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Tag:DeMaurice Smith
Posted on: March 11, 2011 9:52 pm
 

Report: NFL expected to announce lockout tonight

Posted by Andy Benoit

Hours after the NFLPA went nuclear and decertified, Gary Myers of New York Daily News reports that the NFL is expected to announce a lockout tonight. If that’s the case, it will be up to the courts to decide what happens next.

The prevention of players from playing is the NFL’s ultimate leverage. The players’ ultimate leverage is decertification, which they enacted earlier. The antitrust lawsuit filed by nine players Friday evening aims at preventing a lockout.

It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that the league’s lockout effort will be blocked by the courts. That’s when appeals will be filed.

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 8:45 pm
 

Roger Goodell writes letter to fans

Posted by Andy Benoit

After the disappointing conclusion to Friday's labor talks, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to fans. Here it is (via NFL.com, of course):

Dear NFL Fan,

When I wrote to you last on behalf of the NFL, we promised you that we would work tirelessly to find a collectively bargained solution to our differences with the players' union. Subsequent to that letter to you, we agreed that the fastest way to a fair agreement was for everyone to work together through a mediation process. For the last three weeks I have personally attended every session of mediation, which is a process our clubs sincerely believe in.

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that earlier today the players' union walked away from mediation and collective bargaining and has initiated litigation against the clubs. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, our clubs offered a deal today that, among other things, was designed to have no adverse financial impact on veteran players in the early years, and would have met the players' financial demands in the latter years of the agreement.

The proposal we made included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee a reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players (US $82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).

It was a deal that offered compromise, and would have ensured the well-being of our players and guaranteed the long-term future for the fans of the great game we all love so much. It was a deal where everyone would prosper.

We remain committed to collective bargaining and the federal mediation process until an agreement is reached, and call on the union to return to negotiations immediately. NFL players, clubs, and fans want an agreement. The only place it can be reached is at the bargaining table.

While we are disappointed with the union's actions, we remain steadfastly committed to reaching an agreement that serves the best interest of NFL players, clubs and fans, and thank you for your continued support of our league. First and foremost it is your passion for the game that drives us all, and we will not lose sight of this as we continue to work for a deal that works for everyone.

Yours,

Roger Goodell

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 7:07 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 9:11 pm
 

NFL statement on players decertifying

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL issued a statement following the players' decision to decertify as a union . It's really long and kind of awkward, because it calls the players out and puts what the NFL says is its last offer out to the public.

"The fastest way to a fair agreement is for both the union and the clubs to continue the mediation process," the league's said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the players’ union has notified our office that at 4pm ET it had 'decertified' and is walking away from mediation and collective bargaining, presumably to initiate the antitrust litigation it has been threatening to file. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, the clubs offered a deal that would have had no adverse financial impact upon veteran players in the early years and would meet the players’ financial demands in the latter years."

"The union left a very good deal on the table. It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).

"The union was offered financial disclosure of audited league and club profitability information that is not even shared with the NFL clubs.
NFL Labor

"The expanded health and safety rules would include a reduction in offseason programs of five weeks (from 14 to nine) and of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) from 14 to 10; significant reductions in the amount of contact in practices; and other changes.

"At a time when thousands of employees are fighting for their collective bargaining rights, this union has chosen to abandon collective bargaining in favor of a sham 'decertification' and antitrust litigation. This litigation maneuver is built on the indisputably false premise that the NFLPA has stopped being a union and will merely delay the process of reaching an agreement. 

"The NFL clubs remain committed to collective bargaining and the federal mediation process until an agreement is reached. The NFL calls on the union to return to negotiations immediately. NFL players, clubs, and fans want an agreement. The only place it can be reached is at the bargaining table."

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:39 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 6:48 pm
 

Report: NFL free agency could begin at midnight

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL without a players' union could end up being a little zany (we already know there aren't going to be any agent regulations). People aren't exactly sure what will happen in the coming months, and free agency is completely unknown.

But according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the league is preparing to act as if free agency will begin at midnight on Saturday. (Yes, as in about six hours.)

Florio cites a "high-level source with one team" in providing this info, and, frankly, it's entirely possible.

Witness what players' lawyer Jeff Kessler said, relating to the NFL's need to either a) lock the players out or b) impose the last set of offered rules and begin the year.

"There's no limbo anymore," he said.

If Judge David Doty blocks a lockout (that hasn't happened yet, but apparently must happen by midnight) and keeps the doors open for the NFL, or if the NFL decides not to lockout the players, well, it's business as "usual."

Which means that teams could begin signing and trading players pretty right away.

If that happens, it could be absolute pandemonium, which seems about right given the way the rest of the NFL's offseason is likely to unfold.

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:34 pm
 

Wild wild west for agents now

Posted by Andy Benoit

Agents are part of the NFLPA. So what happens to the when the NFLPA decertifies? In short, agents are on their own.

Pro Football Talk obtained a copy of a memo sent by the NFLPA to agents:

“By now you are aware that members of the National Football League Players Association renounced the NFLPA’s status as the collective bargaining agent for NFL Players. Going forward, the NFLPA will instead be operating as a professional association committed to promoting, protecting and enhancing the careers of professional football players – past, present and future.

“By becoming a professional association, the NFLPA has changed its relationship with agents who represent NFL players. Since the NFLPA no longer is the collective bargaining representative of NFL players for wages, hours and working conditions, it is no longer a requirement that Contract Advisors be certified by the NFLPA in order to represent players in individual contract negotiations with NFL clubs.  In other words, the NFLPA is discontinuing its agent regulation system.”

This all means that any Joe off the street can now be an agent.

CBA, Decertification, DeMaurice Smith, Labor Talk, Labor Talks, Lockout, Mediation, NFL, NFLPA
Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:21 pm
 

NFLPA's letter to Roger Goodell and NFL clubs

Posted by Will Brinson

Or perhaps a better title would be "Dear, Roger." Because that's how DeMaurice Smith's letter to Roger Goodell -- informing him that the NFLPA planned to decertify -- began.

Perhaps it's not that amusing, considering the state of the NFL right now, but it still at least seems odd. (As transcribed from NFL Network.)
Dear Roger,

This is to advise you that, pursuant to a vote in which a majority of the players indicated that they wished to end the collective bargaining status of the NFLPA, the NFLPA is renouncing its status as the players' collective bargaining representative and disclaiming interest in continuing as the collective bargaining agent of the players as of 4:00 p.m. eastern time today. It is the players' intention to instead operate hereafter as a professional association dedicated to improving the business conditions of professional football players in the National Football League, including the enhancement and the protection of the contracting rights of its members. By copy of this letter to each member clubs of the NFL, I am also informing them of this important change in our status.

Sincerely, DeMaurice Smith
Now, it's worth noting that this is typical of a letter from a lawyer, and probably one that wasn't actually written by De Smith himself. (One has to assume that he has a secretary and/or legal assistant for such matters.)

Much more interesting is that the NFLPA claims to have decertified at 5:02 PM EST. But Smith's letter clearly indicates the players' intent to decertify at 4:00 PM EST.

Given that the owners will likely attempt to file some sort of legal motion that claims the decertification is a sham, it'll be interesting to see whether or not the timing difference there factors in. The principle there being that the NFL would attempt to prove the players were negotiating in bad faith based on their intent to decertify from the beginning.

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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 5:19 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 5:31 pm
 

The unspoken common sense of lockout drama

Posted by Andy Benoit

Something to keep in mind amidst all the teD. Smith (US Presswire)nse labor negotiations between “millionaires” and “billionaires” is that these millionaires didn’t become millionaires by being flexible and willing to settle for less, and these billionaires for darn sure didn’t become billionaires by doing that.

Throughout their entire lives, these players and owners have grown accustom to not just winning, but winning with authority. We’re talking about alpha male athletes vs. alpha male businessmen, with a few alpha male lawyers sprinkled in.

Yet people remain surprised that these two sides continue to bicker. How is it these rich guys can even risk letting their greed kill the golden goose? Because it’s their innate “greed” that created the golden goose in the first place. What most people see as greed, the individuals see as justice.


The biggest myth from all the CBA talk is that fans aren’t interested in this fight between millionaires and billionaires. Hogwash. Fans ARE interested. Fans might prefer to have games played, but at this point in March, the drama of labor strife has made for great entertainment.

NFL Labor

During combine week in Indy, Peter King and a handful of other NFL writers hosted what amounted to a town hall meeting where fans could ask any football question to the room. For the first 50 minutes, every question was about labor issues. Every question. It helped the NFLPA spokesman George Atallah and NFLPA executive committee members Chester Pitts and Fabian Washington were in the room. But even after they left, the interest in the subject remained palpable. Several times the conversation was jerked to football, only to naturally drift back to labor.

The NFL is as much a reality TV show as it is a professional sports league. Labor unrest is scary to think about from a long-term perspective, but the deadlines, rhetoric and doomsday threats make it compelling entertainment in the short-term.

If you don’t believe it, you weren’t following the events live as Friday’s 5 p.m. EST approached.

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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