Posted on: March 10, 2011 6:44 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 8:10 pm

NFL, NFLPA no face-to-face meetings Thursday

Posted by Andy Benoit

UPDATE 7:20 p.m. EST: ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that the union is poised to decertify on Friday. He quotes one person saying "Get ready for this to blowup (Friday)."


We’ll paint the scene for Thursday night in the ongoing labor negotiations.  it’s around dinnertime in Washington DC and the NFLPA has just left the building.
D. Smith (US Presswire)
There have been no face-to-face talks between NFL players and owners over the past 24 hours. The owners have been on a conference call throughout the early part of the evening. (All 10 members of the NFL labor committee sans Robert Kraft, who is in Israel, are said to be in on the call.)

At around 6:30, NFLPA spokesman George Atallah tells reporters, "We're not going to sit and wait in the building for them to figure out what they want to do."

Bob Glauber of the New York Post reports shortly after that, that NFLPA officials expected to hear back from the NFL by 5 p.m., but so far there has been no word. So, union leader DeMaurice Smith sent his reps home. But those reps will return for negotiations if asked.

However, minutes later, Atallah tweets that the NFLPA has learned that the owners broke for dinner, and that there will be no negotiating tonight.

Finally, to cap it all off, NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash suggests to reporters that the NFLPA is not fully committed to working out a new CBA. He does, however, indicate that another extension could be possible.

NFL Labor

What does it all mean? Impossible to say without being in the room. But on the surface, it appears little progress was made Thursday. (But that's only on the surface.) 

P.S. after the building cleared out, multiple news outlets reported that Smiths’ 2 p.m. update to players on Friday will not contain any earth-shattering news, but rather, just a standard update. Given that the CBA extension expires at 5 p.m. EST Friday, no earth-shattering news by 2 p.m. might in and of itself be earth-shattering news.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: March 10, 2011 5:18 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 5:24 pm

De Smith to update players by 2 PM Friday

Posted by Andy Benoit

The drop-dead time for the NFL and NFLPA ongoing labor negotiations is 5:00 p.m. EST Friday, March 11. But it sounds like we’ll have some news sometime around 2:00 p.m.

DeMaurice Smith tweeted early Thursday evening, “Players stay strong! Stay informed, update by 2pm tomorrow.”
NFL Labor

We're waiting with bated breath. (Seriously.)

2 PM, three hours before the CBA extension expires, would not be such an odd time if Smith were only updating the players. But by tweeting this news, Smith knows he’s not talking to just the players. Is an early update a sign that minimal progress is being made? Is it a sign of significant progress?

This is why we’re waiting with bated breath.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: March 10, 2011 4:48 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 5:14 pm

Liz Mullen of 'SBJ' talks latest labor news

Posted by Will Brinson
NFL Labor

For whatever reason, I've felt especially compelled to fire out podcasts this week, and, luckily, I've been able to land some pretty awesome guests. Add Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal to that list.

Liz joined the show Thursday afternoon to discuss the latest word on labor negotiations, whether the owners are going to open their books to the NFLPA, how the NFL labor situation differs from other leagues, and whether or not there's reason to be optimistic about the current state of negotiations.

Just hit the play button below and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Posted on: March 10, 2011 1:27 pm

Report: NFL, NFLPA financial gap under $700M

Posted by Will Brinson

Though there's some discord amongst owners about opening up the books, as our Mike Freeman reported Thursday, there's still apparently progress being made in the labor discussions between the NFL and NFLPA.

Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the two sides have gotten the revenue sharing gulf that separates them down to $700 million. That seems kind of pedantic, because it's a lot of money, but it does signify movement -- originally it began at $1 billion and was later reported to be around the $750-$800 million range.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post also reports that the number is "substantially" under the $700 million mark.

What makes this interesting is that earlier this week, the NFLPA said it wouldn't give up "$1 more" without some more financial transparency from the league.
NFL Labor

While the gap shortening doesn't necessarily preclude the NFLPA sitting tight, it does seem to indicate some sort of compromise, and probably means that the owners providing some information to the union at least helped shorten the gap.

Again, even if they're down to $500 million, there's still a huge gap between the two sides. But as the clock winds down on the deadline for mediation, seeing significant progress on one of the three major issues at least provides a glimmer of hope for those that don't want to see football played out in a courtroom.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 10, 2011 9:55 am

Mike Freeman on labor, NFL owners opening books

Posted by Will Brinson
NFL Labor

New developments on the labor front? You betcha. (In this case, it's the union saying 18 games is out of question and then filing a motion to unlock the TV case records from Judge Doty's courtroom.)

So that means a new podcast, too. Mike Freeman, CBSSports.com national columnist, is on the horn this time to talk about whether or not there's reason for optimism in the labor talks, why the owners are refusing to open up the books, what a ruling in this television case could mean, and what to expect from the labor negotiations over the next two days.

Just hit the play button below and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Posted on: March 10, 2011 12:13 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:18 am

Union asks Doty to unseal records in TV case

Posted by Will Brinson

Last week, Judge David Doty in Minnesota dropped a pretty big bombshell on the NFL, ruling that the league couldn't use nearly $4 billion in "lockout insurance" stemming from television contracts.

Doty's descriptive language in his ruling drew quite a bit of attention, particularly the part about DirecTV having to pay more if there was a work stoppage in 2011 than if there wasn't. And now the NFLPA has filed a motion to have Doty unseal the evidence and testimony from the proceedings in the broadcast revenues case.

"The NFL cannot be permitted to comment publicly about these proceedings and then turn around to embrace a cloak of confidentiality that thwarts the public’s right to know," union lawyers wrote in the memorandum. "The NFL Bears the burden of showing the need to keep the underlying record sealed. Despite the opportunity, no such showing has been made."

In its motion, the NFLPA also argued that the league hasn't explained why the records are sealed and is refusing to cooperate with the union's attempts to redact certain portions of the records in order to protect "third-party information" as it relates to broadcast partners.

NFL Labor

Clearly, this is an attempt to ramp up the public pressure on ownership as the deadline for mediation closes, but the NFL doesn't seem to be taking the bait immediately.

"We will respond to that filing in due course," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press.

At some point, it seems likely that the NFL's records (financial, legal or otherwise) will see the light of day. And that'll likely either be voluntary or through the stage of legal discovery.

But with the sports-watching world genuinely concerned as to whether or not football will get played in 2011, withholding information that could lead to a settlement of the labor issues isn't doing the NFL any public relations favors.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 9, 2011 8:21 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 8:33 pm

DeMaurice Smith on 18 games: 'We're not doing it'

Posted by Will Brinson

The labor discussions between the NFL and NFLPA center around three main points: revenue sharing, a rookie wage scale and an 18-game schedule. According to DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director for the Players Association, the schedule issue is no longer on the bargaining table.

That's what he told Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated -- who recently appeared on our Eye on Football podcast -- Wednesday evening anyway.

"First of all, the league has never presented a formal proposal for 18 games," Smith said, per Trotter. "But more importantly, it's something that our players don't want. Eighteen games is not in the best interest of our players' safety, so we're not doing it."

There are two days worth of mediation remaining before the current CBA deadline expires, which makes these strong words indeed.

Smith, apparently, spoke to fans after Wednesday's mediation session adjourned, when he had some similarly strong comments about the owners' willingness to open their books.

"How much financial information would you want before you write a $5 billion check?" Smith asked following mediation.

NFL Labor

Provided that Smith and the union won't budge on this issue, and provided that the prior report about a tentative rookie-wage scale are accurate, negotiations between now and Friday could become quite interesting.

If those two issues are off the table, then negotiating a new CBA would come down to revenue sharing, and nothing else. If the owners will allow the union to stand fast by their stance on the schedule, it's conceivable that the union will cave some on the list of required financial documents. (Although the investment bank they hired for an audit may not let them, based on available information.)

On the other hand, this could just as easily lead to a full-on disintegration of any possible CBA discussion and prompt the Armageddon scenario that involves decertification and lots of lawsuits. Either way, the union has made its stance on schedule expansion clear, and they don't appear to be budging.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 9, 2011 7:07 pm

Podcast: Maury Brown talks NFL, NFLPA mediation

Posted by Will Brinson
NFL Labor

Another day of labor negotiations, another podcast, and this time Maury Brown of BizofFootball.com (and the Business of Sports Networks) joins me to chat about the current state of labor negotiations.

We discuss how much the reported rookie wage scale will actually help the talks between the NFL and NFLPA, whether or not the owners should open up their books, the (very important) difference between "decline in cash flow" and "losing money," and his thoughts on how the rest of the negotiations will unfold.

Just hit the play button below and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com