SBD/Issue 234/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Uncapped NFL Season In '10 More Likely As Owners, Union Disagree

Pash Upset With Economics
Of Current CBA
It is "increasingly likely that the NFL is headed to a season without a salary cap" in '10, as NFLPA officials said that team owners "made no proposal in the first two negotiating sessions" for a new CBA, according to Judy Battista of the N.Y. TIMES. Owners said that their concerns "have been conveyed during a series of less formal conversations," but NFLPA outside counsel James Quinn said, "We're into this 14 months, we're still waiting for a proposal from the NFL that we haven't gotten. That will jump-start the negotiation." NFL Exec VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash said the current CBA "doesn't reflect the current economics of running a football team." Pash: "A very good example is the extraordinary amount of debt the Jets and Giants are taking on to build a stadium. Yes, stadiums are drivers of new revenues, but there are tremendous costs." Pash said that 75% of new revenue "has gone to player costs ... since the current deal was reached in 2006." Battista noted NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith, "echoing his predecessor Gene Upshaw," has vowed that "if the cap disappears, the union will never accept one again, removing the cost certainty it provides" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/23). Pash said the "only people talking about a lockout" for the '11 season "belong to the union" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 8/23). On Long Island, Bob Glauber wrote Smith "hopes common sense will prevail, but he isn't convinced." Smith: "I have to believe that given the number of fans we have, given the love of this game, given the way that football has become intrinsically intertwined with our culture, I can't see how anyone would jeopardize that" (NEWSDAY, 8/22).

WHAT'S THE FUSS ABOUT? SI.com's Peter King writes, "Quite honestly, why should anyone care if there's a cap in 2010? ... Understand the minimum-service time for unrestricted free agents rises from four to six years in 2010, and understand that each team can use a franchise tag AND transition tag to lock up two potential free agents next year, and understand the top eight teams in the league can't sign a free agent until they lose one of similar value. Now you understand why the prospect of an uncapped year doesn't make general managers league-wide lose much sleep. Or any" (SI.com, 8/24). 

ROOKIE PAY AN ISSUE: In Indianapolis, Mike Chappell noted the concept of a "rookie wage scale likely will be a priority among owners when discussions over a new labor agreement intensify," and Colts President Bill Polian said that the current system that "requires teams to throw hundreds of millions of dollars at unproven players selected in the first round ... 'is crazy.'" Polian: "In a game where people have to earn things on the field on merit, we should not pay the wrong people. ... No business can sustain that model very long" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/23).

Writer Says Goodell Has
Taken No-Excuses Approach
RULING WITH AN IRON FIST: In Miami, Dan Le Batard wrote of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's personal conduct policy, "I'd like to see someone with Goodell's bullying zeal rule too harshly on a Goodell mistake to universal applause, so that he would be forced to look more empathetically at whether there is more good or evil in the way he's punishing his workers -- which is with a breadth and hostility unseen before from a ruler in American professional sports." Le Batard: "I don't know if what he's doing is more good than evil." And it is "stupefying that the player's union, whose sole job it is to protect its constituency, has failed so spectacularly here," as this issue is "something union insiders predict might result in a work stoppage when the next contract is negotiated" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/23). In Nashville, Joe Biddle wrote Goodell has taken a "no-excuses approach as he tries to clean up the image of the most popular professional league in sports." But his "time-out approach doesn't seem to be serving as a deterrent," as players are "still breaking the law." While there is "talk around the league that members of the players association believe he has been too heavy-handed," Goodell "needs to stand his ground." Biddle: "It will be his legacy" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 8/22).

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