Tag:DeMaurice Smith
Posted on: February 10, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 5:01 pm

What caused the NFL and NFLPA to walk out?

Posted by Will Brinson

Great question -- and no one can know the answer until either Roger Goodell/Greg Aiello or DeMaurice Smith/George Atallah let the world know, which they probably won't, because it would be disastrous for negotiations.

However, there are several reports out there that indicate various proposals were made to the NFL by the NFLPA, and those caused a breakdown in talks.

First up, the NFPA, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, offered to split of "all revenue" 50/50 with the league. (Important to note here is that there's a difference in what's recognized as "all revenue" and "total revenue" -- it's like "gross" versus "net" and net/total is achieved, right now, by the owners taking a $1 billion credit off the top.)

Reportedly, the union told the owners they'd stop asking to look inside the owners' financial books if the owners agreed to simply split "all revenue," which would mean no more $1 billion credit off the top, and certainly no $2 billion credit that the owners are seeking under a new CBA.

Needless to say, this could be perceived as a very good reason why negotiations broke down.

But there were also, according to Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post, significant discrepancies in other areas. Namely, the rookie wage scale and length of rookie contracts.

Brandt reports that the proposal on the rookie from the NFLPA limited rookie contracts to four years for players drafted in rounds 1-3, three years for rounds 4-7 and had a cap on incentives and savings to veterans. He also notes this was formally rejected by the NFL this week, as the league wants a wage scale, no negotiations, five-year contracts for players taken in the first round and four-year contracts for those taken in every other round.

Making matters worse, per Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal, is the union's interpretation of the rookie wage scale proposed by ownership -- according to Mullen, a memo from DeMaurice Smith called the proposal a "veteran wage scale" because it affects "60 percent" of NFL players in the league with its length.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post obtained a copy of that memo -- in it, Smith tells players that "what is new [in the NFL's proposal] mostly makes the proposal worse not only for rookies but for veteran players with three to five years in the league -- the core of our membership."

The memo also refers to the wage scale as "rigid" and indicates it would "destroy the benefits of free agency for most veteran players." Maske notes that Smith's memo lays out the NFL's proposal for precise financial compensation, setting the rookie minimum salary at: $285,000 in 2011, $375,000 in 2012, $460,000 in 2013 and $545,000 in 2013.

To clarify the stark difference in what each side wants, here's a financial example: with the NFLPA proposal, the ninth-overall pick would receive $18 million over four years. Under the NFL proposal, the ninth-overall pick would receive $8.6 million over five years.

Labor negotiations are ridiculously complicated, but you don't have to be a math major to figure out just how far apart the two sides are right now. And the fact that the rookie wage scale won't be fully addressed until the division of the full "pie" (read: all and/or total revenue) is solved is further proof that there's plenty of labor discussion and hand-wringing over the NFL's situation ahead.

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Posted on: February 10, 2011 9:22 am
Edited on: February 10, 2011 9:43 am

Report: Thursday CBA meeting cancelled

Posted by Will Brinson

During the Super Bowl, the NFL and NFLPA scheduled some "intensive" meetings for this week. Now, Thursday's meeting -- the second of the week -- has reportedly been cancelled.

That's according to ESPN's Adam Schefter who reports that things went so poorly on Wednesday that the two sides decided not to meet again Thursday.

"We are not confirming, denying or commenting on CBA meetings at this point," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in response to the report. "We are focusing on getting an agreement."

As if that weren't damaging enough to the potential for actually seeing football in 2011, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that next week's ownership meeting has been cancelled as well.

The assumption of his source -- and it seems like a good one -- is that Roger Goodell has no need to meet with the owners as there won't have been any new developments in the CBA discussions thanks to the cancellation of the meetings.

"The commissioner canceled the meeting because he did not see a need for it right now," an NFL rep confirmed to Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal.

But why was Thursday's CBA session cancelled? Well, that's not exactly clear.

Theoretically, it could have been cancelled for good reasons -- too much progress? -- but when two sides walk away from the negotiating table, it's typically not good news.

And it seems more likely that the sides are far apart, and that whatever sense of urgency to negotiate that the week in Dallas brought on has since been discarded as they stare into the future and try to bridge a very long gap.

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Posted on: February 3, 2011 5:56 pm

NFLPA has its turn on Super Bowl week

Posted by Andy Benoit
D. Smith (US Presswire)
DALLAS -- The Houston B-C room on the third floor of the Sheraton was not in compliance with fire code when DeMaurice Smith took the podium for the NFLPA press conference. Smith repeatedly preached the “Let us play!” stance to the throng of reporters, players, well-wishers and observers.

On stage with Smith were NFLPA leader Kevin Mawae, kicker Jay Feeley and the legendary Barry Sanders.

Smith’s tune was not any happier than NFL negotiator Jeff Pash’s was yesterday. Both sides are prepared for a lockout. Smith indicated that in that event the Union would be ready to decertify and go to court.

Regarding an 18-game schedule, Smith said, according to Pro Football Talk, “Any change in the season that increases the risk of injury, increases the risk of concussion, increases the risk of a long-term consequence of playing football, has the potential to shorten careers...anything that does that is not in the interests or the best interests of the players in the National Football League. That’s going to be our position.”

Smith and his colleagues spent much of the press conference emphasizing that fans would be hurt in the event of a work-stoppage. In other words, standard labor negotiating tactics…

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:04 pm

NFL Alumni wants to be heard

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

DALLAS – George Martin, the executive director and president of the NFL Alumni, had made his speech this afternoon and had highlighted his points in front of a small gathering of NFL media and former players during a news conference.

Before he took questions, though, he pointed toward the video screen in a third-floor ballroom at the Sheraton-Dallas Convention Center.

Up popped a video of coaching and playing legend Mike Ditka – who’s been an outspoken critic of how the current NFL establishment treats the players who competed 40, 50 and 60 years ago.

Ditka – who seemingly can inspire the person listening to him to do something or anything in any setting – punctuated his interview with this: “The pension is not fair. Period.”

And from there, some of the former players in attendance – Pro Football HOFer Mike Haynes, Carl Mauck and Tom Nowatzke were a few of them – perked up, and the rest of the NFL Alumni got into the rhythm of the presser.

Nowatzke was nearly moved to tears and had to compose himself when talking about a former colleague who died after his brain had turned to “mush” from taking so many hits during his playing days. Mauck exclaimed, “We are not going away. When one of us dies, we’re going to pick up the baton and keep trucking.” And Martin discussed how Ditka receives no health care from the NFL and remarked, “That, to me, is telling. That, to me, is troublesome. That, to me, must change. … If not now, when?"

The wishlist for Martin and the NFL Alumni includes an increase in pension benefits and long-term health care for its former players. And he wants to continue drawing attention to his group, particularly when commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith are not talking about issues that affect the NFL Alumni.

That’s why he’s sending a GPS device to Smith and Goodell with the address of the NFL Alumni’s office preprogrammed into it. Sure, it’s a stunt, but Martin also is trying to send a message.

“Anytime they want to add us to the discussion, they know where to find us,” Martin said. “Or call us, and we’ll be there.”

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Posted on: January 31, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 5:31 pm

NFL and NFLPA intensify negotiations in Dallas

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- The only thing more ominous than the weather in Dallas is the looming threat of an NFL lockout -- there's a little sliver of light on the horizon though, because the NFL and NFLPA announced on Monday afternoon their intention to ramp up negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith released a joint statement Monday after meeting in New York earlier in the day.

"As part of a process to intensify negotiations, they agreed to hold a formal bargaining session w\both negotiating teams Sat in Dallas," the statement from spokesman Greg Aiello read. "They also agreed to a series of meetings over the next few weeks, both formal bargaining sessions & smaller group meetings, in an effort to reach a new agreement by early March."

The skeptic could ask: "What took so long?"

And while much of the discussion heretofore has been pointless public rhetoric aimed at swinging the PR pendulum in the favor of one side or the other, a private meeting between Goodell and Smith, followed by a joint statement means good things for fans of football.

Does it mean that a labor deal will be done by the Super Bowl? Um, no.

Does it mean that a labor deal will be done by the early March deadline? That's optimistic, but it's certainly a possibility.

The reality is, there's no precise timetable for when the labor deal will get done and things could still come down to the wire. But right now, that's beside the point, because the NFL and the NFLPA are doing the most important thing here by sitting down at the table and talking.

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Posted on: January 26, 2011 3:43 pm

DeMaurice Smith also willing to take a salary cut

Posted by Will Brinson

Earlier Wednesday, Roger Goodell sent a letter to NFL owners indicating that he (and a number of other NFL employees) would take a serious salary cut if there was a work stoppage.

DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, has one-upped him.

"NFL executives reducing salaries in the event of a lockout? If we have a deal by Super Bowl, I'll go down to 68 cents," Smith tweeted Wednesday.

Of course, it's much, much more likely that there's no "work stoppage" (ah, vague rhetoric) than it is that there's a labor deal in place within the next 10 days.

So Smith's salary is pretty safe. But that probably wasn't his point -- what he likely was implying is that, in the big scheme of things, "salary cuts" are pointless PR manipulations designed to curry favor with the fans.

None of that will matter, of course, if there's no football for fans to watch in 2011.

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Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:05 pm

Hot Routes 01.26.11: Fairley certain Cats want DT

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Marty Hurney told Joseph Pearson of the Charlotte Observer on Monday that the Carolina Panthers top two needs are quarterback and defensive tackle. Hurney also mentioned that Jimmy Clausen has the tools to succeed. Oh, and he drafted him. So, provided Nick Fairley doesn't do anything ridiculous between now and April, there's a good chance he's the top pick.
Posted on: January 25, 2011 12:09 am

NFLPA and owners supposed to meet this week

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Might we see a thaw in the labor relations between the NFLPA and the NFL owners this week? Could be, because, according to Pro Football Talk, union executive director DeMaurice Smith is set to meet with the league in the next few days.

The meeting is much-needed, because the relationship between owners and the union has grown rather nasty lately, especially through the Twitter pages on both sides.

But Steelers owner Dan Rooney made an interesting comment last weekend, saying he was opposed to an 18-game schedule – a centerpiece of what the owners want – while Falcons owner Arthur Blank told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the NFLPA needs to find the same energy to negotiate that the owners have.

Meanwhile, the NY Times featured Smith on Sunday and revealed that he’s been telling his players that they need to prepare for war.

I’m sure Smith and the NFL will have plenty to talk about this week. Hopefully, something gets done.

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