Tag:NFL Lockout
Posted on: March 19, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: March 19, 2011 2:11 pm

Players write a letter back to Goodell

Posted by Andy Benoit

UPDATE 2:10 p.m. EST: The NFL has written a response to the players' response. You can read it here.


The NFLPA wrote a letter to Roger Goodell, responding to his letter from Thursday. We were planning on posting the entire thing. That was before we found out the NFLPA’s letter was actually a novella. (It’s over four pages long.)
So, instead, here are highlights

*The letter starts by saying “We start by reminding you that we were at the negotiations and know the truth about what happened, which ultimately led the players to renounce the NFLPA’s status as the collective bargaining representative of NFL Players.” (And yes, they included the bold.)

*“Owners never justified their demands for a massive give-back which would have resulted in the worst economic deal for player sin major league pro sports.”

*“Your statements are false.”

*“The changes in offseason workouts and other benefits to players were conditioned upon the players accepting an economic framework that was unjustified and unfair.”

*The proposal made on the final Friday of negotiations was “was worse than the proposal the NFL had made the prior week"

NFL Labor

*Goodell’s financial projections greatly underestimated the league’s likely growth over the next 10 years.

*Goodell was only taking the 18-game season off the table for 2011. (The players’ logic on this one is a little hard to follow given that the league, in its latest proposal, offered to only extend the regular season with the union’s permission).

*The rookie wage scale would hurt future teammates (i.e. young players who are just coming into the league).

**The letter was signed by the NFLPA executive committee (Charlie Batch, Kevin Mawae, Drew Brees, Scott Fujita, Mike Vrabel, Brian Dawkins, Tony Richardson, Sean Morey, Jeff Saturday, Brian Waters and Domonique Foxworth.)

You can read the entire letter (novella) at NFLLockout.com.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 19, 2011 9:45 am

Start you weekend with some NFLPA & NFL nonsense

Posted by Andy Benoit

In a recent sit down interview with ESPN’s George Hill, NFLPA executive committee members Mike Vrabel, Drew Brees, Domonique Foxworth, Brian Dawkins and Jeff Saturday told their side of several of the stories that have come to define the acrimonious labor negotiations.

One of the things Vrabel said was that the players would love to get back to the negotiating table . . . as long as it’s Jerry Jones, Bob Kraft, Jerry Richardson and other owners seated at that table, not owners and their cadre of lawyers and negotiators. Vrabel specifically said no Jeff Pash.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello responded: “The NFL’s negotiating team — accompanied by the three owners (Vrabel) mentioned, Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson and Robert Kraft — is prepared to meet immediately. Just tell us when and where.”

Of course, this was hardly a response at all, as the NFL’s negotiating team includes Roger Goodell and Pash.

In the end, it’s more verbal posturing by two sides that everyone is starting to root against.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 9:50 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2011 10:06 pm

Offseason workouts take on different tenor

Posted by Andy Benoit

With the doors locked at team facilities, players have to organize their own offseason workouts. You’ve probably heard stories here and there about players making arrangements to train witD. Brees (US Presswire)h teammates (off the top my head, Josh Freeman and a few Bucs, Michael Vick and a few Eagles, Dallas Clark and a few Colts, Kyle Vanden Bosch and a few Lions and Drew Brees and a few Saints come to mind).

These workouts are not the same as true offseason team workouts, of course. For one, there’s no coaching guidance. For two, it’s not Drew Brees and the Saints working out…it’s Drew Brees and A FEW Saints. These are more player-organized positional workouts than player-organized team workouts. But, boutique offseason programs are better than nothing.

The fact that Brees is organizing workouts indicates that the NFLPA is OK with players setting up their own OPA’s (Organized Player Activities – you like it?).

Jim Corbett of USA Today asked people around the league about offseason preparations in the event of a lockout. He shrewdly went to former Redskins GM Charley Casserly, who observed firsthand how organizations get ahead during a work stoppage. The Redskins, after all, won titles after the strike-shortened ’82 season and the three-week replacement players ordeal in the ’87 season.

"A number of teams have already employed the Redskins strategy before this started," Casserly said. "They had team meetings, gave outlines to players, discussed strategy for workouts."

We know the Cowboys did that with new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in February. You can bet they weren’t the only team that had extensive meetings that month.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 6:33 pm

Giants throw their fans a bone during lockout

Posted by Andy Benoit

Should NFL season-ticket holders have to pay to renew their seats while the NFL is locked out? Depends which team you ask. The Patriots say yes. So do 30 other teams. All are willing to repay fans, with interest, in the event that the 2011 season does not happen. (Credit Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter for pointing this out. The intrepid Trotter organized a review of all 32 teams' season-ticket policies.)

Only one team is willing to wait and have fans pay them once a 2011 season is assured. You can probably guess from the headline that that team is the New York Giants. John Mara broke this news himself to Mike Francesa of WFAN radio.

The Mara and Tisch families are well-respected around the league and in the New York/New Jersey community because of business practices like these.

For what it's worth, the Panthers, owned by powerful executive committee member Jerry Richardson, are willing to accept only a 10 percent payment until the lockout is lifted.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 5:15 pm

A lost season in 2011 would cost DirecTV HUGE

Posted by Andy Benoit

If the 2011 NFL season gets does not get “unlocked out”, you can bet that plenty of people will be cancelling their DirecTV subscriptions (let’s face it…most of us football fans have, at one time or another, pined for an opportunity to do just that, given the way the satellite provider subtly increases its monthly fees a dollar or two at a time).

Even if DirecTV doesn’t see a wave of complete cancellations in the event of no football being played, they’d obviously still lose all their NFL Sunday Ticket subscriptions. This, according to Alex Sherman of Bloomberg.com, would cost DirecTV $600-750 million in revenue. And that doesn’t include the missed opportunity of bringing in new subscribers.

“We’re optimistic that we will be fine,” Michael White, DirecTV’s chief executive officer, said. “Our hope is that somewhere between now and the summer, this gets resolved, hopefully sooner rather than later.”

In the event that everything does not turn out fine, thanks to Judge David Doty, at least White’s company would not have to pay the NFL $402 million. Of course, Doty could rule that networks must still make those payments and that owners have to share the revenue with players.

Needless to say, DirecTV, like all the NFL’s television partners, is praying for a positive outcome.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 16, 2011 1:54 pm

Rookie symposium in danger

Posted by Mike Freeman

While not as sexy a target as the NFL Draft the incoming rookies might also stay away from a recent NFL staple: the rookie symposium.

Several agents tell CBSSports.com they expect officials from the former union to ask them not to send players to the symposium. Indeed, these sources explained, agents expect the NFLPA to have its own type of rookie symposium should no settlement be reached or court action taken that would institute a season.

The symposium, normally held in June, is viewed by the league as a major instructional tool for incoming players on how to deal with the financial and relationship pressures they'll face as players. In 2009, for example, then incoming union head DeMaurice Smith spoke to the rookies. Normally current and former veteran players talk to the rookies; head coaches, too.

Agents say the symposium, in its current form, is likely all but dead unless some sort of agreement is reached. I know this has been discussed before by the media but it's being talked about again now.

Also, regarding the possible boycott of the upcoming draft, spokesman George Atalah tweeted there would be no "boycott" but agents said that, effectively, there will indeed be a boycott. While players and families will be in New York for the draft it's likely they won't be on stage with Commissioner Roger Goodell. The draft will look extremely different.

This post was 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 .
Category: NFL
Tags: NFL lockout
Posted on: March 16, 2011 9:02 am

How will Raymond James make up the difference?

With a lockout, the Raymond James Stadium revenues would decrease (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Buccaneers find themselves in a bit of a quandary.

They don’t want to market the players the NFL owners have locked out, but they also might want to help figure out a way to make up for what surely will be a huge drop in revenues at Raymond James Stadium.

On one hand, Tampa Bay, as reported in the St. Petersburg Times , has taken down, rolled up and put into storage eight oversized pictures featuring players like QB Josh Freeman so those images can’t be used for marketing purposes (probably, also because it’s a mild kick to the gut to the players).

On the other hand, the Buccaneers, as the Tampa Tribune writes, expect the Tampa Stadium Authority to raise prices on non-NFL games in order to make up for a shortfall in revenue.

On the first story, the removal of the pictures is not coincidental to the lockout that began last week. As Bucs spokesman Jonathan Grella told the Times, "all signs pointed to now being the time.”

As far as the new revenue stream for those who run Raymond James, the Tribune reports the Tampa Sports Authority – which operates the stadium – is worried about losing as much as $800,000 in the event of a lockout. That’s why the authority is thinking about adding an extra $5 fee to parking for non-Bucs events and a 15 percent charge on concessions.

Of course, there’s also this:

The other option was for the Bucs to make up the stadium shortfall. The team has agreed to pay to cover the potential gap so the sports authority doesn't have to tack on the extra surcharges.

The team is asking the sports authority to reimburse it out of future stadium ticket surcharges. The issue will come up at a Tampa City Council meeting Thursday, because the team and the sports authority need the city and Hillsborough County to approve the deal.

"We're committed to ensuring that our community will not be subjected to additional TSA surcharges in the event of a shortfall," Bucs spokesman Jonathan Grella said. "That said, we continue to be optimistic that we will have a 2011 NFL season and are preparing for the season to take place.”

NFL Labor
But if not, take heed.

For all you who have tickets to see Kenny Chesney (March 19 at Raymond James), the USA vs. Panama CONCACAF Gold cup match (June 11) or (naturally) the Monster Jam Monster Truck Racing event (Jan. 21), expect that the Tampa Sports Authority (and indirectly, the Bucs) might try to pass the savings shortfalls onto you!

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 15, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2011 5:38 pm

Ryan Clark goes to town on owners

Posted by Andy Benoit
R. Clark (US Presswire)
Adrian Peterson had some very harsh words about NFL owners on Tuesday, but Ryan Clark may have done him one better. The Steelers safety (and respected player rep) recently spoke with KDKA-FM.
Steelers Rapid Reporter Chuck Finder passed along some of the quotes.
In the interview, Clark took a shot at hereditary owners, including his own. “The difference between us and the owners is, my daddy didn’t give me this job. . . . When I leave this game, I can’t give my jersey to [son] Jordan and tell him to play,” he said. “There are going to be [the Giants’] Maras and Rooneys and all these guys forever who own these teams.”

He reiterated that the CBA is all about money. “We’re not going to play 18 games. That’s not even part of why we don’t have a CBA. You know if they get that money, they don’t care if we play 14 games. That CBA is not getting done because of the money.”

As for what he
NFL Labor
thinks about NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash and the league’s proposal on Friday? “There were a lot of things that were brought to us ... it was just insane for us to think about taking. Pash actually just got on TV and lied [about financial statements and proposals]. I think it was extremely clever word play by an obviously deceitful man.”

Clark said he wanted to apologize to fans but couldn’t because the players were never even presented with a reasonable deal. “If there’s a way we can play football and not be a victim of robbery, we’ll be out there,” he said. “But we can’t make the owners come to us and give us a fair deal. It’s something that has to be negotiated; it’s going to take some time.”

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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