Tag:Drew Brees
Posted on: March 14, 2011 5:02 pm

Other important points from NFLPA conference call

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We've already discussed the main points from the 50-minute teleconference held this afternoon by the NFL players, but there were a few interesting sidebars that need to be addressed.

Let’s go point-by-point:

-Former union president Kevin Mawae on the possibilities of an 18-game schedule.

“Eighteen games is not going to happen through the NFL Players Association. We can’t justify it for the players’ health and safety. The 18-game schedule was taken off the table as soon as they proposed it. It never will be.”

NFL Labor
-Saints QB Drew Brees on why he’s one of the lead plaintiffs in the Brady v NFL case.

“Because it’s important to me. By doing that, I represent not only the 1,900 players in the league now, but the guys who played before us, whose shoulders we stand on. They’re the ones who created what we have. And we’re representing the guys who will come after us. I feel very strongly about our case and very strongly about the law.”

-Brees on Judge David Doty – seen widely by the owners as pro-NFL players – not presiding over the April 6 preliminary injunction hearing.

“To us, that’s not an issue. That was something the owners seemed very focused on. For us, it’s about the facts and the law. We believe those are on our side. We’re not concerned about that.”

-Colts C Jeff Saturday on the reports that he had dinner with commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday and what that was about.

“I did not meet Roger after Friday’s negotiations. I met him Thursday after our negotiations. It wasn’t for dinner. It was just a meeting later in the evening after we finished our work. The entire meeting was about trying to get an agreement in place. Everybody from DeMaurice (Smith) and everybody I ate dinner with, including some of the heads of the entire NFL Players Association, knew what I was doing. There was nothing secretive about what I did.”

-CBSSports.com's own Mike Freeman has confirmed today that the NFLPA is putting a plan into place that would force the players to boycott the upcoming NFL draft. The NFL still will invite the top 15 or 20 college players who are expected to be drafted early, and for now, it’s unclear whether those players will attend (though Freeman points out that the momentum of the boycott is building).

Ex-NFLPA spokesman George Atallah would not comment on the report.

“We’re here focusing on the players being locked out,” Atallah said.

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Posted on: March 14, 2011 4:10 pm

NFL players repeat calls for owners to open books

K. Mawae Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Since the NFL has released a ton of statements this past weekend – in effect, saying the players walked away from the negotiating table and that the decertification of the NFLPA was a sham – the players took a shot at fighting back at the owners this afternoon through the media.

And, with Saints QB Drew Brees, Colts C Jeff Saturday and former union president Kevin Mawae on a national teleconference call, the tone the players presented was defiant – not to mention completely pissed off.

Here’s what it boils down to for the players: the owners refuse to show them their audited financials. Therefore, they will not make a deal on giving back money, in particular the additional $1 billion slice off the top of the league’s revenues that the owners have requested. At this point, with an April 6 preliminary injunction hearing set in front of Judge Susan Nelson, don’t expect the players and the owners to negotiate any further.

This one, it’s looking like, will be decided by the courts.

Unless the owners open their books.

“We have access to those revenue numbers,” Brees said. “We don’t have access to the cost numbers. As we watch the NFL grow and grow and grow – it grew 7.5 percent last year in one of the worst economies in our history – for the owners to come to us and say, ‘Costs are going up faster than revenues,’ a very reasonable and logical businessman would say, ‘Let’s see those numbers and try to make it work.’ Then, that person says, ‘No, you’ll have to take our word for it.’ That doesn’t work. It’s impossible to negotiate a fair deal when you don’t have the numbers from the other side.”

This essentially was the theme of the 50-minute conference call. No open books, no negotiated deals (seemingly every answer given by the players somehow worked toward that thought). That, and it was clear that the players don’t trust the other side.

“We have asked ever since May 8, 2009, for them to turn over their audited financials,” said Mawae, who also said the players were willing to take a $1 billion equity stake in favor of cost credits but were turned down by the owners. “It’s continued to be asked every time they’ve asked for a giveback. We want justification.

“Any time somebody says, ‘Give me $1 billion and we’ll pay you back,’ I’ll want to see your numbers. They said no.”

The players on the call – and spokesman George Atallah – seemed intent on painting the owners as unwilling to negotiate, and though it seemed in the early part of last week that a deal potentially could get done, Atallah said, “The perception is that we were really, really close. The reality is, we really, really weren't."

NFL Labor
That said, the negotiations the past two weeks in Washington weren’t a total failure.

“There were a number of areas – the smaller areas that we started with – where we definitely made traction,” Saturday said. “That was because of the mediation process – to start on details that were pretty close anyway to get the communication going. It was effective. We did move in a lot of areas.”

Just not in the key areas, of course.

“Any communication, any realistic proposal or if they’d like to provide those ten years of audited financials to a third party so we could reach a deal, I’m sure we’d be open to that,” Brees said. “We’re very much in the process that we’ve been forced into; the decertification and the injunction so we can play football next year.

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:04 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 7:23 pm

Nine players file lawsuit against league

Posted by Andy Benoit
D. Brees (US Presswire)
The NFLPA decertification has taken place, and the aftermath is already underway. 

Superstars Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees are among nine plaintiffs who have filed antitrust claims against the NFL in the 8th Circuit Court. The other plaintiffs are Giants DE Osi Umenyiora, Chargers WR Vincent Jackson, Pariots G Logan Mankins, Chiefs LB Mike Vrabel, Vikings LB Ben Leber and Vikings DE Brian Robison. Also, among the players is Texas A & M first-round rookie prospect Von Miller, who is representing the rookies. (Nice -- and gutsy -- way to introduce yourself to the league.)

The players allege that the NFL conspired to deny the players' ability to market their services. This has been the players' silver bullet all along. After the American Needle vs. NFL case in May determined that the NFL consists of 32 separate entities, the league became vulnerable to antitrust laws. Separate entities cannot bind together to prevent players from working.

Expect the league to file a counter suit claiming that the NFLPA’s decertification is a sham. Per the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFLPA could only sue the league after decertifying.

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 11:49 am

Labor 'resolution' coming in an 'hour or two'?

Posted by Will Brinson

It's the final day of mediation on the current CBA deadline and things don't look good for the immediate future of the NFL.

There was reasonable cause for optimism up to Thursday afternoon that a deal could get done, but then yesterday evening, things took a turn for the worst and various peers from the two sides began sniping at each other in the media.

Now it appears as if there could be a resolution by lunchtime, provided the words from Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner, can be taken at face value.

"Hopefully we'll have something for you in an hour or two," Jones said Friday morning while entering the Federal Mediation and Counseling Services building.

Resolution, there, doesn't necessarily mean anything good. Just that mediation might be over without an extension and without a new collective bargaining agreement, which means we're headed for the nuclear option.

That is to say, the players are going to demand some additional financial transparency from the owners in order to agree to an additional mediation, the owners will refuse, and the players will go about decertifying and filing an antitrust lawsuit.

Proof of this likelihood came via some strong tweet-language from Drew Brees, Saints quarterback and one of the big players in the negotiations.

"To our fans - I give you my word that we as players are doing everything we can to negotiate with the NFL towards a fair deal," Brees tweeted. "The NFL brought this fight to us - they want $1 billion back, we just want financial information to back up that request.

"They refuse to give that information to us. They think we should just trust them. Would you? We have a responsibility to our players - past, present, and future, to advance this league forward, not take 3 steps back."

Whether or not Brees' words are a precursor to a legal nightmare we won't know for a few hours. But regardless, it's the worst possible solution for everyone involved. However, if the owners are indeed unwilling to share their financial documents, there's nothing to do but brace and see how this legal nightmare pans out.

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Posted on: February 16, 2011 7:49 pm

NFLPA wants to deal with NFL's sponsors

D. Brees could take advantage of an interesting NFLPA idea. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Maybe some of the NFL’s biggest – and most marketable – players won’t have to get part-time jobs if they’re locked out after all.

Fanhouse’s Dan Graziano pens an interesting piece about how the NFL Players Association is talking to corporate sponsors about individual contingency deals in which a player could sell his own rights to a national company.

Assuming the CBA expires March 3, Graziano writes, the current agreement between sponsors like Gatorade, Verizon and Pepsi to use players in national advertising campaigns would expire as well.

"If the NFL locks out the players, the sponsors get locked out of player rights," Keith Gordon, the president of NFL Players Inc., told Fanhouse. "We've been communicating with sponsors since the summer, and our primary objective is to shield them from being put in the middle between the NFL and the players. At this point, our primary objective is to avoid disruption to their business."

Apparently, the NFLPA approached the NFL about a year ago to talk about extending those corporate sponsors agreements despite the expiring CBA, but the NFL wasn’t interested.

So, the NFLPA, according to Graziano, “has proposed contingency agreements that would allow those sponsors to continue to use players in their ads the way they already do. ‘If they take advantage of a contingency agreement, their rights would be protected without interruption,’ Gordon said.

More from Fanhouse, simply because Graziano can explain this better than I can:

"We've had to do a fair amount of educating the sponsors with regard to the mechanics of how it all works as far as player rights and their having access to it," Gordon said. "Not all of them know the mechanics there, so they were surprised to find out that even though, for example, they may have an agreement that runs through 2014, their player rights actually expire in 2011. Some of the sponsors felt like, 'We already paid for that,' and we told them they had to take that up with the league."

The expiration of the current agreement would deprive companies that have sponsorship deals with the NFL from using more than five players in the aggregate in any national ad campaign. For example, if Verizon uses Drew Brees and Mark Sanchez in a national ad but then uses other NFL players in smaller, local newspaper ads, the total number of players used by Verizon can't exceed five without the NFLPA's approval. The contingency agreements, the union says, would allow those companies to continue to use the players as they currently do. The only difference is that those deals would be negotiated directly between the sponsors and the players.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 15, 2011 3:57 pm

Was Richardson exchange with players even worse?

Posted by Will Brinson

On Sunday, a report leaked out that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson had some, um, interesting words for NFL stars Peyton Manning and Drew Brees during a meeting of NFL and NFLPA personnel in Dallas.

Turns out, he might have said some more stuff, too -- according to Yahoo! Sports' Mike Silver, Richardson had a little advice for Sean Morey when the retired player tried to cite some statistics about player safety.

"You guys made so much [expletive] money – if you played three years in the NFL, you should own your own [expletive] team," Richardson reportedly told Morey.

Another player present for the sessions described them as a nightmare to begin with before taking a potshot at the performance of Richardson's Panthers in 2010.

"It was bad from the start," said one player who attended the session. "[Richardson] opened the meeting by describing how he was almost annoyed how we would ask for that meeting on their busiest weekend of the year. And I’m thinking, 'Your team finished 2-14. You shouldn’t be that busy. Why are you worrying about how busy you are during Super Bowl weekend?'"

Boam, roasted, etc. But what does the guy who originally got dogged, Drew Brees, think about Richardson's comments? (Those comments, by the way, were classified as "" by the Panthers PR staff.)

Well, he appeared on Mad Dog Radio on Sirius XM recently, and downplayed the significance of Richardson's comments.

"Well, I mean, this is all I can say is, yeah, I was in that meeting and obviously anytime there’s negotiations I think there’s some back and forth to those," Brees said on Mad Dog Radio, via Pro Football Talk. "And I wouldn’t say that things were disrespectful but what I would say is that there’s are a lot of issues to get through and we’re obviously not going to agree on everything and so it's a process and there are a lot of things to consider here. So hopefully we can continue to make progress here from now until that March fourth date. I think we're all hopeful that a deal will get done but if it doesn’t then we will deal with that."

The NFL has Richardson's back too -- Greg Aiello told the Herald Online's Darin Gantt that "absolutely nothing has changed" with respect to Richardson playing the role of lead negotiator for the league.

That sentiment was echoed by his colleagues.

"There is no more respected owner in the league than Jerry Richardson," New York Giants president and CEO John Mara said Tuesday. "In his role as the co-chair of the owners' negotiating committee, he brings integrity, the desire to always do the right thing and he has the full respect of all the owners."

Richardson's role probably won't change, but it's fairly obvious that he's not exactly making the NFLPA and its members too happy with negotiations (to say the least). Perhaps that's part of a longer-tailed plan to improve the league's bargaining position, or perhaps it's simply putting the most stringent negotiator at the forefront of the labor talks.

Either way, Richardson doesn't appear to be stepping back from the negotiations and that could mean things get a little ugly before we even get a glimpse at the light at the end of the labor tunnel.

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Posted on: February 14, 2011 1:13 pm

Ray Lewis and Brees make advertising magic

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Ray Lewis has made a name for himself lately with his star turns in Old Spice commercials – he also is pretty well known for being a pretty decent Ravens linebacker – and here’s another pretty good moment in this Funny or Die ad for Pepsi Max along with Saints QB Drew Brees.

If you think you’d enjoy the site of Lewis and Brees, both clad in Hawaiian shirts, slapping five as they criss-cross one another at a party that soon will turn strange in a Wes Craven kind of way, click the link.

I will say, though, that it’s kind of odd to see Lewis looking at a dude on the ground who, at first, appears to be lifeless. In fact, it’s the first thing I thought about when I saw it. Which is probably not what the director wants.

Other than that, Lewis is pretty funny, but the commercial is, well, kind of weird.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 13, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: February 13, 2011 12:27 pm

Richardson insulted Manning, Brees in CBA talks?

Posted by Will Brinson

Last week, negotiations between the NFL owners and the NFLPA fell apart. The primary reason for that was -- we believe -- a tremendous gap in the wants and needs of the two sides.

There's also, apparently, a little vitriol between the groups. That's not shocking. But Jay Feely's mention -- on the Michael Kay Show via Pro Football Talk -- of the way Panthers owner Jerry Richardson reportedly spoke to NFL icons Peyton Manning and Drew Brees during a Dallas negotiating session is terrifying for anyone who thinks a peaceful ending to labor talks is coming soon.

"Jerry Richardson, the lead negotiator for the owners, he's going to criticize Peyton Manning and Drew Brees and their intelligence in our meeting Saturday?" Feely said. "And sit there and say dismissively of Manning 'Do I need to help you read a revenue chart, son? Do I need to help break that down for you because I don't know if you understand how to read that?'"

If that sort of thing was said, verbatim, to Manning at a meeting, it's an absolutely terrifying prospect, because it means that there's far less forced pleasantry occurring between the two sides than anyone could have possibly thought.

And Manning may be a Southern-looking fella with a bit of a drawl, but goodness gracious do you have to be the most crotchety old man on the planet to think he's not intelligent. And Drew Brees, well, what on Earth would make anyone think he can't fathom a revenue chart?

Then again, when Richardson addressed the media following Carolina's disastrous 2010 season, he behaved much in the same way. He embarrassed several reporters with smart-alecky comments and at one point he drew a revenue "chart" on a piece of paper and holding it up to the assembled media. (Note that it was really just a terribly-drawn, one-dimensional pie chart.)

Feely also pointed out that there was no "kinda" walking out by the owners during the bargaining session last week.

"It's not true that they 'kinda' walked out," Feely said. "They did walk out."

"Logical minds can sit there and come up with a deal, but once you bring up emotion, then you get in the way of logic," Feely said.

The silver lining to come out of all of this is that there's no football being played right now -- it's a sad first Sunday without it in quite some time -- and that means these issues are at the forefront of public discussion, instead of being buried behind box scores.

That's still less fun than watching football, but it at least means there's a focus on trying to move the labor discussion, however unpleasant it may be, forward.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com