Tag:NFL Labor
Posted on: January 26, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: January 26, 2011 9:57 am

Goodell to take $1 salary if work stoppage occurs

Posted by Will Brinson

According to a letter that Roger Goodell sent to the NFL owners, there are major financial changes coming to the league office should a work stoppage occur.

Most prominently, according to the NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora, is Roger Goodell's salary being reduced to $1 (that's right: one dollar) in the event of a work stoppage.

Additionally, Jeff Pash, the chief negotiator for the league, will have his salary reduced to $1 if there's a work stoppage, upon his personal request.

VP's in the league office, according to the letter, will hold back 10 percent of their bonuses, Senior VP's will hold back 25 percent of their bonuses and Executive VP's will hold back 35 percent of their bonuses -- the amounts won't be paid until a new CBA is reached.

And, finally, annual bonuses for league office staff won't be paid until April.

But what does this all mean? Well, for starters, the lockout is getting close -- you can tell because the PR spinning has gotten ramped up in anticipation of the world's football media being all in one place over the next two weeks (Dallas for the Super Bowl, obviously).

And the word "work stoppage" is very interesting -- does that mean that Goodell's salary will become $1 as soon as the current CBA expires at the beginning of March? Or does that mean "if there's no football in 2011, the Commish only gets paid $1?"

Either way, there's a clear-cut emphasis by the league office to make it known that they too will suffer financially if there's a work stoppage. They just won't suffer as much as the players, who'll get $0 if that happens. Of course, on the bright side, every hard-working, NFL-watching fan will see a significant bump in salary without having to shell out for season tickets, Sunday Ticket, team jerseys, and all the other NFL-related amenities that come with being a fan of the sport.

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Posted on: January 5, 2011 6:36 pm

NFL fires back at Antonio Pierce

Posted by Andy Benoit

Admit it: when you first heard Antonio Pierce’s suggestion that players take a firm stand in the CBA negotiations by walking out on the playoffs, you were a little bit intrigued. You probably thought, “That would never happen in a million years.” Then, you probably thought “…but what if it did?”

Pierce’s idea – which was just something he seemed to lob out there – got the NFL’s attention, too. We’ll just pass along exactly what the league executives posted on NFLlabor.com, since they seemed to do a fine job of making this debate embarrassingly one-sided.

With all due respect to Antonio Pierce, who was an outstanding player for the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, a player walkout during the playoffs would not help secure a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Nor do alliances with the AFL-CIO, Congressional interventions constantly sought by the union, or esoteric legal maneuvers, all in search of some kind of illusory leverage.
Here are a few additional facts:

• Playoff games are included in the revenue that goes into the share that determines player compensation and benefits under the CBA. Additional compensation for players that participate in playoff games also comes out of that 60 percent player share of Total Revenue as defined in the CBA.

• A “walk out” is a violation of the CBA.  As spelled out on page 10 of the CBA, “Neither the NFLPA nor any of its members will engage in any strike, work stoppage, or other concerted action interfering with the operations of the NFL or any Club for the duration of this Agreement.”

George Attalah, spokesman for the NFLPA, later tweeted a response: “A player expresses his opinion and the league goes into overkill mode. What are they afraid of? We've already guaranteed no strike.”

Isn’t labor strife fun?

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Category: NFL
Posted on: January 3, 2011 12:30 pm

Roger Goodell's latest message to the fans

Posted by Andy Benoit

With the 2010 regular season over and the postseason now here, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took the opportunity to write a letter to the fans Monday morning. In the letter, Goodell said that a new CBA would get done. He did not offer any specifics or new information though (not that he was necessarily expected to).

In the letter, Goodell trumpeted player safety, the 18-game schedule and a rookie wage scale. His straight talk about the rookie wage scale was most interesting:

It’s not just the health of players that concerns us. We must ensure the health of the league. That includes a new system that properly compensates proven veterans and retired players by shifting some of the outrageous sums paid to many unproven rookies. Earlier this year, Sports Illustrated published a list of the 50 highest-paid American athletes that included five 2009 NFL rookies. Every other athlete on the list was a proven veteran. In 2009, NFL clubs contracted $1.2 billion to 256 drafted rookies with $585 million guaranteed before they had stepped on an NFL field.

Don’t get me wrong: top draft choices will continue to be highly paid. All we’re asking for is a return to common sense in paying our rookies. Other leagues have done this and we can too.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: December 16, 2010 1:35 am

Goodell slings optimistic rhetoric on labor deal

Posted by Will Brinson

FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- The NFL's labor negotiations (we'll upgrade them to "crisis" immediately following the Super Bowl, for those keeping score at home) have a chance of being completed by the end of the postseason.

That's the word from the owners' meetings in Fort Worth, according to Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"I don't think it's practical by the end of the regular season," Goodell said following the owners meetings. "We'll certainly work day and night to do that. I think the end of the postseason is realistic if we all work hard at it."

But if there's a reason for optimism regarding the labor negotiations, it wasn't being provided to the public from any of the NFL owners.

Patriots owner Bob Kraft earlier this season provided substantial optimism for the labor deal to be completed before the end of the season. On Wednesday, the only comment he would provide was, "The Packers are good!" (the Patriots play them Sunday, and he said it smiling and yes, it was funny). Goodell was more than willing, though, to provide a passive aggressive dispute of Kraft's previous statement.

"I don't expect it to happen in December," Goodell said. "I don't know if that's what Mr. Kraft said -- I think he said at the end of the season but I'm not sure if he meant the end of the regular season or the postseason. But you'll have to ask Mr. Kraft about that."

Whatever Kraft meant, there was clearly a signal crossed earlier in the year. That wasn't the case this time around in Fort Worth, when most owners appeared more inclined to silence than anything else.

Kraft offered no opinions on the labor negotiations, Dan Snyder bolted the Omni like he was headed for a Mission: Impossible premiere (sunglasses and all), Jerry Jones was actually unseen in his hometown, and any of the owners asked about the labor negotiations offered simply generic musings on what might happen, leaving only Goodell to offer cautious optimism of a new deal.

"The reality is, there are discussions going on but as I've said, it takes productive dialogue and we've got to get to that kind of place where we're making significant progress and get an agreement," Goodell said. "And I think it's a positive sign that we're having dialogue. But as I said it's not just about meetings or dialogues it's about getting real, significant progress on the key issues."

That's not to say that the NFL owners are at fault here, because, as always, it takes two to tango.

Asked whether he thinks the NFLPA feels the same urgency that the owners do, Goodell said, "I hope so."

That's the biggest problem though -- in order to find urgency, the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association need to be faced with a direct deadline regarding labor negotiations and stare the possibility of alienating fans in the face. Right now, that means that early March is the only looming date on the calendar.

"I don't have a deadline," Goodell said. "I believe that this becomes harder after the [CBA] expires, which is March 4. I've read comments about internal deadlines from the NFLPA and I'm not sure what that is.

"From our standpoint, we don't have a deadline other than to get this done as soon as possible."

The good news, though, is that Goodell and the owners do understand the danger in angering the consumer.

"Absolutely," Goodell said when asked if he was concerned with alienating fans. "That's why we all want to get it done. And that's why we're completely focused and make it the highest priority -- the fans want football. That's what we all need to continue to make sure we do, to bring football to our fans."

"I think I've been very clear that when there's uncertainty, that's not a good thing. It's not a good thing for the fans, it's not a good thing for your business partners, it's not a good thing for revenue going down the path. It could be damaging to the game and that's something we're trying to avoid."

Goodell also acknowledged how complex the current collective bargaining agreement has become.

"Well, it's labor negotiations and I think one of the efforts that both sides want to achieve is the simplicity of the agreement, because this has become a very complex agreement," Goodell said. "And there's an effort to simplify the agreement and that's a key priority for both sides."

Unfortunately, the complexity of labor negotiations aren't something that translate well to fans. Fans care about ticket prices, concessions, quality of their team's play and, most importantly, whether there's football on the field or not.

Right now, regardless of how many optimistic keywords the NFL (and the NFLPA) want to sling around, it doesn't appear there's a strong movement towards getting a deal done.

That's not to say that Goodell is bluffing with his Super Bowl deadline, it's just that he said himself it will take legitimate sit-down/hash-it-out negotiations in order to make something happen, and right now, that's not taking place.

And until it does, there is a very real danger that there won't be football in 2011.

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Posted on: November 30, 2010 11:35 am
Edited on: November 30, 2010 12:16 pm

NFL to offer refund on 2011 locked out tickets

Posted by Will Brinson

If the NFL eventually ends up in a serious labor issue (for purposes of the post, "serious" means "missing regular season games"), there's going to be a big problem with tickets, because plenty of them will have already been purchased.

To that extent, the NFL has announced that it, as first reported by Michael McCarthy of USA Today, will offer a full refund on all general admission tickets purchased to any preseason or regular games that are cancelled by a work stoppage.

Downside: this won't extend to PSL's, club tickets or luxury boxes. Those choices will be determined by each of the NFL's 32 clubs on an individual basis.

The NFL estimated that, based on this policy, it will pay out between $7 and $8 million per game that's refunded -- which is a nice number to throw around for public support, especially when you multiply it by 16 games per week.

Season ticket holders will have a choice as to how they want their refund -- either in the method they paid (credit card refund, check, etc.) or as a credit for future ticket purchases (which seems less awesome in these economic times). Fans who buy individual tickets have the same options -- a refund or a credit towards a future purchase, and both groups will be reimbursed "no later than 30 days after the final determination of how many games will be played" in 2011.

It's a smart policy, for two reasons. First, if folks think they won't get a refund for purchasing tickets, there's zero chance they'll gamble on the NFL playing games in 2011 by planning trips to see their favorite teams. And secondly, this adds to the hypothetical losses the NFL is incurring in a hypothetical situation where there's no football being played in 2011; currying fan favor is critical in terms of the PR battle over the labor negotiations, and the NFL would be silly not to appear to incur losses on this while also acting generously towards the everyday fan.

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Posted on: November 24, 2010 7:32 pm

18-game schedule appears certain now

Posted by Andy Benoit

NFL.com ran a “Breaking News” banner across the top of its home page Wednesday night. The breaking news? According to Jason La Canfora, the league and NFLPA had a very positive discussion about the 18-game season. (The fact that the discussion took place Monday probably means this news isn’t “breaking”, but hey, can you blame the league for wanting to capitalize on a positive labor story for a change?)

In short, it looks like a virtual guarantee that the 18-game season will happen. In exchange, the players want less offseason commitments and less contact in practices. The idea is that the decrease in non-game contact will even out the impact of two more regular season games.

La Canfora writes,” The source said a great deal of progress must be made before the sides are close to an agreement, but the pace of the negotiations could be accelerating. There's no word on when the next talks will be held.”

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 17, 2010 3:42 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2010 4:40 pm

CBA impacting agents

Orlando Ledbetter in the Atlanta Journal Constitution has an interesting article on the large number of agents based in Georgia. In all, there are 38 NFL Players Association-certified agents based in the state, with some $200 million worth of contract negotiations to their name. Among those 38 are major power brokers like Pat Dye, David Dunn and Todd France.

Georgia is a hotspot for agents because it’s close to Florida and most of the SEC schools, which is the prime location for agents to locate new clients.

But the focus of Ledbetter’s article is on how the NFL’s labor strife impacts agent.

"I struggle with the idea that we can't figure out how to split up an $8 billion a year pie," Dye said. "But the reality is that [a lockout] certainly is a possibility."

Some of the key issues to be hashed out include a rookie salary cap, an extended 18-game season, veteran benefits, insurance benefits, steroids testing, defined gross revenues and revenue sharing.

One of the biggest hurdles will be the rookie salary cap.

Agents must be particularly concerned about a rookie cap, considering the huge chunk of change they take away from mega contracts that are awarded to first-round clients.

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 30, 2010 6:04 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2010 6:22 pm

Recent De Smith and Goodell Meeting

Alex Marvez of Fox Sports is reporting that De Smith and Roger Goodell recently met and discussed, among other things, the idea of an 18-game schedule. Smith told Fox Sports that the Union is looking for a Collective Bargaining Agreement that would run through 2016. The last CBA was also for six years.

Smith also took advantage of the opportunity to call on the NFL to release more of its financial information. Marvez offers the details:

Such information is especially important to the NFLPA because Smith claims the league is demanding an 18 percent reduction in player salaries. NFL executive vice president/legal counsel Jeff Pash has said Smith’s contention is a “misrepresentation” of the league’s proposal. Pash said the $1 billion generated by a new split of applied revenues between the two parties would be reinvested toward business stratagems designed to produce more money for both sides. Pash also said that player salaries wouldn’t necessarily be affected. The league generated roughly $9 billion in 2009 with a 52-to-48 percent overall revenue split between the NFLPA and NFL.

R.Goodell (US Presswire)
--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
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