SBD/Issue 85/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Goodell Remains Optimistic About CBA Talks, Hopes For Progress

Goodell Says Its Becoming Increasingly
Likely NFL Will Be In Uncapped Season
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Friday morning said he wishes there was "more progress happening" in CBA negotiations with the NFLPA, but added the "good news is that dialogue is happening." Goodell: "Obviously, as we get closer to the start of a new year, it becomes increasingly likely we'll be in an uncapped season and the clubs are preparing for that." Meanwhile, Goodell stressed that the Redskins and Seahawks both adhered to the Rooney Rule in hiring new head coaches this month. Goodell: "I actually feel that the Rooney Rule was not only observed, it was followed very sincerely. ... I'm aware of both the owners' and the CEOs' perspective going back several weeks and their initiative and what they were thinking about." He added, "I'm confident that both clubs went after this with the right perspective and the right process." Meanwhile, Goodell said moving the Pro Bowl from Hawaii to Miami, the site of this year's Super Bowl, is a "big change, and we thought it was a great way to create a new platform and a bigger platform for our great players." He noted, "We’ve already sold more tickets to the Pro Bowl this year than we've sold in the past. Hawaii has been a great place and we're going back next year, but this is an opportunity for us to try something different" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN2, 1/15).

SIDES STILL FAR APART: NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith Wednesday addressed the CBA negotiations and said he has a "hard time understanding why in the era of such good business why we just can't get this thing taken care of sooner rather than later." When asked whether he has been contacted by politicians about preventing a work stoppage in '11, Smith said the NFLPA has "fielded a lot of questions across the board and some of those questions have come from not only people on the Hill but people within state houses, state legislatures, state attorney generals, consumer interest groups." Smith: "Everyone wants to make sure that this game goes forward and the players are absolutely committed to that. It's my job to try to figure out why eight billion isn't enough" (, 1/13).

INCONSISTENT POSITION? In St. Paul, Brian Murphy reports the NFL "went on the offensive in a Minneapolis courtroom Thursday, attacking claims" by Vikings DTs Kevin and Pat Williams that the league "violated state drug-testing laws when it suspended them" in '08 for taking the StarCaps supplement, which contains a banned substance. The NFL "argued for the first time Thursday that the Williamses could not sue the league for violating" the Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act because the Vikings "are their employers, not the NFL, which is responsible for disciplining players under the anti-doping policy." Peter Ginsberg, an attorney for the Williamses, "seized on that to portray a conflict in legal positions the NFL is staking in separate court cases," including American Needle v. NFL. The league in that case Wednesday "argued its teams should be allowed to operate as a single business unit when negotiating licensing and merchandising contracts" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/15).

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