NFL Players Association Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs, George Atallah, held an exclusive “Lockout Chat” with bloggers Thursday afternoon. Atallah termed the owners’ current proposal in the labor dispute a “non-starter.”
“It’s important that, if the owners really want 18 games, they recognize the risks,” Atallah said. “So far, no dice.”
Atallah said during the chat that “players have been and are willing to discuss any proposal that ensures football next year.”
“Players are willing to talk about anything to improve the game,” Atallah said. "A lockout designed to force the players to cave and “win” 18 games that way … well that’s not good for the game.
“We don’t really have rigid demands. We want a long-term deal. We want a fair deal. Willing to talk about anything.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this week in an Op-Ed piece that appeared in newspapers around the country that “the status quo is not an option.”
That, of course, is at the crux of the problem in getting a new collective bargaining agreement. The players like the way things are.
“Players believe we have a fair deal now,” Atallah said. "Revenues up 43% since 2006. The game has grown in every way.
“In an effort to avoid a lockout, we have offered to extend the current deal and avoid uncapped year.”
Atallah said that reports that the NFLPA would boycott the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine or NFL Draft "are too strong. It’s unfortunate that the NFLPA’s conversations with agents become public.
“Players will be at the combine. Young men have an opportunity of a lifetime. They are not locked out…yet.”