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ESPN is reporting this morning that owners and players "reached agreement on the remaining points needed in their 10-year labor deal" and that the majority vote needed by players to ratify the 10-year collective bargaining agreement is considered "a formality."
If ESPN's Adam Schefter is right player reps will vote Monday to recommend accepting the agreement, effectively ending the lockout. Players from some teams could then start reporting to team facilities on Wednesday and full-fledged free agency could begin on Saturday.
A few days ago Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post laid out the major terms of the new CBA. These still hold, so if you really want to know all the nitty-gritty give this a read.
NFP is also reporting this morning that it expects to see some NFL training camps open by Wednesday, Aug. 3.
Hooray! We are finally moving toward being able to talk about real football stuff -- free-agent signings, practice reports, etc., -- instead of all this legal mumbo jumbo. It's about time.
With the owners giving the players a 31-0 approved proposal for a new CBA, the ball is now in the players’ court. NFL Players Association president Kevin Maewae said in a statement released on Friday:
“Player leadership is discussing the most recent written proposal with the NFL, which includes a settlement agreement, deal terms and the right process for addressing recertification. There will not be any further NFLPA statements today out of respect for the Kraft family while they mourn the loss of Myra Kraft.”
Before agreeing to the owners’ proposal, the players would first have to take a majority vote to return the NFLPA to union status. Only then can they negotiate the new CBA. So now, we wait.
On Thursday night the owners voted 31-0 to pass the new collective bargaining agreement, and even announced they had an agreement to end the lockout. “It’s time to get back to football. That’s what everybody here wants to do,” said commissioner Roger Goodell. But not so fast, as the players were not happy with what the owners voted on. Washington Redskins linebacker Vonnie Holliday tweeted: “The truth of the matter is we got tricked, duped, led astray, hoodwinked [and] bamboozled!”
After the hope and promise of the past week, now what happens? The ball is in the players court. They could ultimately agree to what the owners passed or drag this out even longer. With everybody already looking forward to free agency and the opening of training camp, as early as next week, it would be more than a shame if this wasn’t wrapped up soon. As always, the fans are the losers here.
Negotiations between players and owners to end the 2011 NFL Lockout, which some thought might be concluded Friday, will continue into next week.
The league and players issued a joint statement on Friday.
The discussions this week have been constructive and progress has been made on a wide range of issues. Our legal and financial teams will continue to work through the weekend. We will continue to respect the confidentiality orders of Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan and will therefore refrain from commenting on specific issues or aspects of the negotiations. We will provide additional information as developments in this process continue.
The primary stumbling block, per the Boston Herald, is that players want changes to practices and offseason workout rules in order to enhance player safety.
Less than a day after breathless media reports had a deal all but done, the two sides were wrangling unproductively over what the players see as “culture of the game issues” crucial to achieving a settlement while the owners see merely as “workplace rules.”
What the players seek is a reduction in contact drills and full-pad practices, a reduction in offseason workouts, and other changes designed to increase player safety and make violations of rules already in place enforceable. The players’ biggest concerns are coaches violating practice and workout rules already in place that are designed to protect their safety.
It seems the money issues have been settled. Let’s hope this bit of wrangling does not hold up a deal for long.
The 2011 NFL Lockout has apparently reached the Chris Berman touchdown call stage. With the rookie wage scale out of the way, negotiations between players and owners are apparently close enough that some believe a deal could be announced today.
So, back to ESPN’s Berman. This means we are in the “he … could … go … all … the … way” stage of the negotiations. Sounds like we are somewhere around “all”, with the question being whether something will happen that will mess up something that seems very close to being a sure thing at this point.
As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio warned this morning:
The cork remains in the bottle of Dom Perignon because there’s no deal until there’s a deal. And every time the owners think a deal is inevitable, they tend to harden their position on the remaining issues, under the mistaken impression that the players will cave.
Via Twitter, Albert Breer of NFL Network listed some of the remaining issues that could provide stumbling blocks.
So, no deal yet. Finally, though, real light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
Whether it is ESPN reporting the lockout should be coming to an end by July 21st or Pro Football Talk coming up with an even earlier date of July 17th, at this point nobody cares to hear it unless it is a true, final announcement of a deal. Yes, I do expect something to get done within in the next week or so and it couldn't get done a moment too soon, considering --
NFL players and league officials traded some pointed words Wednesday, sounding little like sides who are close to an agreement to end the ongoing 2011 NFL Lockout.
In a statement released to The Associated Press via the NFL Players Association, New England's Brady, Indianapolis' Manning and New Orleans' Brees said: "We believe the overall proposal made by the players is fair for both sides and it is time to get this deal done."
They continued: "This is the time of year we as players turn our attention to the game on the field. We hope the owners feel the same way."
In response, the NFL issued a statement saying: "We share the view that now is the time to reach an agreement so we can all get back to football and a full 2011 season. We are working hard with the players' negotiating team every day to complete an agreement as soon as possible."
I thought we were past all this public posturing and into the serious nitty-gritty of getting a deal done within the next few days so that training camps could open at least close to on time. This nonsense doesn't help anything.
"Crook," "devil," stupid," "puppet" and "dictator" were among the things Pittsburgh's James Harrison called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in an interview published in Men's Journal. The interview was reported on by ESPN.
I guess you can certainly say Harrison, the Steelers linebacker fined several times last season by the NFL for hits that were deemed illegal, knows how to vent his frustrations. Here is one of Harrison's quotes:
"If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him."
Harrison did not stop at Goodell. He also ripped Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Rashard Mendenhall. On the interceptions thrown by Roethlisberger in last season's Super Bowl:
"Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does."
You have to wonder if the bitter Harrison is talking himself into being let go by Pittsburgh, regardless of how good he is. The criticisms of the commissioner are one thing, but those are personal. Ripping the franchise quarterback is another, and that is unlikely to play well with the organization.
New York Giants Pro Bowl safety Antrel Rolle is tired of hearing that the NFL Lockout may end soon. Rolle joined WQAM in Miami on The Gino Torretta Show with Steve White earlier this week, and said he is tired if hearing that the lockout is almost over -- something he said he has heard continously since March.
Here are some excerpts from the interview. Sports Radio Interviews has the full transcript.
How long will it take once the lockout is over to get you into playing shape where you could play in an exhibition game?
"I’m in great shape right now. I wouldn’t say I’m in great football shape, but I’m in great shape. The only thing that is going to prepare you to get into football shape is actually playing football, so once you get out there with the guys and run around and do a couple of drills and have a little contact. You know what I mean? We have been playing this sport of football for a long time. It’s not going to take to long to get back into football shape and maybe a week and a half, two weeks maximum."
The reports say that July 21st, 2011 may be the day the lockout ends. Do you guys feel comfortable once the lockout ends if that were to happen in the next week or two?
"To be honest with you I have been hearing that it is going to get done in a week, two weeks, ever since the beginning of March, so I’m at the point right now that whenever it happens I’ll be ready and whenever I get that call I’ll be ready. That’s the only thing I’m looking forward to right now."
How good do you think this New York Giants team will be this season?
"The sky is the limit for us. I think we have control of our own destiny. I think all we have to do is finish games. We have a great team. I have never been around a team that has as much talent at each and every position. We just have to get on the same page at the same time and be a better football Giants team. We’re already good, but need to be great."
Rolle sounds like the rest of us. He's tired of the lockout talk, and just wants to get back to football. Amen!
ESPN reported today that "there is a growing belief" that July 21 could be the day the 2011 NFL Lockout ends. League meetings are scheduled to be held that day, and ESPN reported that there is a belief there could be a deal in place toi be ratified at those meetings.
ESPN also reported that a handshake deal could be in place within seven to 10 days. A July 21 deal would seem like that would give teams plenty of time to open camps, even with a slight delay in the currently scheduled openings (around July 30 for most teams) and start the preseason schedule on time.
Per ESPN, here are some of the key dates in the Transition Rules that would govern the league if an agreement is ratified on the 21st:
Depending on who you believe, negotiations have reached the 5, 10 or 15-yard line. Let's just hope nobody throws an Eli Manning left-handed pass, and that both sides punch this in.
The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court Of Appeals has handed the NFL a victory, throwing out a lower court ruling and declaring that the NFL Lockout is legal.
“We conclude that the injunction did not conform to the provisions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act … and we therefore vacate the district court’s order,” the decision stated, adding: "The text of the Norris-LaGuardia Act and the cases interpreting the term “labor dispute” does not require the present existence of a union to establish a labor dispute."
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Nelson had granted the players an injunction halting the lockout.
Negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement have been ongoing, including a 12-hour session Thursday. The question now is what this ruling will do to those negotations.
Via Twitter, here are some of the immediate reactions:
This is a narrow decision, gives NFL an immediate victory, but still leaves antitrust risk intact — a perfect push to both sides to settle. — Judy Battista, New York Times
I don’t think Goodell will allow owners to step on players’ throats w/8th Circ ruling. He has to know how dangerous that’d be. — Peter King, SI.com
Dominoes … Rookies/UFAs need to be ruled on … Nelson gets 1st crack … Nelson likely to rule for players … That ruling = Total chaos. — Albert Breer, NFL Network
With three NFL teams calling New York home (yes, we’re counting the Buffalo Bills) I guess it was just a matter of time before state politicians got involved in the NFL Lockout. New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has now done just that, launching an inquiry into whether the lockout violates the state’s antitrust law.
“The expected blow to the state’s economy will be tremendous,” the head of Schneiderman’s antitrust bureau said in a letter this week alerting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to the probe.
“Many New York public and private institutions depend heavily on the NFL training camp and regular season games to generate revenue,” Assistant Attorney General Richard L. Schwartz told Goodell. Hotels, restaurants, retailers, transportation systems and thousands of New Yorkers working at concession stands, parking lots and stadiums will suffer," he wrote.
The New York Jets have already cancelled training camp at SUNY Cortland and will stay in New Jersey once the lockout ends. The Bills usually train at St. John Fisher College in suburban Rochester, and the Giants at UAlbany. Neither of those teams have yet made a determination on where training camp will be held, but will likely have to do so around July 15.
The NFL Lockout has come to this. Now, we are re-making 'Field Of Dreams.'
Could an end to the 2011 NFL Lockout really be just days away. Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports, one of the reporters who has been clued in to what has been going on with the labor dispute from the beginning, thinks so.
... the two sides are closer to an agreement than many people realize – perhaps than even some of the people involved realize. That the respective negotiating teams hung in amid the negativity and held a marathon session Thursday and a shorter one on Friday was a deceptively positive sign.
Silver goes on to delve much deeper into the issues at hand, including the possibility that the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame Game could be impacted if the sides go too long with a deal.
Albert Breer of the NFL Network acknowledged that time is running short to avoid impacting the preseason.
... there clearly is a deal to be done between these parties, because if there wasn't, then reasons to continue talking after five weeks would have dwindled. Second, that hardly means that deal will be done in time to beat the clock on saving the preseason, which means the parties remain in a very precarious spot with plenty of work left to be done.
The negotiations continued Tuesday morning in Manhattan. Legal teams and staff from each party are meeting Tuesday and Wednesday. They will be joined by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, Boylan, owners and players Thursday and Friday.
And it appears that now, finally, the parties locked in a battle that has produced a fourth-month-old lockout are arriving at the 11th hour.
The reason why lies in the money that would be lost with the cancellation of the preseason. The owners project the number to be close to $1 billion. The players say that number is inflated. Either way, no preseason means a significant chunk will be taken out of the revenue pie, which the owners and players have proven unable to divvy up throughout this whole process.
So, it appears there is light at the end of a very dark tunnel. NFL fans likely care about only one thing -- getting the season started on time. Right now, it looks like that has a good chance of happening.
NFL owners and players had sought to at least have the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement in place by the Fourth of July. But, as we begin that holiday weekend there seems to be nothing to celebrate on the NFL labor front. A 15-hour negotiating session Thursday produced more questions than answers, and while the sides are reportedly back at the table today the recent optimism seems to be fading.
Here is a look at some of what is being about the NFL Lockout from a variety of reliable sources around the Inter-Google.
The N.F.L. had hoped to have at least an agreement in principle in place around the Fourth of July, but three people who have been briefed on the negotiations said that although a resolution remained possible within the next 10 days, it was more likely that negotiations would drag on past that time.
One person said that little progress on the critical issues that divide the sides had been made earlier this week, when lawyers and staff members negotiated without owners and players in attendance, and another said he still believed it was possible that games would be missed and that it would require a breakthrough for a deal to be completed in the next couple of weeks.
Optimism is waning after four consecutive days of negotiations between NFL owners and players and was described as trending "backwards," player sources told ESPN.
Player sources said owners have reneged on a simplified formula that would have given players 48 percent of all revenue.
Player sources reaffirmed a setback in talks occurred when owners last week went "retro" on the formula that will divide the estimated $9.3 billion in annual revenue.
"It’s just bizarre right now," one source on the players’ side said Thursday. "Two weeks ago, I was optimistic. I didn’t realize that we weren’t even close to close. It’s disheartening."
I’ve talked to key figures from both camps, and others who are more neutral while familiar with the state of negotiations, and I’m still trying to figure out how what one source described as a verbal handshake between players and owners regarding a total-revenue formula earlier this month has degenerated into a montage of mutual finger-pointing.
None of this is good news. If this drags on much longer training camps will undoubtedly be delayed, and if that happens there is no telling how much football will be missed.
Tony Richardson has played fullback for 16 seasons in the NFL, the last three with the New York Jets, paving the way for running backs to gain yardage. Even though Richardson does not know if he will return for a 17th season he has been active in the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, hoping to pave the way for an on-time 2011-2012 season.
There has been a greater general feeling of optimism lately. Are you more optimistic now about the situation?
“I would kind of echo what our executive director, DeMaurice [Smith], and Roger [Goodell] said. You can be optimistic because we have the right people in the room, talking about the right issues and really trying to get this thing hashed out. In that regard, I would definitely say I’m optimistic and I think, as long as we keep hammering this thing out, hopefully sooner than later we can get something done.”
How much longer do you think you’ll be playing?
“I think I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s very bright. It’s just a matter of, my biggest goal is to see this process through as far as getting guys back on the field. I know a lot of these guys just got drafted, and even my situation of being an undrafted free agent. These guys right now who didn’t get drafted are sitting there in no-man’s land and haven’t been able to talk to teams, not quite sure what they’re future is like. I can only imagine if that was me 17 years ago.”
Do you think there will be a full 16-game season?
“That is a very good question. I think the fact that we have the right people in the room and headed in the right direction, that’s the number one goal. … We’re doing everything we possibly can to get this thing ironed out and make sure it’s a fair deal for both sides. The fans have been patient, and I know they’re frustrated … but we’re doing everything we can to get this thing worked out.”
Are they asking everybody to take the political approach to these answers?
“It’s the truth; it’s not a political approach, it really is the truth. … I would never pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. It’s a tough process because my stake in this is trying to pull off next year’s games because whenever you start to walk away, you want to make sure you leave a legacy. I think leaving a legacy is making sure that the things that I’ve been able to enjoy thanks to the people that came before me … I want to make sure I can leave that same legacy for the guys that come behind me.”
On the heels of Tuesday's NFL owners' meetings in Chicago there has been lots of positive talk about NFL owners and players reaching a new collective bargaining agreement within 2-3 weeks, ending the ongoing NFL Lockout and allowing an on-time start to the 2011 NFL regular season.
The two sides will reportedly meet for another negotiating session Wednesday and Thursday in Boston. Most reports have indicated that progress has been made during the not-so-secret sessions held the past few weeks. With ownership apparently onboard with the direction those negotiations are taking, let's hope the two sides are able to capitalize on that momentum and move closer to a deal during their meetings in Boston.
"We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to do it right. The agreement that we’re focusing on and negotiating has got to address several issues. Those issues are complex and it needs to be done in a way that is fair to the players, fair to the clubs, and most importantly allows us to continue to have that full 2011 football season," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement following Tuesday's meeting. "That’s what we want, that’s what the fans want, they want football and it’s our job to try to make that happen."
What are the parameters of the deal being worked on? ESPN has a point-by-point breakdown of the details that have emerged thus far, including a nearly 50-50 revenue split between owners and players.
Fans, in all honesty, probably don't care about any of the particulars. They just want to know one thing. Will the NFL season start on time or won't it?
If you are an NFL fan you might consider the NFL owners’ meetings Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago the most important pajama party ever held. Prior to the meetings, which begin Tuesday morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had reportedly told owners to be prepared to stay late into the evening on Tuesday if necessary.
The primary topic of discussion for the owners the next two days will, of course, be the current state of negotiations with players for a new collective bargaining agreement.
In previewing the meetings, The Washington Post indicated that a deal with the players could get done within the next few weeks if owners can come out of Chicago with a unified front.
“If everyone emerges from this meeting on the same page in support of the deal, then you should see it get done,” said one person who is not involved in the talks but has knowledge of the details under deliberation.
A labor deal would have to be ratified by at 24 of the 32 NFL owners.
What is really amazing to me is that at this late date there still isn’t general agreement among the ownership group as to what it is they want from the negotiations with players. Let’s hope something positive comes from the next couple of days and we can get back to football.
Various reports I came across this morning mentioned that the NFL Lockout passed the 100-day mark over the weekend. Truth is, though, that while this is technically the longest work stoppage in NFL history, the important stuff -- training camp, the preseason and the regular season -- have not yet been affected.
If a new collective bargaining agreement is not reached soon, however, that will change. The owners meet in Chicago this week, beginning Tuesday, and those meetings will be critical in the effort to get deal done in time to get an on-time start to the 2011 season, or save the season altogether.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
... the league and its players went into this process without any real urgency to get a deal done. March, April, May, and June were always disposable. Lo and behold, they have been disposed of.
Now July is knocking. July was not, and is not, disposable.
This week, NFL owners will gather into harrumph over whatever progress has been made in the "secret" (even though everyone knew where and when they occurred) negotiations between Goodell and a handful of owners on one side and and a small group of players on the other. What happens in Chicago on Tuesday and Wednesday could well determine whether this thing ends without serious bloodshed or things get really ugly.
The question about the owners' meetings Tuesday and Wednesday is whether this group of rich, egotistical men used to getting what they want can come to an agreement on exactly what it is that they want out of this agreement with the players. There have been recent reports that several of the owners are not happy with the direction in which negotiations have been going.
For me, the fact that we are this late in the process and the owners as a group are still apparently squabbling over exactly how much they want to squeeze out of the players is an amazing thing. What, exactly, they were hoping to accomplish should have been settled long ago.
CBS Sports reported this morning that if the owners are able to come to an agreement while they meet Tuesday and Wednesday, New York Giants co-owner John Mara and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will be the ones who bring them together.
CBS referred to Mara and Kraft as "the cool heads in a chemically imbalanced owner mix of testosterone, absurdly large egos and billable hours." One player close to the negotiations told CBS the pair are the "key to a new deal."
Most reports have indicated that a deal, or at least the framework of a deal that will allow the league to move forward, must get done by early July in order for the league to open training camps on time.
That makes sense because teams like the New York Giants and New York Jets, who generally hold training camp away from their regular-season facilities, need to notify officials at those facilities of their plans. Also, teams need an opportunity to sign free agents, make trades and medically evaluate players returning from injuries prior to the opening of training camps. You would think at least a two- to three-week window is needed for those things.
So, it is pretty apparent that we have reached crunch time.
Optimism is apparently growing that NFL owners and players could reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement within the next two to three weeks. The Washington Post was the first to report that owners have been told to prepare for the possibility of a meeting scheduled for next Tuesday in Chicago lasting all night.
It has been widely speculated that the sides need to have an agreement in place by July 4 in order to ensure that training camps, and thus the preseason, will start on time. Teams like the New York Giants and New York Jets, who train away from their regular-season homes, face pressure to let officials at their usual training camp sites know what their plans are. Delays in the start of training camp could cause the teams to have to train at their regular-season facilities.
At least 24 of the league's 32 owners will have to ratify any agreement reached.
Maybe, just maybe, frustrated NFL fans can have an impact on ending the NFL Lockout and getting the players and owners to reach a collective bargaining agreement in time for their to be an uninterrupted 2011 NFL season.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Wednesday acknowledged that the league is feeling the unhappiness of the fan base.
“Clearly it has had an impact on the fans,” Goodell said as the owners completed their spring meetings. "We see it in various metrics. There’s been a noticeable change, TV ratings were down on the draft roughly 4 million people. NFL.com traffic (is down), we see that. …
“Fans want certainty,” Goodell added. “We can’t underestimate that the fans are going through challenges just in the general economy.”
Fans, of course, cannot sit at the negotiating table. They cannot force the players and owners to compromise. They can, however, not watch NFL programming. Not buy NFL merchandise. Not visit the league’s website. The only thing fans can really do, aside from visiting their favorite SB Nation sites to commiserate, is hit NFL franchises in the wallet — which is the only message that might have a real impact.
The NFL Coaches Association is the latest group to file what is called an ‘amicus brief’ with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals against the NFL Lockout.
The full brief can be found here. It reads in part:
“New coaches especially need time with players, which is why league rules normally permit new coaching staffs to organize two additional minicamps with players over the summer. This offseason, NFL teams hired an unusually large number of new head coaches with no previous head coaching experience, each of whom-along with their assistants-face a steep learning curve and desperately need this time to prepare their teams.”
“The lockout, if left in force, will prevent the coaches from meaningfully preparing and readying themselves for the season. While all coaches will be exposed to greater risk of failure, the eight teams with new coaching staffs are at particular risk. Since unforgiving expectations for immediate results will persist regardless of any lack of opportunity to prepare, these eight coaching staffs are losing irreplaceable time to prepare for a job that demands success.”
Oral arguments on the NFL’s appeal are to be heard by the Circuit Court on June 3.
The ongoing NFL labor dispute has begun to affect more than just offseason workouts. The league has now cancelled the annual rookie symposium, the first event to be wiped off the calendar by the NFL Lockout.
The symposium had been scheduled for June 26. IThe symposium mandatory for all 254 draft picks to attend the event where they get information on money management and advice on handling the pressures of the NFL and conducting themselves as professionals.
USA Today looked at the upcoming NFL calendar, and pointed out that the next event that could be affected is the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame Game between the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears could be the next to go. USa Today says the two teams would have to open training camp somewhere around July 24 in order to play in that game.
Giants' co-owner John Mara said recently that "we're still in May" and there is time to get a deal done. These two items, though, make you realize that time is growing short.
Common ground? Between an NFL player and a key member of the NFL negotiating team in the ongoing labor dispute. It appears some has been found. NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash finds himself agreeing with New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott that the labor dispute is "on the verge of insanity."
“I really thought he put it very well, that we’re getting to the point where we’re really putting our fans at risk,” Pash said in an interview with NFL Network’s Albert Breer in Indianapolis, site of this week’s NFL Spring Meeting. “We’re getting to the point where people just can’t understand why there’s not a deal being made. And I think in many respects the best thing for all of us to do is get out of court, get out of the media, and get together, and I think Bart Scott is right.
“We’re getting to the point where we’re putting our business at risk, and it’s our shared livelihood,” Pash continued. “We have a shared responsibility to get this done. We can’t do it ourselves. They can’t do it themselves. And so we really need to put the litigation aside, we need to focus on negotiations. I think there’s a deal to be made, I really do. I’ve thought that for a long time.”
These are, of course, just words and they don't solve anything. There does, however, seem to be an increasing realization on both sides that they need to start getting serious about cutting a deal. That has to be a good sign.
A not-for-profit group called the Sports Fans Coalition today filed a brief with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals supporting NFL players in their legal fight with owners to end the NFL Lockout.
A statement issued by the group read:
“The best chance for NFL football this fall is if the owners are not allowed to lock out the players. We are not taking a position on how owners and players divide billions of dollars in revenue. But given the massive public investment in the game, the best result of this case is if the courts knock out the lockout.”
The brief, which you can read here, says in part:
Whether the owners’ boycott lowers the quality of the2011 season by preventing fans’ favorite clubs from integrating new talentduring this summer, or disrupts or even eliminates the season if the boycottfails to achieve the desired concessions from players, injunctive relief is essential to sports fans.
Thursday we published lots of optimistic accounts regarding the NFL Lockout. New York Giants co-owner John Mara was optimistic. New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty were also optimistic.
Today, a much less optimistic — and maybe more realistic — tone from New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott.
“We’re bordering now on the verge of insanity. Fans don’t want to hear about lockout. They don’t want to hear about people arguing over $9 billion. They want the bottom line. Because at the end of the day, these guys are saving up throughout the entire year to come out and spend their hard earned money to see football. And we’re telling them that they can spend their hard earned money but we’re not playing until we figure it out. I listen to (Patriots owner Robert) Kraft. I don’t agree with the Patriots on a lot of things, but I agree with him that we’re really on the verge of irritating our fan base and damaging the fabric of the game.”
Without doubt, a $9 billion industry that can’t find a way to get its product to market and alienates its customer base is not smart. Let’s hope both sides wise up before it’s too late.
Earlier today we ran story detailing optimistic statements from both the New York Giants and New York Jets regarding the probability of the 2011 NFL season starting on time. Thursday afternoon, Giants co-owner John Mara echoed those sentiments during an appearance on the Mike Lupica Show on ESPN Radio 1050 AM in New York.
"We’re still in May, and we still have some time to do this … but in the meantime we’ve got players out there that do not have a team, we have OTAs and mini-camps that should be going on. We should be getting ready to play a football season.
"I’m still very confident that there will be a full season because we do have time and I know there’s a willingness on our part to site down and get a deal done. We’ve got to get the same willingness out of the players to sit down and do that."
Mara also said "There is a deal there to be made, a deal that would be fair to both sides and allow the game to continue to grow. We just have to sit down and get to it."
— Read more of the interview at Big Blue View
-- Mara also addressed the lockout Thursday in an essay he wrote for Giants.com
The brutal boredom of the NFL Lockout is leading to the most mundane stories getting excessive coverage
The New York Giants and New York Jets organizations seem to have spent a lot of time recently sniping at each other, mostly over boastful remarks by Jets coach Rex Ryan. Today, though, the organizations have found some common ground. Members of both sides are expressing optimism that the NFL labor dispute will be resolved and football will go on as scheduled this fall.
"[The labor dispute] will definitely be settled. There will be a football season" Canty said.
"The fans don't have to worry about that. We're going to have football this fall, and we're going to try and put the quality product on the field that they are used to seeing come September."
Well, Chris fans do worry about it. With the clock ticking and both sides still bickering and waiting for court rulings, fans definitely worry about it.
Jets owner Woody Johnson also expressed optimism Wednesday, saying he hoped the recent Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling granting a permanent stay of the lockout would be the impetus to get negotiations moving.
"Hopefully this will get us back to the negotiating table faster," Johnson said tonight at the Sports Business Journal's annual Sports Business Awards dinner. "The sooner we can get back and actually talk to the players. I miss the players. I like talking to them. So let's get a deal done. ...
"When we sit down at the table this time, it will be different, hopefully, from the last time," Johnson said. "And we will actually sit down and hammer something out."
A new national poll by Suffolk University has found that 32 percent of respondents blame the owners for the current NFL Lockout, while just 19 percent put responsibility on the players.
The poll surveyed 1,070 people. There were 30 percent of respondents who said they were undecided.
Here are some other findings from the poll:
- Thirty-four percent of those asked said they would return to watching games with the same enthusiasm when play begins, even if games are lost.
- Eighteen percent said they would have less enthusiasm for the NFL is games are lost to the work stoppage.
- Only six percent of respondents said they would stop watching the NFL completely.
In truth, it is difficult to tell exactly how fans will react if and when games actually are lost. Right now that is a hypothetical question. The lockout, of course, will remain in place while the NFL’s current appeal is heard in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Progress or no progress? I would assume that the NFL and the players can agree that there were, indeed, court-ordered mediated talks between the two sides in the NFL labor dispute over the past couple of days.
What they can’t agree on is whether or not anything got accomplished.
The NFL says yes. Here is NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash:
“We had a good discussion today,” Pash told ESPN. “I’ve said it many times the only way we’re going to get this accomplished is face-to-face dialogue and really digging into the issues and I think we had a good step in that direction today. And I hope that we’ll continue, confident it’s going to continue and we’ll be back early next month to continue that process.”
The players say, umm, what are you talking about? Here is NFL Players Association president Kevin Mawae:
“We are not anywhere closer to a deal now than we were in March,” Mawae said during a Sirius NFL radio interview.
I am not sure what to believe any more. Let’s just hope these guys actually get serious before part of a season is flushed away by greed.
In the wake of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granting the NFL a permanent stay during its appeal of the lower court ruling lifting the NFL Lockout, both sides have issued statements.
From NFL Lockout, here they are:
NFLPA Statement On Stay
“The NFL’s request for a stay of the lockout that was granted today means no football. The players are in mediation and are working to try to save the 2011 season. The court will hear the full appeal on June 3.”
NFL statement on stay granted by Eighth Circuit:
“It is now time to devote all of our energy to reaching a comprehensive agreement that will improve the game for the benefit of current and retired players, teams, and, most importantly, the fans. This litigation has taken the parties away from the negotiating table where these issues should be resolved. We remain confident that the appellate court will determine that this is a labor dispute that should be governed by federal labor law. But the league and players, without further delay, should control their own destiny and decide the future of the NFL together through negotiation.”
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the NFL’s request for a permanent stay of District Court Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling lifting the NFL Lockout, meaning the lockout will remain in place during the league’s appeal of Nelson’s ruling.
The appeal to the Court of Appeals is scheduled to be heard beginning on June 3.
Reaction to the ruling is coming in fast and furious via Twitter. While it can be frustrating for fans to have the lockout messing, maybe this ruling is not a bad thing.
From Albert Breer of the NFL Network:
The ruling on the appeal is a major, major leverage point for each side that could spark crucial negotiating period in July.
From Chris Mortenson of ESPN:
Court was about leverage; it now swings in owners favor but many owners are nervous & want a deal done. Players now have to get a deal done.
One more from Breer, which might indicate that the Circuit Court is inclined to overturn Nelson’s ruling:
“We have serious doubts that the district court had jurisdiction to enjoin League’s lockout..”
Short-term, this means no OTA, mini-camps … no football. Long-term, this ruling appears to swing the balance of power. Maybe that results in a deal that will give us on-time football. Let’s hope.
Cris Collinsworth of NBC is predicting that the NFL labor dispute will end up causing games to be missed, and that the NFL season won't start until around November 1st. That is a scenario no one really wants, and you have to hope Collinsworth is wrong.
In Collinsworth's prediction, a deal is finally reached on a new collective bargaining agreement some time around the end of September. Training camps open around Oct. 5 and regular-season games around Nov. 1. That leaves, realistically, a half-season with the Super Bowl pushed back a week.
Right now it is hard to be optimistic that Collinsworth will end up being wrong. Both sides can argue about "irreparable harm" if they want, but no one has truly suffered anything approaching it yet. That won't happen until players start missing game checks and owners have empty stadiums not producing any revenue.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know if you think Collinsworth is right.
Another day, more silence from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in regards to the motion for a full stay of the ruling lifting the NFL Lockout pending. Pro Football Talk reports that with the hearing on the NFL’s appeal of Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling lifting the lockout just three weeks away the court may not rule at all on the motion.
Don’t you just love legal games? Makes you wonder how we will ever get back to having football games.
In other lockout/legal business players are asking for $707 million in damages in the television dispute with the league. That request was made Thursday in front of U.S. District Judge David Doty.
Finally, our friends at SBNation.com have chimed in with the cheery news that the current NFL work stoppage is now the longest in league history.
Thank you, Roger. Thank you, DeMaurice. The league is at a zenith in terms of popularity and revenue, and you put fans through this? Nice work, fellas.
Maybe New York Giants co-owner John Mara can help get NFL owners and players back on the path toward settle the ongoing NFL labor dispute. Mara will be one of the NFL owners at the table when the sides meet in a mediation session Monday in Minneapolis. He missed the last round of the negotiations while on jury duty.
Mara was seen as a key member of the negotiating committee during early rounds of talks with players. Other NFL owners attending the session will be Carolina's Jerry Richardson, Cincinnati's Mike Brown and Pittsburgh's Art Rooney.
With the mediated session approaching, there are still many legal matters to be sorted out.
Both sides are still waiting for a ruling from the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals as to whether the temporary stay it granted putting the lockout back in place will be turned into a full stay pending the league's appeal of the decision by Judge Susan Nelson originally lifting the lockout.
In addition, a hearing will be held today in Minneapolis in front Judge David Doty on the television lockout insurance case. Pro Football Talk has the details.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals still has not issued a ruling on whether its stay of the ruling lifting the NFL Lockout will remain in place pending the hearing scheduled for June 3. There is, however, plenty of legal wrangling going on in the ongoing labor dispute between NFL owners and players.
The league Monday filed its first brief with the court in advance of that hearing.
NFL.com’s Albert Breer summarized the league’s position:
The arguments in Monday’s filing were an expanded version of what the league has claimed all along: that the NFL Players Association’s move to decertify after the initial bargaining talks broke down March 11 is a sham; that Nelson doesn’t have the jurisdiction to lift the lockout; and that she should have waited for a decision from the National Labor Relations Board on the union’s status before issuing that ruling.
The league also said that lifting the lockout without a labor deal in place would cause chaos, with teams trying to make decisions on signing free agents and making trades under a set of rules that could drastically change under a new agreement.
If the league is forced to lift the lockout, the rules under which teams would operate have yet to be determined.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals could rule today, Tuesday or even later this week on whether or not the NFL Lockout can and will stay in place while the NFL files an appeal of Judge Susan Nelson's ruling lifting it. A long-term stay would leave the lockout in place until at least early June, when the Court of Appeals will hear arguments as to whether or not the lockout should remain in place until a labor settlement is reached.
In breaking down the possible scenarios and reasons for each, Andrew Brandt has come away thinking that the Court of Appeals will rule in the NFL's favor, leaving the lockout in place until at least the June 3 hearing.
He writes, in part:
The fact that the Court issued a temporary stay immediately and now has waited ten days -- and counting -- would indicate that they may not see Players having immediate and irreparable harm. And the expedited appeal schedule allows for time for this entire drama to be settled prior to the start of any actual football games.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote Sunday that the league might simply close its doors completely, more or less going out of business, if it loses this ruling. Per Florio, the league feels it would not be violating a court order because there would be no league, thus there would be no lockout.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been continuing his conference calls with fans on NFL teams this week, and his constant theme has been that he wants to get back to the negotiating table with the players to try and solve the ongoing labor dispute.
"Unfortunately we’re not at the negotiating table or the bargaining table, we’re in the midst of litigation. I think that’s unfortunate and I think it’s delaying ultimately what’s going to solve this issue [which] is negotiations. ... I hope we can get back and start talking."
Considering the vitriol being spewed by both sides it seems unlikely that rational, meaningful negotiation can take place. Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports recently wrote a revealing piece detailing the level of distrust -- really dislike -- on both sides.
Here is a player quoted by Silver talking about Goodell:
"A lot of the players hated him even before this went down, and now they really hate him," one prominent player for an NFC East team told me last Friday. "He’s not smooth, charming or witty. He never seems honest when he talks to you. And he’s a dope. They should change his name to Roger Goon-dell."
The dislike doesn't just go one way. Here is an NFL owner talking about DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association:
"Roger is trying to do business, and De is like a psycho girlfriend who doesn’t know what he wants, doesn’t understand what he’s involved in and [who] you can’t reason with," the owner said. "With psycho girlfriends, at least you can move on eventually. But Roger is stuck with him right now."
The two sides are scheduled to sit down in a negotiating session May 16-17. It is a good thing that session will be mediated, otherwise it might turn into a WWE-style donnybrook.