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NFLPA LEADERS DELIVER THEIR "STATE OF THE UNION"
Published January 27, 1995
NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw, Asst Exec Dir Doug Allen, and General Counsel Richard Bertelson held a news conference to review the past year and look ahead to '95 from the vantage point of the league's players' union. Topics discussed were the first year of the salary cap, a survey of NFL players on the league's playing surfaces, and the union's new for-profit marketing arm, Players Inc. PLAYERS INC.: Allen: "We're the first sports union that has created a for-profit marketing subsidiary, and it's the only marketing company that is dedicated to marketing all of the players in a professional sport. ... The way the law works, a sports union can license player rights for passive royalties, but the players enthusiastically supported doing much, much more than that." THE CAP: Upshaw outlined the effect of the salary cap saying that the CBA ensures "labor peace" through 2000. Upshaw released figures that showed 18 teams spending over the cap of $34.6M and that the players' share of Direct Gross Revenues ($1.706B total) was $1.092B, or $39.002M per team. That was an 8% improvement over '93. Upshaw: "Our players are living on 64% of revenues, and that stays in the locker room. ... The system is working." LEGAL ISSUES: Bertelson outlined the state of legal action over the CBA. Several players who are challenging the CBA are now deciding whether to appeal an 8th Circuit decision supporting the cap to the Supreme Court. If they decide not to appeal, $150M in damages awarded to the players will be freed. On the ruling by the 2nd Circuit Tuesday, Bertelson: "The NBA's players, unfortunately, are faced with the same dilemma that we were faced with in 1989 -- Do you continue the union in existence, which only, under this ruling, would protect the owners not the players? Or do you decide you don't want to have collective bargaining rights, and pursue your individual rights?" SURVEY: Not surprisingly, the players overwhelmingly prefer natural grass. 85% like grass, 7% turf. 70% say the playing surface plays a role in their free agency decisions.