Posted on: March 24, 2011 10:40 pm

De Smith: New deal would've been worst ever

the fact he says the new deal would have been the worse ever means this guy has lost me.  I am for the owners now.  No olive branch  no nothing. 

You want to see what getting the shaft is, move to Wisconsin and become a civil servant.

Do the players make a good living wage?   YES

Do they make enought to retire on if they invest wisely?  YES

Do they get good health care benefits and perks?   YES

I do not see much of a problem here  it seems to me it is all about sticking it to the owners and not looking at the big picture.  I know when you look at the Cowboys owner and the Panthers owner you want to stick it to them but my question is, if the league loses money who takes the hit?   I hope both sides take a  huge financial hit next couple of years and humble some of these people so they can see how fortunate they are.

Since: Jun 20, 2009
Posted on: March 18, 2011 12:07 pm

De Smith: New deal would've been worst ever

You're retarded.  The NFL presented the last agreement as a stopgap, knowing there was no way it could continue beyond the deadline.  The last CBA was only meant to hold until they agreed on a fairer one.

Since: Apr 11, 2008
Posted on: March 18, 2011 12:07 pm

De Smith: New deal would've been worst ever

skreffty, your post is very sound.  It seems that those fans who complain of "greedy players" are simply upset that the players have the temerity to challenge the owners on their claim of declining profitability.  The real dynamic here is that a few hawkish owners, who never really liked the relationship that Taglibue and Gene Upshaw had, saw an opportunity to level (in their minds) the playing field in the relationship between the NFLPA and the league.  Those owners could not stomach a 60-40 split in favor of the players.  After all, from the owners' point of view, it is they who take all the economic risks to assure that the league prospers. 

The problem is that professional football is a very dangerous endeavor.  Every time those players step on the field, they put their health and well-being on the line in order to create a product that is entertaining to the public.  We all know the statistic that the average N.F.L. career is less than four years.  Sure these guys make more money in a few years than many of us will make it a lifetime, but I do not begrudge them that; if I had the talent to play professionally, I most certainly would attempt to play the game for as long as I possibly could and for as much money as I could possibly make.  Moreover, the argument seen on these boards about what other industry would open its books, is a red-herring.  There is NO other industry similar to the N.F.L.  The last industry that was similar died with the Roman Republic ages ago.  This battle does boil down to one common denominator: power.  Do employees, no matter how wealthy and successful, have the right to challenge their work conditions and attempt to make those work conditions better?  Unless something very evil has happened in this country, the ONLY answer has to be, yes.   

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: March 18, 2011 11:00 am

De Smith: New deal would've been worst ever

Amazing how clueless many of these posters are.  Try to keep in mind when calling folks spoiled and greedy that the owners LOCKED OUT THE PLAYERS, not that the players struck.  It is the owners who are the greedy babies by rejecting the most successful CBA agreement the league has ever had, in fact a CBA that the league itself presented and signed.  How hypocritical for these billionaires by inheritance to speak of honor and integrity of the game when the negotiated TWO YEARS ago a TV contract to pay the owners only during a work stoppage. Talk about your bad faith. As of course the league is set up to negotiate on behalf of both owners and players, such a deal, besides being sleezt and unethical, is illegal and in breech of contract.  When teh courts get done with all the back and forth, the league is going to be fined over and over again for its illegal conduct.  This agreement is in exchange for a draft and allowing the league to own the player's likeness for marketing purposes.  I just don't get why so many want to blame the players for wanting to leave well enough alone.

It is very easy really.  Those who believe in the rule of law and the integrity of contracts and good faith will side with the players.  Those with some sort of hysterical residual political motivation from heated debates in Wisconsin might confuse the issues as the same, but as it couldn't be farther from the case it would a mistake to make such poor comparisons.  This has nothing to do with the greed of the players (yes they are greedy but more relevant legally in the right), and everything to do with the inability of the league and the owners to follow basic contract law.

So again, if one likes contracts, rule of law, and good faith one sides with the players.  If one likes underhanded dealings, illegal conduct, aggrevious contract breeches, liars, and hates the rule of law, then on sides with the owners.  The facts say there is no other way. 

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