SBD/Issue 152/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • Goodell Says Lack Of Rookie Cap Has Competitive Ramifications

    Goodell Says Players Who Have Performed
    On NFL Level Should Be Compensated
    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Saturday appeared on NFL Network and said the current system of signing rookie players "has been skewed," and it is "not only having financial ramifications to clubs, it's having competitive ramifications." Goodell said he believes NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith and the players "want the money to go to proven veterans and people that are in the NFL rather than people that may be out of the NFL because they didn't pan out." But Smith said, "The owners sign the checks, our players don't. ... Our players know the work that goes into making a decision on how much to pay. That's not a decision that lies on the players and they know that. So, in respect to a rookie (salary) cap, I am very happy with the scenario that we have now" (NFL Network, 4/25). Goodell Friday met with the APSE and said of a potential rookie salary cap, "It is getting to the point where the risk is so great by having that high draft choice that if you make a mistake, the impact can be so great that [it] can set you back from a competitive standpoint. ... We want the players who have performed on the NFL level to be compensated" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/25). More Goodell: "It’s not that I’m opposed to the rookies getting money, I think that’s great. But I think the veterans that have proven themselves on the NFL level deserve the bulk of the compensation. When a player is drafted and doesn’t make it and he takes that money out of the system, that’s a disadvantage to the other players in the league" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN2, 4/24). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote Goodell "needs to take a look at how the NBA's rookie salary scale impacted that league before he charges down the same route." After the NBA in '98 instituted the salary scale, there was "no longer a financial incentive for players to remain in college and improve their draft status." Goodell is "playing politics here and playing it well," as there "isn't much public patience with massive contracts handed out to fresh-faced college guys" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/24).

    Stafford's Guaranteed $41.7M Sets Record
    For Most Guaranteed Money In NFL History
    EXHIBIT A: The Lions Friday agreed to terms with QB Matthew Stafford on a six-year, $78M deal, including $41.7M guaranteed, and in N.Y., Gary Myers wrote Stafford "represents all that is wrong with the league's system of paying rookies." Stafford already has "set a record for most guaranteed money in NFL history, breaking the previous record" of $41M set in February by Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth. When Stafford can sign such a deal, there are "obviously no financial constraints in place that are working," and it is "clear the rookie money has gotten completely out of control and is hurting the ability of bad teams to improve" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/26). SI.com's Peter King wrote, "I simply don't understand why, in this era when teams and the league complain constantly about the size of rookie contracts and guarantees, that the Lions paid Stafford 16[%] more in annual guarantees than last year's top pick." Stafford's contract is "sure to rekindle the debate -- and it should -- over the whole issue of paying rookies stupid sums they haven't earned" (SI.com, 4/25). Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom: “It’s insane to pay this much money to guys who have not played in the NFL yet” ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 4/26). In Detroit, Nicholas Cotsonika wrote of the rookie salary escalation, "It's got to stop. And you know the NFL is going to push hard for a sane rookie wage scale in labor negotiations" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/25). In Toronto, Rob Longley wrote Stafford's deal "will make owners around the league cringe and surely will be the impetus for change when negotiations get cooking for the next" CBA (TORONTO SUN, 4/26).

    PLAYERS NOT THRILLED WITH DEAL: Vikings QB Sage Rosenfels said of Stafford's deal, "It just blows me away. Right or wrong, he makes twice as much money as [Patriots QB] Tom Brady. To me, it doesn't make sense." Vikings DE Jared Allen: "It's outrageous, absolutely outrageous. The guy's never taken a snap. I'm happy for him, but we got guys in this league that have played 10, 12 years that earn their wages every day and they don't see that kind of money" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/26).

    AGENTS DISCUSS SYSTEM: Sportstars Inc. agent Jason Chayut noted the Draft “has proven to be an inexact science,” and a rookie cap will be “something that will certainly be up for discussion with the next CBA.” Agent Leigh Steinberg noted signing bonuses first were given to players due to “competition between leagues.” Steinberg: “It’s not like if they don’t sign with their team they have a great choice. They’re not going to go back to their campuses and develop a new theory of superconductivity.” Meanwhile, Chayut said, “Different agents have a lock on some of the higher picks and they wield a lot of clout behind the scenes with the CBA negotiations. It’s in their best interests to keep some of these top picks getting these exorbitant amounts of money” (“America’s Nightly Scoreboard,” Fox Business, 4/24).

    LIONS LOSE AGAIN: In Detroit, Michael Rosenberg wrote the Lions "got absolutely schooled on this contract negotiation," and they "totally botched it." The Lions "cost themselves millions of dollars they could have spent on other players, and they once again caused people around the NFL to shake their heads." The Lions "complained that rookie bonuses are way too high, then went way higher than they ever needed to go." The Lions and President Tom Lewand "looked like amateurs here." Instead of "saying they needed to sign somebody to a reasonable deal, they said they needed to sign somebody before the draft," which "put the pressure on them" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/25). Also in Detroit, Drew Sharp wrote the Lions "had no choice but basically giving Stafford what he demanded in guaranteed dollars." However, the anger "should be directed at the NFL and the Players' Association for a [CBA] that unfairly and outrageously rewards unproven potential" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/25).

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  • DeMaurice Smith, Goodell Discuss CBA Talks In Joint TV Interview

    Goodell (c), Smith (r) Discuss Upcoming CBA
    Talks With NFL Network's Rich Eisen
    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and newly-elected NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith Saturday sat down for their first joint TV interview, and Goodell said the two have "already met a few times" to discuss a new CBA and will start "more formal negotiations in the next several weeks." Goodell noted Smith is "going to go out, spend some time talking to some of the players and some of the teams and we hope to sit down in the next few weeks." Smith said, "Our players want to play, our owners want to play. I know Roger wants to play. ... We're going to sit down and chat and we'll get a deal." More Smith: "One of the things that we are interested in is anytime that we move into a new deal and people are interested in the full fairness of the deal, they want to see the audited financial statements, they want to know if the teams are doing well. ... I come from a world where if you share that information, you get a heck of a lot closer to making a deal and that's something that I'm sure we're going to chat about." Goodell in response said, "They know 60% of our costs go to the players, so if there's other information that's necessary to help us through, we've talked about the analysis on an extended season. That's something we want to share. We want to share information so they can make better decisions and we can reach an agreement." Meanwhile, Smith added the NFLPA wants to discuss the potential expanded regular-season schedule, and said, "I'm happy that the commissioner and the league wants to talk about that." When asked how extra games would affect player safety, Goodell said, "We're staying within the 20-game format. Any changes that we would make, there would be a reduction in the number of preseason games. I recognize that the players aren't playing in the preseason that fans want to see and that's part of the problem. The preseason isn't as attractive to our fans and in this kind of environment, we have to do everything we can to improve the quality of what we do" (NFL Network, 4/25).  

    Smith Says NFLPA Needs Full
    Disclosure Of League's Finances
    READY FOR BATTLE: Smith Friday at a news conference said that the NFLPA "needs full and transparent disclosure of the league's finances before any talks would be productive." But Goodell responded, "The players know where every penny we made in the league is ... through an independent audit. They know the cost side, that 60[%] of that goes to the players. On the other side, the stadium constructions, they participate in that, so they know that. We've shared information with them." Smith, who will begin a two-month series of meetings with NFL players this week, also argued that the NFL "already has a rookie wage scale -- something Goodell believes does not exist, but needs to implement." Smith argued that less than 4% of the "monies dedicated to salaries goes to rookies," but Goodell pointed out that $600M, including $400M in guaranteed money, will be given to the 32 first-round picks from this year's draft. Goodell: "Something is broken. We want the player who has performed on the NFL level to be compensated" (AP, 4/24). In Boston, Ron Borges wrote Smith is a "firm believer in respectful discourse, minimal table-banging and reasonable negotiations, but he’s also a believer in a trust-but-verify approach, which seems to mean he and NFL management are on a collision course about the idea of teams opening their books if they want to claim revenue shortfalls." Smith: "There has never been a significant deal done with due diligence that I was involved with where everyone didn’t trade data. What company doesn’t do that information sharing, if they want to make a deal?" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/25).

    STAYING PUT: Smith Friday also said that he has "no intention of walking away from his new job, even though he has been working without a contract and he and the union are believed to be far apart on salary and length-of-contract demands." Smith: "I'm not going anywhere. I've got a job to do" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/25).

    ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN: Goodell Friday indicated that he "can envision a Super Bowl played in mid-February if the league expands its regular-season schedule to 17 or 18 games." The AP's Barry Wilner reported team owners are "expected to get a proposal, perhaps as soon as next month, that would eliminate two preseason games and add one or two to the regular schedule." Goodell noted that such a format change "could push the Super Bowl back to President's weekend." Wilner noted a Super Bowl in mid-February "could conflict with such other events as the Daytona 500, the NBA All-Star Game and, every four years, the Winter Olympics." Goodell Friday outlined a potential scenario that would see "two preseason games in August, followed by a dark week on Labor Day weekend, followed by the opening week." Each team still would have a bye during the regular season, and there would continue to be a week off between the conference championships and the Super Bowl (AP, 4/24).

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  • Hold On, Chap: Goodell Denies Super Bowl Heading To London

    Goodell Claims NFL Has Never Looked At
    London, Mexico City As Super Bowl Sites
    The Super Bowl is "not headed across the pond to London anytime soon," according to Gary Myers of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. A BBC report on Friday stated league officials had discussed the idea of playing a future Super Bowl in London, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Friday afternoon said the league "has never looked at London or Mexico City" as a Super Bowl site. Goodell: "There is not an international city. Maybe New Orleans is considered an international city" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/25).

    WHY EVEN CONSIDER SUCH A MOVE? BLEACHER REPORT's Angel Navedo wrote, "How can one justify taking the Super Bowl out of the country? Because 80,000 fans made it out for a regular season contest? I understand the dollars and cents. I know it's all about revenue. But the Super Bowl is an American tradition, one that many fans overseas don't understand or appreciate (BLEACHERREPORT.com, 4/24). In Tennessee, George Robinson wrote, "Pro football is at an all-time high. Why take it center stage across the pond?" (Clarksville LEAF-CHRONICLE, 4/25). Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan: "What possible sense and justification is there to take it and move it to London other than, once again, marketing geeks who have taken over the world of sport” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 4/24). In South Carolina, Scott Adamson wrote, "This is about good, old-fashioned corporate greed. If London makes a good enough offer, the NFL won't blink before signing off on the deal. ... That doesn't make it right, of course. It makes as much sense as [EPL clubs] Chelsea and Everton playing the FA Cup Final ... at Giants Stadium" (Anderson INDEPENDENT-MAIL, 4/25).

    AMERICAN MADE: In Jacksonville, Hays Carlyon wrote a Super Bowl outside the U.S. "would be the single biggest disgrace in sports history." If Goodell and the NFL "ever take the Super Bowl overseas, they might as well never come back" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 4/25). Fanhouse.com's Kevin Blackistone: "This is the National Football League, not the International Football League. ... This is the biggest sporting event in the (U.S.) and it deserves to stay here" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 4/24). SportsNet N.Y.’s Brandon Tierney: "Football’s not going to be popular there. They don’t even care about the sport” (“The Wheelhouse,” SNY, 4/24). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser asked, "Is it the Worldwide Football Championship? It’s the National Football League, it’s the United States. How are Americans going to get there to watch this game?" Kornheiser: "Why don’t we have the cricket championships in Kansas City? Because it’s not our game." But ESPN's Michael Wilbon said London should host a Super Bowl because “you’ve run out of glamorous cities (in the U.S.) to have the Super Bowl in.” Wilbon, on the NFL: "They need the big stage, the glamorous cities” ("PTI," ESPN, 4/24).

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  • Stern Projects Slight Increase In Revenue For NBA This Season

    Stern Says NBA On Pace To Have
    Third-Highest Attendance In History
    NBA Commissioner David Stern said that the league's revenue is "up just slightly this year," according to Bill Eichenberger of SPORTINGNEWS.com. Stern added, "Our attendance maintained its pace of last year. We are on pace to have our third-highest attendance in history." However, Stern said, "We're projecting that our revenues will be down slightly next year because a number of our teams have cut [ticket] prices." Stern also said there is a "real possibility" of having an NBA team based in Europe, but added, "We need owners with very deep pockets." Meanwhile, Stern said the public image of the NBA is not the "highest, but it is considerably up from what its lowest was, which was following" the Pacers-Pistons brawl in '04 (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/25). Stern said that the NBA was projecting the slight increase in league revenues "thanks largely in part to television contracts and luxury-seating sales." Stern also said that "in the future, the league will search for a window between the NFL's postseason events to hold its NBA All-Star Game, even if it means moving" it earlier in the season (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 4/25).

    SECURITY DETAILS: YAHOO SPORTS' Adrian Wojnarowski wrote with "bad series and irrelevant franchises conspiring for a sluggish start" to the NBA playoffs, Stern needs the Bulls-Celtics series to "go the distance." But the death threats against Celtics G Tony Allen are "real and a concern." The NBA heightened security for Allen following the threats, and it "was an embarrassing episode for the Celtics and the NBA." Stern at Thursday's Celtics-Bulls game at United Center was walking around "with his security force watching the back of Allen for who-knows-why," and his teammates are "made to pay with suffocating security presence the rest of the weekend." The situation has the NBA and the Celtics a "little uneasy, and a little embarrassed" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/24).

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  • League Notes

    Bettman Notes All Teams Are
    Staying In Current Location
    In Toronto, Kevin McGran wrote, "Even with groups lined up to place a second team in the Greater Toronto Area, the New York Islanders stymied at attempts to build a new arena and concern mounting about the Phoenix Coyotes, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says all 30 NHL teams are staying put." Bettman: "I like all my 30 clubs where they are. I know there's interest in other places, but I like where we are." Bettman continued, "It doesn't mean, at some point in the future, in a vastly different economic climate, we might not be looking at other opportunities." Bettman said if Islanders Owner Charles Wang's timetable to renovate Nassau Coliseum "is not satisfied," Wang "will be looking at his options." Bettman: "Nobody in their right mind is going to stay in that building a moment longer than they have to" (TORONTO STAR, 4/25).

    INT'L INTRIGUE: In Pittsburgh, Rob Biertempfel wrote Cuban baseball players are "some of the most talented in the world," but only a "handful have successfully defected from the communist nation and found their way" to MLB. However, that "would change if the American and Cuban governments end their five-decade cold war," and President Obama's administration already has "eased restrictions" pertaining to the country. If Cubans could become MLB-eligible free agents "without having to defect, the pool of players would be expanded." Pirates Dir of Player Development Kyle Stark said that "improved relations between the U.S. and Cuba could lead to a rush of Cuban players" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 4/26).

    GLOBAL DRIVE: IRL Commercial Division President Terry Angstadt said that his "upcoming trip to China and ongoing talks with Brazil don't mean the IndyCar Series is intent on going global." Angstadt: "We're a domestic series and will continue to be. But to not explore opportunities in countries with emerging economies, we would not be doing our job." Angstadt said that a race in China is "at least two years away," but Brazil is a "likely addition to the 2010 schedule" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/27).

    TAKING PRECAUTIONS: GOLF CHANNEL's Randall Mell reported LPGA players over the weekend "received up to three e-mails from the tour's tournament operations office outlining specifics of the swine-flu threat and precautions players should take" during the LPGA Corona Championship in Mexico. Golfer Brittany Lincicome: "They were very detailed and included what symptoms to look for, what to do if we aren't feeling well and how we should immediately see a doctor if we become sick" (THEGOLFCHANNEL.com, 4/26).

    GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNING: A LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL editorial stated NASCAR's announced decision to move its year-end awards ceremony to the city "couldn't have come at a better time for the recession-buffeted Las Vegas economy, and serves as a reminder that the city still offers precisely what has made it the world's entertainment capital for decades." Las Vegas tourism officials and "all others involved in pitching Las Vegas as the best site for NASCAR to wind up its season deserve a hearty, 'Well done'" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 4/25).

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