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Tag:DeMaurice Smith
Posted on: August 4, 2011 6:40 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 8:00 pm
 

NFL players ratify new CBA: We have football

Posted by Ryan Wilson

After a brief scare Wednesday, when it appeared that the new collective bargaining agreement wouldn't be ratified on time, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reports that the players ratified the agreement with the owners as planned Thursday afternoon, which (theoretically) guarantees labor peace for the next decade.

"While Roger Goodell had some of his on-field control curtailed, a high ranking union official told me, he maintains his power over the personal conduct policy," Freeman wrote Thursday.

"Also, the two sides agreed to implement an [human growth hormone] testing policy making the NFL the first professional American sports league to test for HGH with union consent. It is expected that testing will begin once the season starts."

We mentioned previously that the league was on board with HGH testing even if NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said as recently as Tuesday that “The players have not agreed to any comprehensive drug testing proposal.”

Clearly, the two sides found middle ground.

In terms of what a ratified CBA means for actual football, those players who signed contracts on or after July 26 (and were subsequently forced to watch practices from the sidelines until the new league year officially began with the ratification), finally joined their teammates on the field Thursday afternoon.

Also worth noting: the Steelers voted "no" to CBA ratification "to make statement," according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette, and it wasn't a complete surprise. On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Scott Brown reported that "Steelers players, frustrated over the lack of movement on the NFL conduct policy, may not ratify" the CBA due to "several issues, including the latitude NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has in levying fines, which could not be negotiated until the players re-certified as a union."

The Steelers player representative, Ryan Clark, was outspoken on the matter Wednesday.

"A big issue for us is Roger Goodell having absolute control over the fines system, judge, jury and appeals," Clark said. "I think for a lot of teams it wouldn`t be as big a deal but for us it is. We`re the team that gets fined the most and we play a brand of football that, sometimes, subjects us to his opinion. That`s something that really hasn`t been talked about this. "For us, with Roger Goodell having total control over the fine process, that`s a deal breaker for us in that situation."

And if the CBA hadn't been ratified today? "The settlement of the players’ antitrust lawsuit against the owners would have been voided and the owners could have shuttered the league again," writes Bloomberg's Curtis Eichelberger.

So, yes, welcome back, football. We missed you.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 4:22 pm
 

NFL says it's closer to testing players for HGH

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Days before the players agreed to the new collective bargaining agreement, but after the owners had already voted to ratify their version of it, NFL attorney Jeff Pash told the New York Daily News that the league not only plans to institute random blood testing for human growth hormone during the 2011 season, but that the NFLPA fully supports it.

"We expect that we will have testing for HGH," Pash said on July 21. "I think that both sides believe that's important for the integrity of the game and that we should continue to be leaders here. I think that's a view that's strongly held by the players as it by us. "

On Tuesday, Judy Battista of the New York Times reported that "The NFL, whose new collective bargaining agreement is expected to be completed and ratified by Thursday, could begin blood testing for human growth hormone as soon as September, according to a person briefed on the negotiations who was not authorized to speak publicly, making it the first major North American sports league to conduct such testing on its top players with the union’s consent."

The potential bump in the road? Assuming that the new CBA will be completed and ratified by Thursday. CBSSports.com's Will Brinson wrote earlier Wednesday that some players "doubt" a CBA will be ratified in time, although CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman hears that there's nothing to worry about and everything is still on track.

The NFLPA has long opposed testing, citing concerns about reliability and calling the process "invasive," but Battista writes that both NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "have long seen a need for growth hormone testing and want to cast the NFL as a leader in combating drugs in major sports. … Details to be worked out include how many players will be tested for performance-enhancing drugs and how they would be randomly selected when drug testing resumes. There was no drug testing of any kind conducted during the lockout."

In July, Pash suggested that while there were some issues that needed to be ironed out, "we would hope that [testing] could be ramped up by the start of the season." On Tuesday, he sounded similarly encouraged, even if the testing is pushed back a few weeks. “I think both sides have a commitment to being leaders in this area and to having the best possible program and they recognize that having testing for growth hormone is part of having the best program."

NFLPA spokesman George Atallah, however, reiterated that “The players have not agreed to any comprehensive drug testing proposal,” although Freeman notes Wednesday that "One of the things the two sides have been doing is working on HGH testing. Once that is wrapped up the CBA will be finalized."

And then, hopefully, we won't have to hear the words "lockout" and "collective bargaining agreement" for at least a decade.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 30, 2011 12:04 pm
 

Report: NFLPA has recertified as a union

SmithPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Although it comes as absolutely no surprise, the NFLPA, once again, has voted to recertify as a union, according to NFL.com’s Albert Breer.

After decertifying just before the players were locked out, there was some talk at the time that perhaps the NFLPA would be better suited NOT to recertify, meaning it couldn’t collectively bargain with the owners, meaning the owners  wouldn’t be exempt from anti-trust laws, meaning the possibilities of beginning the season under those terms was an impossibility.

But after the owners and players agreed on a new CBA, 50 percent plus one of the players had to vote in favor of restarting the union. That way, when the two sides meet today to complete the negotiations that only can be accomplished by collectively bargaining, the owners would be talking with a real-life union.

If the players wouldn’t have voted to recertify, the season likely would have been over before it had begun. Instead, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has been making the rounds at NFL camps this week explaining why and pushing for the players to vote yay on recertifying.

Now, they have, and the two sides are that much closer to completing the entire deal and giving fans 10 years of labor peace.

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

Posted on: July 27, 2011 10:25 am
 

Goodell, Smith will make back all money they lost

Smith and GoodellPosted by Josh Katzowitz

There was plenty of talk early in the lockout about how NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had reduced his annual salary to $1 and how NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith took it a step further by slashing his take to zero.

While neither guy has to worry about money -- they’ve got plenty of it in their respective bank accounts; Goodell’s salary is around $10 million, while Smith pulls in a hefty $1.8 million per year -- the symbolic move, though a blatant PR move, was probably the right one.

And like many of the teams who are returning money to the employees who had their pay reduced during the work stoppage, Goodell and Smith also will have their salary -- and the back pay that comes with it -- reinstated.

That’s according to the Biz of Football, which reports that Goodell will get $3.7 million returned to him while Smith will pocket the $670,000 that was owed to him.

As for bonuses for the two who helped broker a new CBA and 10 years of labor peace?

According to the story, that’s a distinct possibility.

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

Posted on: July 25, 2011 3:06 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 3:35 pm
 

Labor peace won by strength of resolve

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

How about this sight for those who were desperate for football to be over? NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the podium outside the NFLPA headquarters on Monday.

Smith said some nice things about Goodell, and Goodell was about to say some nice things about Smith. And after Smith introduced Goodell to the assembled media, the two shook hands and smiled. It was a beautiful sight.

Four months earlier, Goodell and Smith stood near each other in Washington and gave separate pressers, and we didn’t know when we’d have football again. But all that’s forgiven now (though not necessarily forgotten). We have football -- 10 years of labor peace -- and after a summer of misery, we finally have a payoff.

“Football is back, and that’s great news,” Goodell said. “Having a 10-year agreement is extraordinary. Everybody worked hard, everybody had a passion. This agreement is going to make our game better.”

And if you’ve paid attention at all in the past few months, you know those are sweet words. But it wasn’t an easy process. We got to watch how the sausage is made, and it was not a pleasant experience.

NFL Labor

All along, we heard people talk about how the relationship between former commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the late union leader Gene Upshaw made the game strong and, for the most part, kept the labor peace while they were in charge of their respective sides. We wondered about the relationship between Smith and Goodell and whether it was strong enough to hold. We wondered if Smith was in over his head. We wondered how unified the players really were. We wondered if the NFL owners were content to blow up the game just to show the players that they were the bosses.

Goodell and Smith wouldn’t let that happen, though. Their relationship apparently is strong enough to keep the two sides from spinning away from each other into lockout infinity.

“If we don’t have a good relationship, it hurts the game and the business of football,” Smith said. “I’m proud to say our relationship has grown. Even up until the last minute, it required us to come together and get the job done. That will be our relationship going forward.
J. Saturday embraced New England owner Robet Kraft (AP).
Said Goodell: “We have trust that we’re both in there to do the best we can for football. You can’t reach a 10-year deal without that. He’s a great leader for his players. He never lost his passion. We listen to one another, which is important. We have respect for our various consituents. The players, under his leadership, have done an extraordinary job.”

But the one who was embraced the most Monday was the man who’s suffering the terrible loss of his wife, Myra, to cancer. Patriots owner Robert Kraft -- one of the most well-respected owners in the game -- was engulfed by love. Not just from his owner colleagues and his commissioner, but by the other side as well.

“We couldn’t have done it without you,” Smith told him. “We took a day off on Friday to remember a great woman and a great family. I’m thankful for what she meant to the city of Boston and especially thankful for what you mean to the game of football.”

Colts C Jeff Saturday took it a step further. After paying a nice tribute to Myra Kraft, who allowed her husband to help save football even when she was dying, Saturday stepped away from mic and embraced Kraft in a big hug.

Smith and Goodell had shook hands and smiled for the cameras. But Saturday and Kraft showed their love for each other.

It was, simply put, a touching moment on an exciting day for a man who’s lost so much in the past week. And while fans and players can be excited that they’ve got back their game -- and while Smith and Goodell provided their own beautiful moment -- Kraft’s resiliency in finishing the bargain while he was experiencing so much pain provided the true inspiration of the day.

Even during one of the most trying times of his life, he was helping to restore the game you love. And everybody should be thankful for that.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 12:08 am
 

NFLPA votes to unanimously approve CBA

Posted by Will Brinson



The 32 NFLPA reps voted unanimously to approve the CBA on Monday afternoon, according to NFLPA spokesman George Atallah.

NFL Labor

That's right. The NFL is back.

"It's been a long time coming, and football is back -- that's the great news for everybody," Roger Goodell said at a press conference in front of the NFLPA offices. "I want to thank [DeMaurice Smith] and all of the players for their leadership and securing the long-term future of the game. Having a 10-year agreement is extraordinarily great for our game and most importantly our fans."

There are still a few steps before the deal is "officially" official, of course. This includes recertification as well as the approvement of the settlement. But for all intents and purposes were are ready to roll with the 2011 NFL season.

"This is a long time coming," Jerry Richardson said. "I would like to say what a pleasure it's been to work with the players in this negotiation."

Patriots owner Bob Kraft offered perhaps the best perspective on the entire situation, however.

"On behalf of both sides, I'd like to apologize to the fans," Kraft said, before complimenting the deal and the two sides for their work.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 10:39 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 11:36 am
 

NFLPA conference call underway, vote coming soon

Posted by Will Brinson

NFL Labor

The NFLPA announced on Monday morning a conference call with its executive committee and 32 player representatives that will take place at 11 a.m. ET on Monday.

The NFLPA player representatives will then vote on approving the deal that the two sides negotiated, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com.

This fits with the timeline previously reported by CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, and means that we should expect to -- barring a last-minute change of heart by the executive committee -- be prepared for the beginning of the NFL offseason as shortly as the end of today.

Per Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the players are on the conference call right now "reviewing [the] summary of the deal" -- remember that, just as with last week, there are still a LOT of players that aren't completely in-tune with every single detail of the CBA. (This is simply what happens when you have 1,900 players who need to be informed; kudos to the NFLPA for getting more players to the point of understanding what's going on.)

So it's likely that issues are being explained in detail to the players rep so they can then explain said issues to their constituents.

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 9:09 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 4:20 pm
 

NFL Lockout: Live updates throughout Monday

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

The lockout, kids. The 32 NFLPA reps voted unanimously to approve the CBA on Monday afternoon. That gives us a decade (!) of labor peace in the NFL. Life is good.



Now the chaos begins. Fortunately, we're here to provide you with live updates throughout the day/night/week (?!?!). So bookmark our NFL Lockout: Live Updates page and come back early and often.



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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