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SBD/Issue 129/Leagues & Governing Bodies
Have Patience: No Timetable For Goodell, Smith To Discuss CBA
Published March 24, 2009
|Writer Says Smith Has Essentially
One Year To Complete Labor Deal
LOOMING LABOR UNREST: Goodell said of the possibility of an uncapped season in ’10, “I don’t believe that will be the case.” Goodell: “Right now our entire focus is how do we make sure we understand our priorities in the collective bargaining process and work to create an agreement.” Goodell said that player costs “increased by $500[M] over 2008 and 2009” (USA TODAY, 3/24). But in St. Louis, Jim Thomas writes the NFL and NFLPA are “edging ever closer” to a labor impasse. The current economic recession “has magnified the issues separating both sides,” and “compounding the issue from an owner’s standpoint is the fact that more and more NFL teams are at least partially financing new stadiums.” Texans Owner Bob McNair: “The owners have more debt; the league has more debt. These stadiums cost so much, and in the past, they were municipally financed.” Goodell: “There’s a lot of risk out there, and that risk is falling on the owners. I think there’s got to be a recognition of the costs that are associated with operating NFL franchises. That includes stadiums. That includes operating teams and building stadiums” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/24). McNair added, “We need a structure that works long-term. We can’t expect the fans to pay more and more and more. We have to hold all our expenses down and labor is just one of them” (AP, 3/23).
BRACING FOR A STOPPAGE: SI.com’s Don Banks wrote, “I’ve gotten -- really for the first time -- a growing sense that the league’s impending labor showdown will all but assure a season with no salary cap in 2010, with a decent bet for a subsequent work stoppage in 2011.” People in the league are “not only bracing for an uncapped season, they’re preparing for it as if it’s almost a given at this point.” Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said of an uncapped year, "It's not scary at all to us. There are a lot of pluses to it. It's definitely not a doomsday scenario, and it might have to happen to get things right." One GM said, “I can’t imagine we get a deal before there’s a work stoppage at this point. The players are going to dig in, and that’s where this thing is headed.” An NFL team source said that “some owners have implemented far-reaching contingency plans into their business operations that reflect the potential for no season in 2011.” A league source also indicated that some NFL owners with “particularly huge slices of debt service on the new stadiums that they own and operate have even prepared for a possible work stoppage in 2011 by having ‘Force Majeure’ clauses inserted into their contracts -- which frees one from liability when an extraordinary event or circumstances beyond the control of the parties prevents one from fulfilling their obligations” (SI.com, 3/23).
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