Tag:DeMaurice Smith
Posted on: March 8, 2011 10:07 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 10:14 am

CBA talks from Tuesday: books not opened enough

Posted by Andy Benoit

Negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA on a new CBA may have hit a snag Tuesday. Or, better stated, they remained snagged. Judy Batista of the New York Times says that the union has rejeS. Fujita (US Presswire)cted the NFL’s offer to share more financial data.

This is nothing new. The NFLAP has been pining to see the owners’ financial books for two years. On Monday, owners indicated for the first time that they might be willing to share more financial information with union officials than what is required.

But that’s still not enough for the NFLPA. Batista writes, “One person involved in the negotiations called full financial disclosure a potential “silver bullet” in the negotiations.”

Reviewing the books is not necessarily common practice in labor negotiations. But since taking over, union leader DeMaurice Smith has argued that the uncommon circumstance of owners asking the players to take $1 billion less in revenue warrants such transparency.

NFLPA executive committee member Scott Fujita (Browns linebacker) said in a conference call that the data owners have offered up thus far has not been sufficient.

“It’s tough when you’ve got basically just a brief summary or a snapshot of all the information. That doesn’t satisfy what any competent business person would want to see.”

Both sides remained at the bargaining table on Tuesday and are expected to resume discussions Wednesday.

The negotiations Tuesday were said to center more around drug testing policy and offseason camps. Thus, the issue of dividing up that $9 billion in revenue remains, well, the most dividing issue.

NFL Labor

The NFLPA is dead serious about their demands to see the owners’ books. They’ve even gone so far as to hire an investment bank for a potential audit. That investment bank (which has not been specified) has gotten a glimpse of the past two years worth of financial statement summaries from owners but is said to need more information.

Make no mistake: splitting up the $9 billion in revenue is the key issue in these CBA talks. From the union’s perspective, financial transparency is the only avenue to those talks going further.


UPDATE Wednesday 10:15 a.m. EST: On his way into Wednesday’s negotiations, NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash said to NFL Network reporter Albert Breer that the league has made more financial info available to the union than ever before, and more than is even available to the clubs.

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 5:25 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 6:39 pm

NFLPA hires investment bank for potential audit

Posted by Will Brinson

Earlier Tuesday, we mentioned that the NFLPA is unlikely to continue dropping their percentage of shared revenue in CBA negotiations without seeing what the owners have under the proverbial hood.

Or, if you prefer, in the books.

So serious is the NFLPA about that request that, according to multiple reports, they've hired an international investment bank to help audit the owners' financial records.

"The players are serious about getting a deal done, and we need an accurate understanding of what the numbers actually mean," says executive committee member Scott Fujita, via Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated. "More importantly, if we don't get the full audited financial statements, we need to know what other information we need to make an informed decision. That's where this investment bank has been hired to help us out."

Again, we covered this earlier -- the NFLPA wouldn't be prudent to keep negotiating without actually understanding what they're negotiating against.

Additionally, Albert Breer of the NFL Network reports that the NFLPA brought "an auditor who the union has used for years" to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building at about 3:00 PM EST.

What does this all mean? Well, Trotter reports that the NFL has opened up its books (some) and "released summary financial statements from the past two years." Unfortunately, that doesn't take into account what the NFL owners were making before they started getting the original $1 billion credit off the top.

NFL Labor

Clearly, knowing the disparity between the numbers before and after that credit are pretty important for the players in determining whether or not the additional $1 billion is a fair request or not.

So, what it seems like is this: the owners gave up some of their financials, and the NFLPA used their go-to auditor to look at those documents. But, that auditor, just like any other normal person, can't accurately enough discern what the difference is pre- and post-credit without seeing more information.

The NFLPA has presumably hired a big-time firm to look over that additional information, but also made it clear -- by publicly announcing the hire -- just how important looking at those financial documents actually is; which is to say, very.

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 12:51 am

NFL, NFLPA adjourn early from mediation Monday

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL and NFLPA, as of 12:01 AM Tuesday, have one less day to solve the NFL's labor situation.

Fortunately, both sides are still heavily embroiled in negotiations, fighting through the night to make sure that the fans get ... WAIT, WHAT? They went WHERE? To dinner? And they never came back?!?!

Alright, I knew they left already. But they really did go to dinner and never come back, after only mediating for five hours.

Which is totally fine, if the entire fate of the NFL weren't hanging in the balance of this coming week (and, possibly, any time that's added onto the current CBA extension).

There is some good news, though -- our own Mike Freeman reports that there's no additional "acrimony" during the talks, and there are reports circulating that the two sides have narrowed the revenue gap from $1 billion to $750 million (or thereabouts).

It's also possible that the two sides will be meeting later in the evening if called by the mediator, but at this point in time (nearly 1:00 AM EST) that seems pretty unlikely. Plus, everyone probably had a long day traveling and they should all really rest up for the coming days of heavy mediation.

Actually, mediation will resume at 9:00 AM EST on Tuesday, and hopefully some headway will be made early in the morning when everyone's well rested.

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 8:06 am

Podcast: What happens if NFL mediation fails?

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL and NFLPA are set to begin a week's worth of mediation on the heels of Friday's seven-day extension. This series of non-binding negotiations could very well decide the future of professional sports in America, so I hopped on the horn with Matt Jones (of CBSSports.com's Eye on College Basketball Blog, but, more importantly, a lawyer who specializes in labor negotiations) to talk about the current labor climate.

Matt's the one who inked our lockout primer, so he knows a thing or two about how things will go down. We break legal aspects of a potential lockout into layman's terms, discuss what would happen under the "nuclear" option of a lockout, debate whether or not this mediation is working, hypothesize about the possibility of an NFL world with no salary cap or draft, and criticize the current political landscape for NFL owners.

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 4, 2011 3:35 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 3:39 pm

De Smith, Goodell looking forward to next week

D. Smith and R. Goodell are still talking. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

About an hour after the NFL owners and the NFLPA agreed to a one-week extension , commissioner Roger Goodell and union executive director DeMaurice Smith addressed the media (at dueling times, no less!).

Based on the recommendations of mediator George Cohen – who inexplicably referred to himself in the third person at least twice when he briefly addressed the media – neither official discussed the negotiations, how far they’ve come or how far they still have to go.

But the words that emanated from their mouths seemed somewhat positive (the owners, after all, already could have locked out the players, and the union could have decertified).

“We’ve continued to work,” Goodell said, “and the fact we’re continuing this dialogue is a positive thing.”

Smith talked a little bit more about the NFLPA’s motivations – not surprisingly, he meant the players and the fans.

“I think it's very important to recognize and never forget what we've talked about over the last two years what the league has demanded back and what the players have responded to. I'm not going to talk about what's going on in the mediation session, but when you look at the case caption that Judge Doty just ruled on, the 4th name on that caption is Dave Duerson.

“That's our history. He signed on to benefit players he knew would come after him. what we do is hold firm and keep close to our chest the history and legacy we have. We believe that's the legacy that has to carry us through that defines what "us" is.”

If you want to watch Smith’s full presser, click right over here.

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 2:46 pm

Wednesday mediation goes 'better than expected'?

Posted by Will Brinson

Wednesday's mediation session between the NFL and the NFLPA -- which featured some bigger names than previous meetings -- has ended. And, reportedly, it wasn't THAT horrible apparently.

That's from a source of Sports Illustrated's Don Banks, who said that the talks went "better than expected."

Of course, that's a relative term, considering that less than 24 hours ago, the NFLPA was celebrating a tremendous victory in the TV rights case thanks to an overturned verdict from Judge David Doty.

Mediation is set to resume on Thursday (presumably the final day, because of the CBA's expiration at 11:59 PM EST on Thursday night) and the league has adjourned to Chantilly, Virginia for an owners meeting.

But as Clark Judge reports, the owners might not stay very long. (Read: not all of the owners, who were in mediation Wednesday, are planning to hang around for Thursday's action.)

That may not matter anyway though, because it's entirely possible, as our own Mike Freeman wrote earlier Wednesday, that a lockout and/or decertification is coming down the proverbial tracks, and there's nothing that can be done to stop it.

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 11:34 am

Source: Decertification likely coming Thursday

Posted by Mike Freeman

Barring some sort of last-second miracle the NFL union will likely decertify sometime Thursday, according to a source familiar with the union's thinking.

Again, things could change but this news is the most concrete example of how fruitless the mediation talks have become. It's possible even if there is some sort of temporary extension of mediation the union will still likely decertify on Thursday.

So the lockout is coming. Decertification is coming. Unless the Easter Bunny works some magic with his chocolate candies and help from his unicorns and elves homies.

Decertification has certain risks but overall is a smart strategy for the union. It blocks owners from locking out players and moves the dispute from the realm of negotiations to the court system where players have had success. Owners could face lawsuits and treble damages if players are subsequently successful in court.

So that's where we are. For now. Hopefully things will change but this legal fight is just beginning.

This entry 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.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:13 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 2:39 pm

NFL/NFLPA exec committees in mediation Wednesday

Posted by Will Brinson

Wednesday's mediation session between the NFL and NFLPA has a different tone, just based on attendance -- the entire 10-man owner executive committee, including lead negotiators Jerry Richardson of the Panthers and Pat Bowlen of the Broncos, is in Washington.

Art Rooney of the Steelers, John Mara of the Giants, Jerry Jones of the Cowboys, Dean Spanos of the Chargers, Mike Brown from the Bengals, Robert Kraft from the Patriots and Mark Murphy, Packers CEO, are the additional members of the executive committee.

Also in Washington are players like Kevin Mawae, Drew Brees and Tony Richardson. All of that's to say that there's a significantly greater number of movers and shakers in D.C. for the next-to-last day of mediation.

Per usual, though, that doesn't necessarily mean much for those seeking optimistic news out of the mediated talks.

Per Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal, Jeff Pash, the VP of Labor for the NFL, told the media it was possible for the two sides to "stop the clock" on the expiring CBA and elect to extend the deadline for negotiations.

Pash also reiterated the league's statement that Tuesday's decision from Judge Doty doesn't affect their plans for spending at all (even though that's fairly difficult to believe, if only because $4 billion is a lot of money and taking it in or out of a budget typically makes a difference for anyone.)

But the end source for optimism for anyone rooting for no lockout is an extension of the CBA past the 11:59 deadline on Thursday night. And even that seems like too much to hope for right now.

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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