Tag:NFLPA
Posted on: June 14, 2011 6:47 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 6:59 pm
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What the NFL, NFLPA should NOT do

GoodellPosted by Josh Katzowitz

In case you missed it, CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman reported that negotiations between the players and the owners to end the lockout and establish a new Collective Bargaining Agreement are 80-85 percent complete.

Which means that confidence is at an all-time high that a new CBA will be struck sooner rather than later and the NFL season will begin on time.

As Freeman writes, “That doesn't mean the negotiations can't revert back to the primordial days of disgust and hatred, or that the talks can't implode. It does mean, however, that the discussions are in such a good place it would be difficult for even the most selfish, destructive personality to affect them.”

And as one source told him, “It's going to be very difficult for this to get screwed up.”

That said, here are three ways the negotiations can, in fact, be screwed up (not that I’m hoping for this to happen).

Let the lawyers back in for major negotiations: It’s funny, isn’t it? When the attorneys for both sides aren’t in the negotiating room, significant progress is made. Three weeks ago, the pessimism about a new CBA was extremely high. I’m not saying the attorneys are solely to blame. But Jeff Pash for the NFL and Jeffrey Kessler for the NFLPA didn’t help matters. Not only did the attorneys make life more difficult for everyone at the negotiating table, but the owners didn’t trust Kessler and the players didn’t trust Pash. Three weeks ago, there seemed little reason to hope. But after secret meetings in Chicago (without lawyers present), followed by more meetings in New York last week (without lawyers) and more talks this week (with lawyers), all of a sudden, it seems like we’re very close to ending our long national nightmare. All of a sudden, we get real optimism. Obviously, the lawyers will need to be in the room at some point in order to help write the CBA – and reports said they were in there today – but if they can stay out of the major negotiating points (and it sounds like they have), that would be a big help.

DeMaurice SmithLet the combatants open their mouths: When Roger Goodell or DeMaurice Smith (or any of the lawyers, as mentioned above) start popping off to the media, phrases get highlighted. Like when Smith congratulated the NFL for being the first sports league to sue to stop games from being played (not entirely true) or when the NFL kept sending letters to players to get the union back together and to negotiate even after the NFLPA had disbanded (not entirely helpful). Those words and actions simply don’t help the cause. As a member of the media, I hate it when there’s some kind of blackout where a group of people are not speaking with the press. But in this case, I think we’ll all take it if it means a deal is struck between the two sides and no football is missed and non-football personnel can get back to work with salaries fully implemented.

Let the court system make the decision: Maybe Goodell was right after all. He’s been saying all along that a new CBA would be generated at the negotiating table and not in the courtroom. And maybe the NFLPA chose not to believe him, because, historically, the courts have sided with the players. But when the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the NFL a permanent stay in order to keep the lockout in place, it was a major blow for the players. And when Appeals Court judge Kermit Bye told both sides they’d be better off solving the labor situation themselves, maybe both sides saw his point. Yes, the players might have been more desperate after the court ruling (especially when you saw how much the Appeals Court questioned the District Court’s decision), but the owners also seem ready for this storm to slip out to sea.
As is just about everybody else in the free world. Here’s hoping somebody doesn’t screw this thing up.

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Posted on: June 13, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 8:34 pm
 

Upshaw still causes rift between Alumni, NFLPA

Jerry Kramer blames late NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw for many of the problems today (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

As the NFLPA and the NFL Alumni continue to bicker with each other – Alumni president George Martin said he STILL hasn’t sat down with trade association executive director DeMaurice Smith to discuss his group’s concerns – legendary Packers OL Jerry Kramer gave a clue to the possible reason both groups don’t get along.

And he blames late executive director Gene Upshaw for the problem.

“The problem is we are not on the same page,” Kramer, who made five All-Pro teams during his 11-year career, told Packer Chatters. “The alumni and the players need to have one voice and to be part of one organization, so you could focus on your objectives. The problem with that is that Gene Upshaw screwed the older players for so long, and so badly, that the guys can’t get over it. There is still a lot of bad taste in our mouths from the Upshaw days. DeMaurice Smith is looked at with a jaundiced eye and we look at him with a show me attitude. A lot of guys are still sitting on the fence and waiting to see what happens.”

The NFL, on the other hand, has been more helpful, Kramer says.

“The NFL is playing their games too, and muddying the water by helping the alumni,” he said. “The NFL has loaned the alumni association money, for instance. Roger Goodell has really been doing a hell of a job up to this point, but I’m not sure how much further it will go. Goodell has made the 88 fund available, which is a dementia fund. He has also helped with the Mackey fund, in which players that take early retirement would be eligible for disability, which they weren’t before. Goodell has really made some strides for the older players. It really comes down to this new collective bargaining agreement and if they can do something to improve the pension situation. Most older players are getting less than $500 dollars a month for their pension. That includes 180 Hall of Famers, I believe.”

Look, we know Smith is extremely busy, but Martin has claimed that he’s not even responding to requests to sit down and chat. And yes, Smith works for the current players and not for the old-timers. But somebody inside the NFLPA -- a player, an administrator, anybody -- needs to know that one day in the future, today’s players are going to be the old-timers suffering from dementia and hobbled by injuries.

To ignore the NFL Alumni is not only inhumane. It’s short-sighted and stupid.

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Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 12:36 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.13.11: Nice payday for De Smith



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • The Sports Business Journal reports today that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith made $2.45 million last year and that his current term ends next March. Depending on how this lockout plays out, I wonder if he’ll get much opposition for another term.
  • Before the NFL Draft, Jets RB Shonn Greene didn’t know what the team had planned for him next year. But after coach Rex Ryan announced he would be the main guy in the backfield, Greene said he now knows the kind of confidence his coaches have in him.
  • AEG is doing everything it can to woo a team to Los Angeles, but the Bills are not on the immediate list for relocation. However, the Buffalo News points out that when owner Ralph Wilson dies the organization could be a viable candidate to leave Buffalo.
  • 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is optimistic about the labor situation. He thinks a deal can be done by early July.

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Posted on: June 9, 2011 11:36 am
Edited on: June 9, 2011 12:10 pm
 

Judge moves NFL's motion to dismiss up to Aug. 29

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFL filed a motion Monday to dismiss the original antitrust complaint from the players in Brady v. NFL. The scheduled date of the hearing? September 12.

Yep, that's one day after the first Sunday of what would be the 2011 NFL season. But as CBSSports.com's Will Brinson pointed out earlier this week, the greater purpose of the motion is that "it pushes back the deadline for the NFL to file an answer in response to the players' complaint."

According to the Associated Press, the September 12 date has been changed. The hearing has been moved up to August 29.

"U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson issued Wednesday an amended notice on the league's motion to dismiss the lawsuit," the AP reports. … "Owners and players met Wednesday for a second straight day in New York, talks toward a new agreement to end the impasse and put the NFL back in business for 2011."
NFL Labor

As Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio notes, the new date doesn't mean much since "it’s unlikely that there will be a quick decision, unless Judge Nelson decides to summarily deny the motion from the bench."

In related, happier news, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote this morning that the owners and players met again Wednesday night and while there's still a ways to go, the two sides are making an effort to work together. Perhaps even more encouraging: Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith are on their way to becoming BFFs. (Or, at the very least, they can now tolerate being in the same room. Hey, it's a start.)

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 7:21 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 10:37 pm
 

Players/owners meet again in secret

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

As CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman reports, the owners and the NFLPA have restarted their labor negotiating meetings in secret.

Though we all know the two sides did the same thing last week in Chicago, nobody seems to know the location this time around.

Which might actually be a positive sign. The deeper both sides are hunkered down in talks, perhaps the more progress is being made. (That’s what we like to think anyway.)

Not that today’s development is a big surprise. Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that both sides would meet again. He just didn’t say when and where. But the fact that they’re happening -- even if nobody else in the world can find them -- makes us much more optimistic.

UPDATED 8:47 PM (ET): According to ESPN.com, the two sides met in a New York City hotel room. In attendance besides Goodell, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and a handful of owners and player reps was magistrate judge Arthur Boylan.

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Posted on: June 6, 2011 8:15 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 5:40 am
 

NFL files Motion to Dismiss, hearing set for 9/12

Posted by Will Brinson

On Monday, the NFL filed a motion to dismiss the original antitrust complaint from the players in Brady v. NFL. More interestingly, this motion will now be heard on September 12, 2011.

Yes, that does happen to be one day after the first Sunday of the NFL's regular season, thanks for asking.

The motion to dismiss in and of itself was brief -- just two pages -- but the purpose that the motion serves is a greater one because it pushes back the deadline for the NFL to file an answer in response to the players' complaint.

Now that answer won't be due until after the motion is heard, which is after the season begins. This is beneficial for the NFL, the players and the fans because it allows the two sides to continue negotiating without being obstructed by a public legal document, especially one in which the NFL responds -- perhaps in a personal manner -- to serious antitrust allegations.
NFL Labor

And then there's the fact that if both sides have to actually end up going to court for this hearing, it will occur one day after 9/11, when the NFL and the players have decided to skip the first week of the season.

Whether or not memorials for fallen Americans should veer into the realm of public relations is beside the point; missing the first week of the season would be an abject PR disaster.

Hopefully, this would-be extension of time allows the two sides to avoid that nightmarish scenario.

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Posted on: June 6, 2011 6:40 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 7:15 pm
 

NFL season ticket sales now down from last year

Posted by Will Brinson

Late in May, we inked a story about the increase in NFL season-ticket sales relative to this time last year.

Well, the league has reversed course, according to Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal. The NFL is now reporting that sales are behind the pace at the same time in 2010.

Yes, it seems like odd timing, considering the league's report that sales were up came just seven days ago. However, Kaplan notes that the timing of the report could make sense; the NFL's data during the previous report was thru May 7. Now the data is current through the end of May.

What makes this a bit bizarre is the fact that it took 24 days to generate the data thru May 7, and yet the current data took less than seven days to generate.

It's also entirely possible that the NFL felt the news about the ticket sales was off-base with their current state of financial affairs (after all, Roger Goodell openly lamented the state of the NFL's business) and wanted a more current assessment.

Kaplan notes as well that the league informed him "suite and club seat renewals [are] at a crawl."

The flummoxing state of affairs from the first report -- after all, there isn't any guaranteed football for next year -- was only really explainable by tickets going on sale earlier than previous years as well as earlier deadlines for getting tickets applications in.

This new report makes much more sense, even if the timing of the various pieces of released information is a bit odd.

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Posted on: June 5, 2011 11:11 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 11:12 pm
 

How does a ruling 'neither side will like' occur?

Posted by Will Brinson

Following the now-infamous June 3 hearing in front of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Kermit Bye indicated to the NFL and the NFLPA that the court wouldn't be insulted if the two sides reached a settlement before the court reached a ruling.

And Bye also said that if the two sides couldn't find common ground, the court wouldn't exactly be opposed to rendering a ruling that "neither side will like." That seems like a difficult proposition, but it's not entirely out of the question.

In fact, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (who's an actual licensed attorney) put together a pretty good explanation of it on Sunday.

Basically, the Court of Appeals can rule that 1) the lockout is still on and that the lockout can last for a full year, and 2) there is a six-month limit on the non-statutory antitrust exemption.
NFL Labor

And what that means is while the lockout could last throughout the entire 2011 season, the antitrust exemption would end on September 11. And what that means is that if the lockout did last for the entire year, the owners would potentially be liable -- in the Brady v. NFL antitrust suit -- for triple the entire 2011 NFL payroll.

Obviously, that's a LOT of cheddar; such liability creates a highly unfavorable scenario for the owners even as the idea of missing a year's worth of paychecks would create some substantial panic amongst all the NFL's players.

Which is precisely why, as our own Mike Freeman reported recently, that it actually makes a ton of sense for the two sides to get together and hammer out a deal before the 8th Circuit has to issue a ruling.

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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