Money a roadblock in NFL labour talks as third deadline approaches

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Money a roadblock in NFL labour talks as third deadline approaches

There is enough money to go around the NFL to make everyone in the league very rich but that does not mean that you stop trying to get your hands on more. I am not saying that it’s necessarily a bad thing. If I may quote Gordon Gekko, ‘greed, for lack of
a better word, is good.’ That is until it kills the golden goose.

NFL owners and players are arguing over something between 800 million to a billion dollars. Owners want to take an additional $1 billion out of NFL’s more than $9 billion total revenue before it is split between owners and players. The owners argue that
expenses, in particular, player salaries have been rising faster than revenue and that the NFL cannot continue to operate effectively under existing financial terms.

During the past weeks of mediated negotiations, it appears that the NFL has agreed to settle for less money than it initially asked for. The players association has said that it is willing to negotiate a fair deal with the league even if it means taking
a significant pay cut. The union has however insisted on being provided access to NFL’s financial records to make its own judgement about the NFL’s stance on revenue sharing.

Before the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and its director, George Cohen got involved the NFL outright refused to give any more information to the players association than what it was entitled to according to the terms of the collective bargaining
agreement. The NFL went so far as to file a complaint against the NFL Players Association with the National Labor Relations Board arguing that the union’s refusal to negotiate without financial data constituted a breach of the CBA.

Since then the two sides have made significant progress. The NFL for its part has released data which it was not obligated to release in negotiating with the players. The union still says that the information released is far less than what they asked for
and need to make informed decisions.

“Has it gotten everything it wants? Evidently not. Have we offered to provide more? Absolutely,” NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash said regarding the release of financial data. “And is it a subject that we’re prepared to discuss? Absolutely.”

Players association’s executive director and the man leading the players in the negotiations, DeMaurice Smith said that the information released by the NFL was ‘utterly meaningless.’ “Just to be absolutely clear, the information that was offered wasn’t what
we asked for,” Smith said on Wednesday after the 14th day of mediated negotiations. Smith said that the NFL still hadn’t provided the players with any real justification for $800 million more off the top.

Until Friday, when the third deadline for the collective bargaining agreement approaches, the NFL and the players union are expected to discuss the issues of financial transparency. In all likelihood the CBA will be extended once again. The NFL might release
more data in the coming days and make its case for an additional $800 million. “We’ve made more information available in the course of this negotiation than has ever been made available in decades of collective bargaining with the NFLPA,” Pash said.

Once the players union has access to that information, the bargaining process will significantly pick up pace until the two sides begin agreeing. Maybe not $800 million, but the NFL is expected to take hundreds of millions more in the form of expense credits.

Players and fans will just have to wait until the deadline approaches before anything can be said about a 2011 NFL season.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own and in no way represent’s official editorial policy. 

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