Tag:Lockout Letter
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.

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