Tag:DeMaurice Smith
Posted on: March 26, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 2:56 pm

NFL Alumni not happy with NFLPA

Posted by Andy Benoit

One of the ancillary issues in the ongoing labor strife is the treatment of retired players. The popular thing for both sides to say is that they’re deeply concerned about retired players’ benefits. Most retired players beg to differ.

George Martin, president of the NFL Alumni, has met with both the NFLPA and NFL owners. A few weeks ago, it was a story that Martin was unable to even get a meeting with the NFLPA. That has since changed.
G. Martin (US Presswire)
But Martin has still not received the one-on-one meeting with DeMaurice Smith that he requested. And from his last meeting he’s not exactly thrilled with the NFLPA’s attitude towards NFL Alumni.

Pro Football Talk obtained a memo that Martin sent to the NFL Alumni’s Board of Directors and 32 chapter heads in which Martin describes his meeting with the decertified union. PFT writes:

Martin said the “atmosphere was very defiant, accusatory, and outright disrespectful.”

“Regrettably, the long awaited and greatly anticipated one on one meeting with Mr. DeMaurice Smith never materialized as I had hoped,” Martin wrote.  “Although he was present during my two hour interrogation, no accommodation of my request for the private meeting was ever addressed.”

Martin had a much better experience with the NFL, according to the memo.

“On Tuesday morning, I had the pleasure of addressing NFL owners, executive staff, and head coaches as the NFL Annual Meetings,” Martin said.  “The genuine support and enthusiasm for our organization exhibited by these distinguished individuals was both exciting and overwhelming.”

NFL Labor

In its last CBA offer to the union before the lockout, NFL owners offered to contributed $82 million over the next two years to a new legacy fund for retired players. The NFL claims it has contributed over $350 million in pension funds for retired players over the past two years. There are still issues over the timing of these benefits (and, of course, the extent of them). Regarding the timing, players’ coverage currently covers the years immediately following their career, rather than decades down the road, when most of their health issues that were fomented by playing the violent sport actually show up.

The NFL Alumni is upset that the union refused to continue negotiating with owners in the first place.

"Although (the $82 million sum) is not where we want it to be, it was a first start," Martin said at the league meetings earlier this week. "If the (negotiating) process had been allowed to continue, perhaps we would have gained those improvements in pension benefits."

UPDATE 2:57 p.m. EST: George Atallah, NFLPA spokesman, tweeted Saturday afternoon: "It is upsetting that George Martin would make the details of his meeting with the NFLPA public. We tried to have a private dialogue."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 18, 2011 6:28 pm

Hot Routes 3.18.11: Waiting for Goodell

Posted by Josh Katzowitz and Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) .
  • This actually has nothing to do with the NFL, but a local sports reporter almost got run over by an SUV (backing up, at slow speed) midway through a live report. It's pretty amazing.
  • We absolutely love that former Bengals draft bust Akili Smith is defending former Auburn QB Cam Newton from comparisons that he's similar to, you know, Akili Smith. "I'm nowhere near the athlete that Cam is," Smith told Bengals.com.
  • The South Florida Sun-Sentinel writes that Ryan Mallett’s draft status is dropping just like Jimmy Clausen did last year. Unlike Clausen, though, people apparently are concerned with Mallett’s character and personality.
  • The Boston Globe reports TE Alge Crumpler underwent shoulder surgery in late January for a significant injury. No word on if he’ll return to next season at full strength.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: March 18, 2011 3:31 pm

Report: De Smith to cut salary to $0

Posted by Will Brinson

Roger Goodell and Jeff Pash recently announced that they'd be cutting their respective salaries to $1 until a new CBA is reached. Not to be outdone, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has undercut them and will reportedly set his salary at $0.

That's according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, who cites sources that indicate Smith's moving to his salary to that of a volunteer.

The news isn't too shocking, of course, because Smith previously stated he'd take a big salary cut if there'd been a deal before the Super Bowl. (At the time, he offered "68 cents.") Additionally, a salary "cut" by either side is wholly symbolic. While they won't make the same money until there are games played, they've still got cash in the bank and they'll still likely have bonus money waiting once the NFL resumes play.

It's also worth noting that Goodell and Pash also previously announced their salary cuts in the event of a work stoppage.

So, yeah, it's a public relations maneuver by both sides, with the point being to show everyone that they care so much about the negotiations that they're willing to make personal sacrifices.

All of which is to say that salary cuts for the people in charge of two clearly embattled sides do nothing to actually advance any discussion about a new deal designed to get football to the folks with salaries who really matter: the fans.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 17, 2011 6:33 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 6:38 pm

De Smith: New deal would've been worst ever

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 nfllabor.com) :

“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.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Category: NFL
Posted on: March 15, 2011 12:50 pm

Hot Routes 3.15.11 labor pains

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

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

Posted on: March 15, 2011 12:22 am

Report: Owners have cash to last through season

Posted by Will Brinson

The ruling where Judge David Doty shut down the NFL owners' ability to use more than $4 billion in television contracts during any work stoppage quickly rid the world of any notion that the billionaires could last two years without football.

I mean, they could, but not without hemorrhaging cash. However, a report Monday in the Wall St. Journal indicates that the gentlemen who run the 32 NFL franchises could in fact last one full season without football.

The WSJ report notes that the league would only need that money "if the labor strife drags on into the 2012 season" because "owners have already set aside enough money to cover them in case the 2011 season is cancelled."

That the NFL has a contingency plan for not being able to use the $4 billion isn't shocking, because Greg Aiello mentioned as much almost immediately following Doty's ruling. Also, the gentlemen in question are billionaire; they didn't gain that status without knowing a) to always have a backup plan and b) how to save money.

And they can almost certainly weather the financial storm of an NFL-less world than most of the players in the league. But that doesn't mean that not making a pile of money during the 2011 season is something that the owners want to see happen.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 14, 2011 2:06 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 2:16 pm

NFLPA, owners battle each other and for you

Posted by Mike Freeman

There is the battle in the court between the players and owners and then there is another battle.

The other battle is the battle for you, the fan.

As both sides prepare for court fights they are simultaneously fighting to win a PR war.

Since the lockout, the NFL has sent numerous releases to many in the media. Some are statements from owners like Art Rooney II expressing their disappointment in the union. Others are announcements about high-powered additions to their legal team.

Cincinnati owner Mike Brown told the Cincinnati Enquirer that all the players cared about was the money. Then, president of the San Diego Chargers, Dean Spanos, released a statement accusing DeMaurice Smith of not negotiating in good faith. The Kansas City Chiefs added their own statement as well. The Broncos said they're willing to open their books.

The league also announced that Roger Goodell was slashing his salary to $1. It's doubtful the NFL commissioner, however, will need to borrow a few duckets to put food on the table.

All of the statements basically have the same purpose which is to blame the players for the current labor crisis.
NFL Lockout
The player's association re-released its own statements immediately following their decertification. My guess: the players saw what the owners said and wanted to, again, make the position known that the owners are lying.

Both sides are clearly fighting for control of you. Your mind. Your opinion.

But the players won't stay silent for long. It's only a matter of time before they begin to counter what the league is saying.
And the battle continues...

This post is cross-posted from Mike Freeman's Freestyle blog . For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: March 12, 2011 3:43 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 3:45 pm

'Lockout Letter' from NFL to players made public

Posted by Will Brinson

You'll recall that some time during the blur of Friday evening, we posted the context of the letter from DeMaurice Smith to Roger Goodell that advised him of the union's decision to decertify (aka The "Dear Roger" letter).

Well, there's one from the NFL as well, in which Dennis Curran, Senior VP of Labor Litigation & Policy, advised Smith that the league would be locking out the players.

It's just like Smith's letter -- a piece of correspondence that's required to make things official. And it was posted on NFLLockout.com. The best part, though, is that it begins with "Dear De."
Dear De,

Please be advised that, assuming the National Football League ("NFL") and the National Football League Players Association ("Union") have not agreed upon terms for a collective bargaining agreement by 11:59 p.m. on March 11, 2011 (when the parties' current agreement expires), the NFL's member Clubs will institute a lockout of members of the Union's bargaining unit immediately thereafter.

In the event of a lockout, Clubs will be delivering letters to their players in the form attached hereto. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely yours,
Dennis Curran
So, yeah, nothing crazy about that, although it does kind of prove the point that a lockout was never really a "decision" that was made following the end of mediation. The NFL knew what route it was taking all along. What's much more interesting is the letter "form attached hereto" that the players were sent, presumably by some sort of certified mailing that likely left team offices today.

In lieu of going back to the blockquote machine (I suggest you click here for the first page and here for the second page), here's the main points:
  • Players aren't allowed at "any Club facility or the stadium" unless they're there for a "non-Club event or Club charitable event.
  • No paychecks
  • No health insurance (though the Club advises players about COBRA)
  • An odd clause stating that the players "aren't permitted to perform any services under your Player Contract," which apparently means they can't practice football or exercise. 
  • No steroid testing!
  • No talking with coaches
  • No agents at the facility either (same rules apply to them)
  • No information on how to exercise from the team
  • Injured players get some treatment from the team
  • No legal assistance from the club
  • Any "activities" that a player engages in during the lockout is done so at their own risk, and the team isn't liable in the event that someone becomes a professional cliffdiver or something
And, I think, that about covers it. The NFLPA's stance on this is pretty clear: the league was planning a lockout all along. And, thusly, never really negotiating in good faith with the players.

The NFL will inform everyone that this is "standard protocol" for such a procedure, and that it doesn't demonstrate their desire to keep the players from showing up at work in 2011. But even with a strong PR push regarding the players' decision to "walk away," it's a pretty sell to ask people to ignore that a lockout was almost always in the cards for the owners.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com