FanDuel - WFBC

March 11, 2011

NFL labor negotiations break down, union moves to decertify: on the table next is litigation.

posted by insomnyuk to football at 05:37 PM - 27 comments

I didn't want to editorialize in the post, so I saved it for the comment :)

I was listening to the NFL's side of the press conference on ESPN after negotiations broke down, but I have to say Jeff Pasch (NFL VP of labor and general counsel) and the owners that spoke sound like they are totally full of shit. They never opened their books to the players to prove that they needed more money, they tried to secure 4 billion dollars in preparation for a lockout, they are the ones who dropped the CBA in 2008 and they want to double the amount of money they take in revenue by another billion dollars. The owners and Pasch had the audacity to suggest that the players were planning to decertify and weren't taking the negotiations seriously, but the owners are at least guilty of the same bullshit. It's very clear that they were planning for a lockout.

Maybe there won't be a season this year. Maybe ESPN will be forced to cover the NHL for once.

posted by insomnyuk at 05:47 PM on March 11

When JJones showed up for owners, I did not figure it was good news for a possible settlement. I expect in near future, closer to football season, the owners will be going to their various cities saying "think about how much we mean to business in the community, the workers at the stadium, the taxes we (really our fans) pay, the hotels, the restaurants, etc.; you need to give us some more tax dollars so that we can start playing football again. And by the way, you know those millions of dollars I am supposed to pay back on this taxpayer funded stadium, how bout we just forget about that?"

I am definitely not pro-union (though not necessarily totally anti-union in the appropriate situation), but in this case I just cannot find any reason to support the owners.

posted by graymatters at 09:51 PM on March 11

The owners and Pasch had the audacity to suggest that the players were planning to decertify and weren't taking the negotiations seriously, but the owners are at least guilty of the same bullshit. It's very clear that they were planning for a lockout.

Audacity? To suggest that?

posted by tselson at 11:51 PM on March 11

Audacity? To suggest that?

Those links show only that the union had the foresight to ask the players how they felt about decertifying, if it became necessary, imho.

posted by outonleave at 06:26 AM on March 12

The refusal of the owners to actually show that they needed more money by showing their books is a deal-breaker. I don't see how "trust us, we need more money" is bargaining in good faith.

posted by bperk at 08:40 AM on March 12

Lock out statement from the league explaining why the players are big dummyheads who don't know what's good for them.

posted by yerfatma at 09:11 AM on March 12

Audacity? To suggest that?

So the union got approval in 2010 for decertification in event of lockout. But the owners began planning for the lockout in at least 2009 when they started restructuring their broadcast contracts to make sure they got paid during a lockout. If the other side tips its hand as to what it is planning to do, wouldn't you prepare a countermeasure?

posted by graymatters at 10:12 AM on March 12

Ok so there is a lockout, we have baseball, hockey, basketball and March Madness, etc, etc...

posted by Bag Man at 11:25 AM on March 12

The NFL's reign won't last forever. If there's a prolonged labor dispute here because of the owners' greed, I hope it knocks the NFL down a peg and helps the other sports.

My position on labor strife in sports is that it frees me up to follow other things. I'm not worried about them losing a season.

posted by rcade at 12:03 PM on March 12

I love NFL football, but I feel like if they give me my Sunday afternoons/evenings back, I might not give the whole day back.

I'm a creature of habit, and realistically, I've been meaning to watch soccer for years and just haven't had the time...so if I gain my Sundays back, give away Saturday mornings and get some enjoyment out of whatever team I choose winning, I may never return.

posted by dflemingecon at 12:21 PM on March 12

Could the actions of the NFL (both owners and players) really change the goose's golden egg to a chicken turd?

I have my doubts.

posted by graymatters at 12:30 PM on March 12

Brady, Manning, Brees file antitrust suit - Well, looks like the players certainly were prepared if the owners locked them out. You don't file a 52 page claim, with many more pages of supporting documents, right after a lockout otherwise.

Still, I agree with the apparent majority here that the owners are the impediment to a settlement.

dflemingecon, Liverpool FC are always up for another supporter. After all, you'll never walk alone, with us!

posted by billsaysthis at 12:33 PM on March 12

Any deal that includes revenue sharing in which one of the parties is refusing to open their books to actually show the revenue being generated is flawed from the start.

A few years ago I would have been inconsolable about the prospect of a season without football...but I have to say, this year I don't have those feelings. Goodell has destroyed the game I used to love, from moving the draft and opening game to Thursday nights, moving games overseas, pushing for an 18 game season, to legislating hits out of the league...every move he's made has made the league worse in my eyes. I actually went into this willing to give up the season if the union was able to get control of that jackass.

I have the same feeling for him as I did for my college coach..wonderment as to how he was able to take away my absolute love for the game. Believe me, it was no easy task. I wish I went to a big college, so I could throw myself into college football.

posted by bdaddy at 04:12 PM on March 12

Liverpool FC are always up for another supporter. After all, you'll never walk alone, with us!

Any team associated with the Floyd is immediately a front-runner.

posted by dflemingecon at 04:47 PM on March 12

Well, looks like the players certainly were prepared if the owners locked them out. You don't file a 52 page claim, with many more pages of supporting documents, right after a lockout otherwise.

I'm pretty sure the time line went like this:

Union decertification.

Lawsuit filed.

Lockout.

Star quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees were among 10 players who sued the NFL in federal court Friday, accusing the league of conspiracy and anticompetitive practices that date back years.

How exactly have they been harmed? Why didn't they file a lawsuit or grievances years ago? Those three players, more than any others, have been taken care of extremely well by their teams owners. What, now they have to look out for their family's future? They've allowed themselves to get screwed over the past 10 years? Seriously?

posted by tselson at 10:51 PM on March 12

They weren't allowed to file suit individually until the Union decertified.

posted by apoch at 07:23 AM on March 13

What, now they have to look out for their family's future? They've allowed themselves to get screwed over the past 10 years? Seriously?

As crazy as it seems they might have. The owners were saying they were losing money during the current contract. The players said "show us the books" the owners said no. Simple question, Why not? You may work for a very small company but see and feel things are better. Inceased income, capital improvements and then you boss says I can't give you a raise because I'm losing money even though your job might be dangerous and you may not be able to work anymore in three years. I know I would like to see the proof. Do you just take his/her word and say OK? I hope you would say prove it. That's what the NFLPL did. The owners are scared to show their profits and ridiculous expenses. What other reason would they hide the books? I would. in fact quit, as the players did. Granted they need the NFL but the NFL needs them. The difference here seems transparency. What's to hide on the part of the owners but lies?

posted by gfinsf at 09:43 AM on March 13

What's to hide on the part of the owners but lies?

Maybe it isn't lies to the players.

Maybe it's lies to the municipal/state/federal government about taxes.

posted by grum@work at 10:18 AM on March 13

How exactly have they been harmed?

How are the owners being harmed to the point that a lockout was necessary?

I think the suit and union decertification are just a way to put antitrust on the table to spook the owners. The owners have been preparing for months to starve out the players with a lockout so they'd come crawling back to the negotiating table.

So both sides are playing hardball.

posted by rcade at 10:25 AM on March 13

Those three players, more than any others, have been taken care of extremely well by their teams owners.

They were asked/ volunteered to lead the suit as a show of unity on the part of the union. No one will give a crap if some practice squad guy is on the top of the plantiff list.

posted by yerfatma at 11:36 AM on March 13

So both sides are playing hardball.

Of course they are. However, in my opinion, decertification is not playing hardball, it's playing dirty pool. The union has been recognized and the owners have been dealing with them as a union. That relationship comes with good things and bad things for both sides. Things they both agreed to. While you may not agree with the owners, at least they were playing by the rules that govern the CBA. (Unless the players have some serious evidence and win their lawsuit, of course;)

They were asked/ volunteered to lead the suit as a show of unity on the part of the union.

What union?

No one will give a crap if some practice squad guy is on the top of the plantiff list.

I assume the judge would. I'm sorry but I'd rather have seen a list of guys that are special teamers or backup linebackers filing a suit saying they hadn't been treated fairly than guys that make $45,800 a day.

posted by tselson at 10:55 PM on March 13

What union?

You got me. You win the Internets.

posted by yerfatma at 09:43 AM on March 14

However, in my opinion, decertification is not playing hardball, it's playing dirty pool.

Do you think that it was dirty pool for the owners to negotiate TV deals that included "lockout insurance" for themselves?

If you and I had a contract in which we shared revenue from a venture, and I made a side deal in which I took less revenue now to make more money without you later, I think you'd have a problem with that.

... I'd rather have seen a list of guys that are special teamers or backup linebackers filing a suit saying they hadn't been treated fairly than guys that make $45,800 a day.

That reasoning would appear to preclude you from caring about the fair treatment of the owners.

Obviously, there are a lot of astonishingly rich people in dispute here. You have to drill down the org chart to find people who are naturally deserving of sympathy.

posted by rcade at 11:18 AM on March 14

As much as it pains me to say it, I agree 100% with Michael Felger on this:

"The owners would be better off just saying they think the players are making too much. Then there'd be no explanations necessary. You're making too much. We want more. Plain and simple. It's capitalism. We'd all get it. But when owners say they need the money to operate the game, then shouldn't the specifics of that operation be on the table?"

The whole piece is worth a read, especially the part about front offices being turned into full employment acts for the owners' families. Why are those legitimate expenses?

posted by yerfatma at 12:03 PM on March 14

Another good take.

Football starts in September. Even if we assume training camps must start in late July to allow the NFL season to go on as usual, that leaves about 130 days for the players and owners to reach a settlement. That's an enormous amount of time, given that the two sides have already reached agreement on nearly all outstanding differences (in with rookie wage scale, out with 18-game schedule) except the biggest one, divvying up the swag. In short, the owners and union have gotten down to arithmetic. When they want to compromise, it will be relatively easy to do so.

posted by yerfatma at 12:45 PM on March 14

tselson, if you looked at the article I linked you'd see that while the three star QBs are among 10 listed plaintiffs the filing also requests class action status. IANAL but I believe this is just normal procedure in class action suits, you have a few class members at the start and ask the judge to enlarge. More lawyerly monkey doodle for sure but just SOP.

As to who were the named plaintiffs I assure you they were selected for PR value; in the end all the current players will be plaintiffs and not just the first 10.

If I were advising the players on PR matters, and this was legally permissible, I'd have tried to get the 25 (general consensus) All Pros to be the named plaintiffs. Would have gotten much bigger play IMO.

posted by billsaysthis at 04:02 PM on March 14

Yeah, I get that Bill, I just didn't think that it made for good PR to lead with three of the highest paid players the NFL has ever seen. Also from your link, what in the heck is Von Miller thinking? Suing his employers before he's even been hired? I just don't get it.

I think the Onion report says it best.

Also, since I won the whole frickin' internets, I won't have time to post here any more. I just have to sit through a short three hour presentation on time shares in Uganda and then I can claim my prize. I have been assured that no purchase is necessary.

/writes check to yerfatma for processing fee, grabs luggage and whistles dixie on way out!

posted by tselson at 05:46 PM on March 14

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