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Tag:DeMaurice Smith
Posted on: March 11, 2011 5:06 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 9:07 pm
 

NFLPA files decertification paperwork

Posted by Will Brinson

At 4:45 p.m., DeMaurice Smith announced to reporters the NFLPA had rejected the owners' most recent offer on a new CBA and the union was demanding 10 years of audited team financial statements by 5 p.m. Friday in order to agree to an extension of the CBA.

The league apparently didn't blink, and Smith and the union followed through with their plan to apply for decertification, having faxed the paperwork to Judge David Doty's office in Minnesota.

"The NFL Players Association it has informed the NFL, NFL clubs and other necessary parties that it has renounced its status as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the players of the National Football League," the NFLPA said in a statement. "The NFLPA will move forward as a professional trade association with the interest of protecting the current and former professional football players."

The union also faxed a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , informing him of the decision. In addition, NFLPlayers.com and NFLPA.org were shut down, their home pages set to "404 Error" messages that featured a new URL -- www.nfllockout.com.

This is relatively interesting, as the NFL hasn't actually decided to lock out the players yet, though they purportedly need to make a decision before midnight to either impose the last set of rules or lock the players out, the former which might result in free agency beginning right away .

Either way, mediation, for now, has ended.

"The parties have not achieved an overall agreement, nor have they been able to resolve the strongly held competing positions that separated them on core issues," mediator George Cohen said. "No useful purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue the mediation process at this time."

This means the NFLPA is no longer a union, but rather a trade association made up of many individuals. And it also means there's a strong likelihood the players will file an antitrust suit against the league. In fact, reports are beginning to leak out that the players have already filed suit against the NFL, and included some pretty big names as plaintiffs.

The NFL carried some pretty hefty public relation's spin in a lengthy statement of its own .

NFL Labor

No one is happy where we are now," NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash said. "I think we know where the commitment was. It was a commitment to litigate all along."

A league statement added: "The union left a very good deal on the table."

It said the offer included splitting the difference in the dispute over how much money owners should be given off the top of the league's revenues. Under the expiring CBA, the owners immediately got about $1 billion before dividing the remainder with the players; the owners originally were asking to roughly double that by getting an additional $1 billion up front.

Also in the NFL's offer, according to the league:
  • Maintaining the 16 regular-season games and four preseason games for at least two years, with any changes negotiable. 
  • Instituting a rookie wage scale through which money saved would be paid to veterans and retired players.
  • Creating new year-round health and safety rules.  
  • Establishing a fund for retired players, with $82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years.  
  • Financial disclosure of audited league and club profitability information that is not even shared with the NFL clubs.
As you can see, the NFL didn't pull any punches when it came to laying its full proposal (or purported proposal, at least) on the table for the media and the fans. Purported is important, too, because shortly after Pash addressed the media and said many of the same thing, a players' lawyer called him a "liar." 

Pash also said, surprisingly, that there has been no decision made on whether the league will lock the players out yet or not.

That's interesting from the perspective that no lockout would dramatically change the landscape of what we expect to see come down the pipe, but it also seems unlikely that the owners wouldn't take that stance.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: March 11, 2011 4:50 pm
 

NFLPA wants 10 years of financials for extension

Posted by Will Brinson

At 4:45 PM EST Friday, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith addressed the media and informed them of what the union was requiring from the owners in order to agree to an extension of the CBA: 10 years of audited financial documents.

"We met with the owners until about 4:00 today. We discussed a proposal that they had presented," Smith said. "At this time, significant differences continue to remain. We informed the owners that significant differences remain.

If there was going to be a request for an extension, we asked for 10 years of audited financial documents to accompany any extension and we told them to please let us know by 5:00 PM today."

With that, Smith might as well have slammed the mic and walked off, because the gauntlet was firmly thrown down and the ball placed in the owners' court.

But once again, it all comes down to whether the owners are willing to provide financial documents now or risk the possibility that such documents would be produced in legal discovery anyway. And they have about 10 minutes to make that call before the NFL as we know it disappears for a while.

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 3:23 pm
 

Report: Smith tells players plan is to decertify

Posted by Will Brinson

An update was expected from NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith at 2:00 PM EST Friday, but as it turns out, that update was only for the players.

And, on a conference call Friday afternoon, Smith has reportedly informed players that "the plan is to decertify," according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

As we mentioned earlier, the NFL reportedly presented a "revised" deal to the union on Friday.

And, most likely, that deal would either cause the players to decertify today (if it didn't provide enough concessions) or hammer out an extension (if it did).

Ergo, it seems likely that the NFL's proposal didn't meet what the union was looking for in terms of concessions on the "core issues."

Well, either that or the players do truly believe that decertification, and the resulting antitrust case that will result -- gives them the greatest opportunity to land the best deal out of the labor negotiations.
NFL Labor

They may be right. Or they may be crazy. And there might even still be time left before it actually matters -- as more and more reports of the decertification plan leak out, there's also a very guarded sense of optimism that things could still change between now (3:00-ish EST) and the deadline for decertification.

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


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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 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.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com