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Tag:NFLPA
Posted on: August 18, 2011 5:33 pm
 

Owners haven't forgotten about 18-game schedule

BisciottiPosted by Josh Katzowitz

In case you thought the owners were just going to forget about a proposed 18-game schedule simply because the players successfully tabled that discussion from the recently-signed CBA, that doesn’t mean the issue still isn’t on at least one owner’s mind (and probably on the mind of every owner and commissioner Roger Goodell).

"I think it became such a flashpoint, that our negotiating team figured that it wasn't worth pushing," said Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, via the Carroll County Times. "What we did as a show of faith was to go from what we had as a unilateral opportunity to impose 18 games in the old CBA, we agreed to let it become a negotiating point with the union going forward. Nobody likes things being forced on them, and the fact that the old CBA made it clear that we could impose it on them, I think that it kind of made them angrier that they didn't feel like they were getting heard.

"We felt that it was in our players' best interests to leave it out of this fight and open it up for negotiation a year or two from now and see what the additional revenue would be so that they're making a decision with eyes wide open."

As CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge pointed out last month, an 18-game schedule could begin by 2013 if the players agreed to it. Even if it seems like hardly anybody, but the NFL, is interested in pursuing it or watching it.

Obviously, this is an issue that has been hovering over the labor negotiations for the past few years, and the players were adamant about not getting a new schedule included in the latest CBA. Here was my interview with Bengals T Andrew Whitworth way back in June 2010 about this very subject:

CBSSports.com: Lots of talk today and yesterday about the 18-game schedule. What are your thoughts?

Andrew Whitworth: We want to do anything to make the game better for the fans. If an 18-game schedule will do that, that would be great. But there’s also some things player-wise and health-wise that might be an issue. We feel like if we’re going to have to do that, there has to be some things that change as far as the offseason and training camp.

CBS: Are you talking about just the offseason stuff, or are you also talking about increased health care?

AW: You have to do one of two things; you have to improve the situation now with improving the OTAs or during the season where there’s less contact or you’ve got to attack the health-care issue and give the guys better health care when they’re done. Right now, with most players, even if they play 15 years, they only have -- at the most -- five year of health care. That’s kind of ridiculous what guys go through.

CBS: Do you think the 18-game schedule will happen?

AW: I think the owners definitely want it. I know they’ve prepared for it in their future schedules from what I’ve seen. It’s something they’ll go forward with. But there has to be other things that improve for that to happen.


In the new CBA, the owners gave the players health care for life, and they’ve lessened the offseason workout schedule as well, all in the name of player health. So, it’s not like the players can say the owners don’t care about the well-being of their employees (they even changed the kickoff rules!).

But at some point, it seems inevitable that an 18-game schedule will be part of the NFL season. Remember, Colts president Bill Polian called an 18-game season “fait accompli.” But, like Judge points out, we still can’t figure out how the league can claim to care so much about player safety and then add two more games to the schedule. It doesn’t make sense.

Unless, we’re discussing what the NFL really cares about: money. Then, it makes all the sense in the world.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 6, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2011 1:14 pm
 

Don't forget Canton's getting hosed this weekend

Posted by Will Brinson

If anyone does a list of lockout winners and losers, the city of Canton, Ohio has to top the list.

That's because Canton will end up losing many millions of dollars and many wasted hours of volunteer work while the Hall of Fame induction takes place.

That's a direct result of the lockout and the fact that the Rams and Bears aren't playing the (now) traditional Hall of Fame Game, which, according to the NFL, brings in $30 million for Canton in terms of an economic impact.

"We are unfortunately going to have to cancel the Hall of Fame Game this year," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said recently. "The time is just too short and we feel that it’s important for all 32 teams to be operating with the same number of preseason games and also starting camp at the same date or near the same date."

There will still be money spent, but it won't be the same -- instead of thousands of Bears/Rams fans pouring into Canton, freely dropping coins and buying swag and pumping cash into the local economy, there will be some fans and a slew of family members for those people being inducted.

In fact, per Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the city's losting $3 million in revenue from the game alone. The NFL has apparently pledged to "compensate the committee" for its losses from that revenue.

That's nice and all but it's not going to fill up hotels, it's not going to send thousands of people to local restaurants and it's not going to fix the city's now-wrecked budget line.

Sorry for being pessimistic and pedantic and whatnot, but this is important, because we (myself included) have now been successfully trained to believe that with the lockout over and 10 years of labor peace on the books, no one was harmed by the NFL's labor strife.

That's obviously not true, and Canton's being nice about the whole process.

"The trickle-down effect is just the confusion," Joe Horrigan, VP of communications and exhibits at Canton, said recently. "If the world talks about the Hall of Fame Game being canceled, then if it's not played, a lot of people assume nothing else is happening. And that's not the case. It's the last day of a 10-day festival."

That's the nice way of handling things, and Horrigan's comments came before the game was actually canceled. You best believe that behind closed doors, the message is a lot less kind.

There's not a whole lot the league can do, though. Donate $30 million to Canton to make up for the lost money? Ha. How does "we'll let you keep the Pro Football Hall of Fame" sound?

About right, yes? That's the nature of this business and it's fine.

Well, not fine. A small city that depends on a part of the NFL is suffering financially this weekend.

And despite how much fluff is given to the ceremony because of the big names -- Deion Sanders and, ahem, NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk -- they won't be making the same amount of money as they would if the ceremony were going full-steam and featuring the first preseason game of the year.

It's great that we have football back, of course. And it's great that we're going to avoid a lockout for 10 years. But that shouldn't make us forget that everything's not sunshine and rainbows in Canton, where a community that's the perfect representative of the average NFL fan is going to be a lot less financially enthralled this year.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
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 4, 2011 11:52 am
Edited on: August 4, 2011 11:57 am
 

Top 10 CBSSports quotes from insane NFL 10 days

Posted by Tim Cary

(Ed. Note: Tim's our social media editor here at the Eye and he did a fantastic job of compiling the 10-best quotes from our stable of stupendous NFL writers over the past 10 days. His post -- and the collection -- is below. But, Tim, really, No. 9?)

Has there ever been a crazier time in NFL history?

CBSSports.com has been bursting at the seams the last couple of weeks as football came back with a bang – from lockout stakeouts…to the free agency frenzy…to training camps opening with half-full rosters…the NFL beat has been anything but slow since the CBA vote.

Unless reading our site is your full-time job, I can pretty much guarantee that you weren’t able to read everything our NFL staff wrote. (Actually, reading CBSSports.com is my full-time job and I’m sure I missed a story or two somewhere.)

So to help you out, we recap the wildest 10 days in NFL history (starting after the owners approved the CBA in Atlanta) with the top 10 quotes from the dozens of articles, blogs, and columns we published between July 22 and August 1.

Without further ado…

10. Story: Randy Moss retires. Hall of Fame awaits, hopes to avoid full moon on induction night.
Quote (Pete Prisco): “Once again I have to remind my righteous peers that it isn't the Life Hall of Fame. It's the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and there is no denying [Moss] should be there, no matter what you think about him.”

9. Story: Jets enlist movie star to recruit Nnamdi Asomugha. Asomugha apparently doesn’t like movies, signs with Eagles.
Quote (Will Brinson): “Is Adam Sandler really the most famous Jets fan that Ryan could call on?”

8. Story: Decade of guaranteed labor peace makes everyone except UFL commissioner happy.
Quote (Pete Prisco): “Lockout is now officially the most-hated word for NFL fans, surpassing officiating.
It's also a word that doesn't have to matter for another 10 years. By then, Peyton Manning will have broken all of Brett Favre's records, DeMaurice Smith might be running for the Oval Office and the NFL might have rules fining players just for tackling.”

7. Story: After more than a month of hearing that “a deal is close”, the deal is finally done. Merriam Webster immediately and permanently removes all synonyms of “close” from the dictionary (including “near”, “almost”, “on the verge”, “virtually”, “on the cusp”, “practically”, “imminent”, “around the corner”, “basically”, “at the brink of”, and 206 other variations).
Quote (Mike Freeman): “Do the owners and players deserve credit for saving themselves? I don't know. Does a man deserve credit for throwing himself into a swimming pool knowing he can't swim?”

6. Story: NFL owners approve deal. NFL players take their good old time. Because they can.
Quote (Pete Prisco): “After scanning the details of the NFL owners' proposal for a new labor deal, I have some advice for DeMaurice Smith.
Race to get that thing approved.
When [the deal gets done], Smith should put on the championship belt. He knocked the snot out of the owners with a nasty right hook to the head.”

5. Story: Lockout ends. Much hugging ensues. David Stern purchases new best-selling book by Jeffrey Kessler entitled “How To Decertify A Union And Still Make It Home For Lunch”.
Quote (Clark Judge): [Lawyers for the NFL and NFLPA] scored a bigger haul than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II. Based on the billing hours accrued for over 130 days of a lockout, I figure each attorney has enough money now to make a down payment on the state of Texas.

4. Story: While NFL general managers prepare for free agency to open by consuming roughly twice their body weight in caffeine, visions of dollar signs begin to dance in agents’ heads.
Quote (Pete Prisco): “Here's one of the toughest questions facing NFL general managers and coaches as they ready for the next four weeks, which will be a virginal path the NFL has not taken in August in past years: How do you truly find out if a guy's heart pumps Kool-Aid?”

3. Story: NFL players start signing mammoth contracts. NFL punters (yes, there is a difference) start signing ridiculous contracts. The national debt expands.
Quote (Mike Freeman): "If you are an NFL player, immediately do the following: Get on a plane, train or hop inside your Lexus. Head to Washington. Best possible speed. Go inside the offices of the National Football League Players Association. Brush by the secretary. Find DeMaurice Smith. Wheel him around in his chair and kiss him. On the cheek. Mouth. Ring. Whatever your comfort level. Just kiss him.”

2. Story: As a prank, Jets coach Rex Ryan sneaks into Bill Belichick’s office and replaces 2011 calendar with 2006 version. This proves extremely successful.
Quote (Pete Prisco): "New England needed speed. Not another possession receiver. My thoughts on this [Ocho-Slow-O] trade: Child, please."

1. Story: Patriots sign “Fat Albert” Haynesworth. In related news, Bill Cosby becomes a Patriots fan.
Quote (Mike Freeman): "Belichick will have his work cut out for him. Ochocinco is difficult to harness and Haynesworth is so larded up his blood type is strawberry Pop Tart."
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: August 3, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Players 'doubt' CBA will be ratified by Thursday?

Posted by Will Brinson

Football's been back for more than a week now. Well, kind of -- there's still the whole pesky notion of an actual CBA getting ratified in time for the beginning of the league year on Thursday, August 4.

Per the language in the NFL's official 2011 NFL Calendar on August 4, "All 2011 contracts signed on or after July 26 become effective at 4:01 p.m. ET, assuming NFLPA has ratified the CBA." (Emphasis mine.)

Reached for comment on Wednesday, the NFL also added emphasis to the language above.

"The League Year would start after the CBA is ratified by the players," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told CBSSports.com.

It's been assumed by most folks that such a ratification is as good as done (though if you were smart and subscribed to the CBS Football Podcast, you'd already know it wasn't guaranteed after our convo with NFLPA spokesman George Atallah).

But Steelers player rep Ryan Clark, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, spun a different story at Steelers' training camp on Wednesday.

Bouchette notes on Twitter that Clark "doubts" the CBA will be "ratified in time for those vets not practicing to join teams" by the start of the league year on Thursday.

Clark, according to Bouchette, says the "major holdup" with the ratification of the CBA "is Roger Goodell's disciplinary power." Bouchette doesn't note whether Clark's concerned with Goodell disciplining players who broke the personal conduct policy or whether the players are concerned with the actual disciplinary process going forward, but both could be considered obstacles in negotiation.

Adding fuel to the fire? Steelers' cornerback William Gay, who signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh this offseason after hitting free agency, tweeted on Wednesday that he "probably wont be able to practice to tomorrow as accepted."

He likely means expected, but spelling's not the issue here -- the problem is that right now the public thinks football's moving full steam towards starting the league year at 4:01 p.m. ET on Thursday and there is apparently still a speed bump or two to clear first.

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 28, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 11:39 am
 

CBS Football Podcast: George Atallah talks labor

Posted by Will Brinson

The lockout just recently ended, but the labor side of things in the NFL isn't totally over just yet, as there are some issues that have to be handled (though they will be).

To discuss what's left for the NFL and the NFLPA in the coming days of collective bargaining and whatnot, we talked with NFLPA spokesman George Atallah. While we had him on the phone, we also discussed whether or not the NFLPA will fight the league if it tries to implement the personal conduct policy for people who violated it during the lockout, what the future holds for labor discussions, if free agents raking in cash is a sign that the players won, what he thinks of the NFL lockout movie we mocked up (he's seen it!), and what advice he'd give to the NBA players.

All that and much, much more just by hitting the play button below. Oh, and don't forget to Subscribe to iTunes.


If you can't view the podcast, click here to download.



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