Tag:Roger Goodell
Posted on: March 14, 2011 5:02 pm

Other important points from NFLPA conference call

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We've already discussed the main points from the 50-minute teleconference held this afternoon by the NFL players, but there were a few interesting sidebars that need to be addressed.

Let’s go point-by-point:

-Former union president Kevin Mawae on the possibilities of an 18-game schedule.

“Eighteen games is not going to happen through the NFL Players Association. We can’t justify it for the players’ health and safety. The 18-game schedule was taken off the table as soon as they proposed it. It never will be.”

NFL Labor
-Saints QB Drew Brees on why he’s one of the lead plaintiffs in the Brady v NFL case.

“Because it’s important to me. By doing that, I represent not only the 1,900 players in the league now, but the guys who played before us, whose shoulders we stand on. They’re the ones who created what we have. And we’re representing the guys who will come after us. I feel very strongly about our case and very strongly about the law.”

-Brees on Judge David Doty – seen widely by the owners as pro-NFL players – not presiding over the April 6 preliminary injunction hearing.

“To us, that’s not an issue. That was something the owners seemed very focused on. For us, it’s about the facts and the law. We believe those are on our side. We’re not concerned about that.”

-Colts C Jeff Saturday on the reports that he had dinner with commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday and what that was about.

“I did not meet Roger after Friday’s negotiations. I met him Thursday after our negotiations. It wasn’t for dinner. It was just a meeting later in the evening after we finished our work. The entire meeting was about trying to get an agreement in place. Everybody from DeMaurice (Smith) and everybody I ate dinner with, including some of the heads of the entire NFL Players Association, knew what I was doing. There was nothing secretive about what I did.”

-CBSSports.com's own Mike Freeman has confirmed today that the NFLPA is putting a plan into place that would force the players to boycott the upcoming NFL draft. The NFL still will invite the top 15 or 20 college players who are expected to be drafted early, and for now, it’s unclear whether those players will attend (though Freeman points out that the momentum of the boycott is building).

Ex-NFLPA spokesman George Atallah would not comment on the report.

“We’re here focusing on the players being locked out,” Atallah said.

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Posted on: March 14, 2011 2:06 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 2:16 pm

NFLPA, owners battle each other and for you

Posted by Mike Freeman

There is the battle in the court between the players and owners and then there is another battle.

The other battle is the battle for you, the fan.

As both sides prepare for court fights they are simultaneously fighting to win a PR war.

Since the lockout, the NFL has sent numerous releases to many in the media. Some are statements from owners like Art Rooney II expressing their disappointment in the union. Others are announcements about high-powered additions to their legal team.

Cincinnati owner Mike Brown told the Cincinnati Enquirer that all the players cared about was the money. Then, president of the San Diego Chargers, Dean Spanos, released a statement accusing DeMaurice Smith of not negotiating in good faith. The Kansas City Chiefs added their own statement as well. The Broncos said they're willing to open their books.

The league also announced that Roger Goodell was slashing his salary to $1. It's doubtful the NFL commissioner, however, will need to borrow a few duckets to put food on the table.

All of the statements basically have the same purpose which is to blame the players for the current labor crisis.
NFL Lockout
The player's association re-released its own statements immediately following their decertification. My guess: the players saw what the owners said and wanted to, again, make the position known that the owners are lying.

Both sides are clearly fighting for control of you. Your mind. Your opinion.

But the players won't stay silent for long. It's only a matter of time before they begin to counter what the league is saying.
And the battle continues...

This post is 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 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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Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:39 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 6:48 pm

Report: NFL free agency could begin at midnight

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL without a players' union could end up being a little zany (we already know there aren't going to be any agent regulations). People aren't exactly sure what will happen in the coming months, and free agency is completely unknown.

But according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the league is preparing to act as if free agency will begin at midnight on Saturday. (Yes, as in about six hours.)

Florio cites a "high-level source with one team" in providing this info, and, frankly, it's entirely possible.

Witness what players' lawyer Jeff Kessler said, relating to the NFL's need to either a) lock the players out or b) impose the last set of offered rules and begin the year.

"There's no limbo anymore," he said.

If Judge David Doty blocks a lockout (that hasn't happened yet, but apparently must happen by midnight) and keeps the doors open for the NFL, or if the NFL decides not to lockout the players, well, it's business as "usual."

Which means that teams could begin signing and trading players pretty right away.

If that happens, it could be absolute pandemonium, which seems about right given the way the rest of the NFL's offseason is likely to unfold.

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:21 pm

NFLPA's letter to Roger Goodell and NFL clubs

Posted by Will Brinson

Or perhaps a better title would be "Dear, Roger." Because that's how DeMaurice Smith's letter to Roger Goodell -- informing him that the NFLPA planned to decertify -- began.

Perhaps it's not that amusing, considering the state of the NFL right now, but it still at least seems odd. (As transcribed from NFL Network.)
Dear Roger,

This is to advise you that, pursuant to a vote in which a majority of the players indicated that they wished to end the collective bargaining status of the NFLPA, the NFLPA is renouncing its status as the players' collective bargaining representative and disclaiming interest in continuing as the collective bargaining agent of the players as of 4:00 p.m. eastern time today. It is the players' intention to instead operate hereafter as a professional association dedicated to improving the business conditions of professional football players in the National Football League, including the enhancement and the protection of the contracting rights of its members. By copy of this letter to each member clubs of the NFL, I am also informing them of this important change in our status.

Sincerely, DeMaurice Smith
Now, it's worth noting that this is typical of a letter from a lawyer, and probably one that wasn't actually written by De Smith himself. (One has to assume that he has a secretary and/or legal assistant for such matters.)

Much more interesting is that the NFLPA claims to have decertified at 5:02 PM EST. But Smith's letter clearly indicates the players' intent to decertify at 4:00 PM EST.

Given that the owners will likely attempt to file some sort of legal motion that claims the decertification is a sham, it'll be interesting to see whether or not the timing difference there factors in. The principle there being that the NFL would attempt to prove the players were negotiating in bad faith based on their intent to decertify from the beginning.

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 4:48 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 5:14 pm

Liz Mullen of 'SBJ' talks latest labor news

Posted by Will Brinson
NFL Labor

For whatever reason, I've felt especially compelled to fire out podcasts this week, and, luckily, I've been able to land some pretty awesome guests. Add Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal to that list.

Liz joined the show Thursday afternoon to discuss the latest word on labor negotiations, whether the owners are going to open their books to the NFLPA, how the NFL labor situation differs from other leagues, and whether or not there's reason to be optimistic about the current state of negotiations.

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 10, 2011 1:27 pm

Report: NFL, NFLPA financial gap under $700M

Posted by Will Brinson

Though there's some discord amongst owners about opening up the books, as our Mike Freeman reported Thursday, there's still apparently progress being made in the labor discussions between the NFL and NFLPA.

Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the two sides have gotten the revenue sharing gulf that separates them down to $700 million. That seems kind of pedantic, because it's a lot of money, but it does signify movement -- originally it began at $1 billion and was later reported to be around the $750-$800 million range.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post also reports that the number is "substantially" under the $700 million mark.

What makes this interesting is that earlier this week, the NFLPA said it wouldn't give up "$1 more" without some more financial transparency from the league.
NFL Labor

While the gap shortening doesn't necessarily preclude the NFLPA sitting tight, it does seem to indicate some sort of compromise, and probably means that the owners providing some information to the union at least helped shorten the gap.

Again, even if they're down to $500 million, there's still a huge gap between the two sides. But as the clock winds down on the deadline for mediation, seeing significant progress on one of the three major issues at least provides a glimmer of hope for those that don't want to see football played out in a courtroom.

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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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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com