Blog Entry

Roger Goodell's letter to the players

Posted on: March 17, 2011 8:13 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2011 8:29 pm
Posted by Eye of Football Staff

The NFL apparently has decided its tired of dealing with the leadership of the NFLPA. Now, commissioner Roger Goodell is going directly to the players.

The NFL office sent out e-mails to the players and the player-agents today, suggesting the players get back to the negotiating table so the two sides can hammer out a deal. Also included was the owners’ last offer before the union decertified.

Here’s the text of the letter, obtained by's own Mike Freeman:

Dear NFL player,

As you know, negotiations between the NFL Players Association and the clubs have not led to an agreement. Last Friday, the NFLPA Walked out of the federal mediator’s offices in Washington, told us that it had abandoned its right to represent you as a union, and filed a lawsuit. Some hours later, the clubs instituted a lockout.

The clubs believe that there is only one Way to resolve our differences, and that is through good faith collective bargaining in an atmosphere of mutual respect and open communication. We have said publicly, told the federal mediator, and say to you that We are prepared to resume those negotiations at any time.

We want you to understand the offer that we made to the NF LPA. The proposal was made to avoid a work stoppage. Each passing day puts our game and our shared economics further at risk. 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. Here are the key elements of the proposal:
  • A salary cap for 2011 that would avoid a negative financial impact on veteran players. We offered to meet the Union at the mid-point between our previous offer and the Union’s demand. Under our offer, 2011 salary and benefits would have been set at $141 million per club, and projected cash spending would have been as high or higher than in either 2009 or 2010. By 2014, salary and benefits would have been set at $161 million per club. In other Words, player compensation would increase by as much as $20 million per club by 2014.
  • Free agency for players with four or more accrued seasons and reduced draft choice compensation for restricted free agents.
  • Extensive changes in off-season work requirements that would promote player health and safety, encourage players to continue their education, and promote second career opportunities. The off-season program would be reduced by five weeks, OTAs would be reduced from 14, to helmets would be prohibited for the first five weeks of workouts, and rules prohibiting “live” on-field contact would be strictly enforced.
  • Changes in preseason and regular season practices and schedules that would reduce the number of padded practices, reduce the amount of contact, and increase the number of days off for you and other players.
  • Commit to retain the current 16-game regular season format for at least the next two seasons, and further commit not to change to an 18-game regular season without the Union’s agreement.
  • Expand injury guarantees for players. The clubs offered to guarantee up to $1 million of a second year of your contract if you are injured and cannot retum to play.
  • For the first time, players and families would be able to purchase continuing coverage in the player medical plan after retirement for life, and could use their health savings account benefit to do so.
  • Enhanced retirement benefits for pre-1993 players. More than 2,000 fonner players would have received an immediate increase in their pensions averaging nearly 60 percent, funded entirely by the owners.
  • A new entry-level compensation system that would make more than $300 million per draft class available for veterans’ pay and player benefits. The new system would preserve individual negotiations not a wage scale - and would allow players drafted in rounds 2 through 7 to earn as much or more than they earn today.
  • Significant changes in disciplinary procedures, including a jointly-appointed neutral arbitrator to hear all drug and steroid appeals.
Working together, players and clubs have made the game great. Our fans want us to find common ground, settle our differences, and come to a fair agreement. I have met with many of you since becoming Commissioner. You know of my respect and admiration for you as men and as players. We need to come together, and soon.

In that spirit, we are prepared to negotiate a full agreement that would incorporate these features and other progressive changes that would benefit players, clubs, and fans. Only through collective bargaining will We reach that kind of agreement. Our goal is to make our league even better than it is today, with the benelits shared by all of us.

I hope you will encourage your Union to return to the bargaining table and conclude a new collective bargaining agreement.


Since: Jan 18, 2011
Posted on: March 18, 2011 11:21 am

Roger Goodell's letter to the players

Sounds fair to me.

Since: Mar 18, 2011
Posted on: March 18, 2011 10:52 am

Roger Goodell's letter to the players

I'm not necessarily suggesting the union shouldn't get more information.  Your arguement that every publicly owned companies open their books just is irrelevant.  It is the law.  There is no choice.  Some private companies may, but the vast majority do not.  The NFL owners have no obligation to do it.  Asking for the billiion dollars is called negotiating.  They provided some numbers to back it up, but wasn't sufficient to the union.  I'm sure the owners are making out, which is why they don't really want to open their books.  The players seem to want a 50-50 split.  Business doesn't work that way.  Owners make more than the rest of us because of the investment they have made.  It's the same thing in Hollywood.  The stars make a ton.  Guess what though.  When a movie makes $2 billion like Avatar, it's not the actors/actresses that make out generally even though "they made the movie".  The owners/studios are the ones who reap the benefits.

Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: March 18, 2011 10:38 am

Roger Goodell's letter to the players

I don't think the people railing about "seeing the books" were making that distinction. True, a private firm is not obligated to open their books, but by the same token, nothing stops a private company from opening their books as well. Also, the crux of the owners arguement is that the players need to take a $1 billion dollar haircut because revenues are declining. If that is the case, why the reluctance to open the books? If true, one would think they would be rushing to open the books to prove their case.

Since: Mar 18, 2011
Posted on: March 18, 2011 10:25 am

Roger Goodell's letter to the players

The point is that this is publicly many private companies let their employee's see the books?

Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: March 18, 2011 10:15 am

Roger Goodell's letter to the players

Goodell is the worst commisioner in sports history. He is a piece of cardboard the owners put in front of the cameras to spout their B.S. This letter doesn't address the $1billion haircut the owners are asking the players to take!!??  Also, for everyone who says, "What other business would let the employees see the books?". How about EVERY SINGLE PUBLICLY HELD COMPANY in the United States.......IBM, Wal-Mart, Exxon, and the list goes on. Go onto Google and type in "10k Annual Report"! Everyone, employees, the public, ANYONE gets to see their audited books.

Since: Apr 1, 2007
Posted on: March 18, 2011 10:11 am

Roger Goodell's letter to the players

The thing that bothers me is how all we're hearing from players and the (former) NFLPA is how the owners are lying, slave-driving money grubbers, and that this is the players' league, not the owners'.

What we haven't heard from the players or (former) NFLPA--at least I haven't seen it anywhere--is what demands the players backed off of during negotiations to help get this deal done.

The NFLPA walked out of negotiations and decertified, and minutes later players filed a lawsuit against the NFL.  The owners said they were close in negotiations before this all went to hell in a hand basket, while the players say the two sides weren't even close to being close.

Based on what some--not all--players have said since negotiations broke down, and based on the players and their reps actions, I can't help but think they've over played their hand and think it should be their way or the highway.  Think what you want about the owners, but they DO know the players are their product, and no owner worth his salt in business would mistreat their product and expect to make money.  As for the players, well, I'm hearing a different tune, like they don't need the owners, or at the very least that the owners have little to do with the success and popularity of the sport.  That's just ridiculous!

I read a report from 2009 that said 78% of all NFL players are bankrupt or under financial stress TWO YEARS after they retire.  And that's not necessarily because of over spending, though that's part of it, but because of bad business investments.

And for those that want to cite the misleading 3.4 year career average of NFL players, just keep in mind that the vast majority, if not all of those players hauled in $1 million or more during those three years...a financial feat that would take Joe Blow Average at $40K a year to make in 25 years.

The NFL needs competent owners and players, and for either side to suggest one is more valuable than the other is absurd.  Let's face it, if the owners fired all current players and re-stocked their teams with a 53-man roster of mostly rookies, put them out there in Week-1 of the 2011 season...we'd watch.  We probably wouldn't like it, but we'd watch anyway.

I'm not against the players making good money to do what they do, but based on recent comments made by some of them, I'm not for them either, not even with one foot in the door.  They chose to go into the NFL, they signed the contracts offered, and after making millions they want to complain about working conditions and say they're not getting enough?

The players need to stop talking to the media and get back to the negotiating table and get this done, end of story.  The owners are waiting for them, so what's the hold up?


Since: Nov 20, 2006
Posted on: March 18, 2011 10:11 am

Roger Goodell's letter to the players

lock them out and shut it down......the players will learn what it's like to go out and actually earn money; instead of getting a kings ransom for a game...
comments such as these anger me.... They earn their money. rigorous training health risk from hard ontact at high speeds. A great deal of these guys feel 50 by the age of 35 due to the wear and tear on their body.  They do it all for you entertainment.  Who are you to say that your Job is more of a Job than yours.  Everything done in this world in regards to work is simply done to make money.  The more mney your product makes the more the workers will be paid. Sports Entertainment rakes in a crap load of cash so naturally their workers(the athletes) will be payed alot of money based on on the size of the pie(revenue)

Since: Aug 1, 2007
Posted on: March 18, 2011 9:59 am

Roger Goodell's letter to the players

This would never have happenned if Gene Upshaw were still alive.

Since: Aug 1, 2007
Posted on: March 18, 2011 9:45 am

Roger Goodell's letter to the players

This would never have happenned if Gene Upshaw was stilled in charge of the NFLPA.

Since: Apr 17, 2007
Posted on: March 18, 2011 9:42 am

Roger Goodell's letter to the players

this is all about greed,same thing thats wrong with our counrty everybody just wants for themselves.the only people that will suffer is us the true fans because the truth is players come and go all we want is our team to win,yes we have favorite players but like i said its our teams because if it wasnt for us there wouldnt be football or all that money.i mean really how much money is enough,billions of dollars maybe trillions.what about the fans who spend thier hard earned money to see these games the prices arent for the ave. go to the superbowl it would cost about $10,000 and thats for bad seats.hears a thought shut the hell up make a deal and play football and with the extra money give it back to the fan by making it a little cheaper for all us to enjoy football because without fans you all would be doing somethingesle and most likely not making the money you make now

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