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Smith Tells Players That Owners
Want To Cut Compensation By 18%
UNION AGAIN PUTS ONUS ON LEAGUE: Smith said of the current CBA, "We signed this deal in 2006 so every player thought this was going to be an agreement that lasted until 2012. So the players want to play. We didn't walk away from the deal at all; the owners did. ... What our fans should know is what the facts are, and that our players want to play and our fans should know it's the owners who have taken these steps, not the players" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/19).
IMPACT ON ASSISTANT COACHES: In Milwaukee, Greg Bedard reported the group "set up to take the hardest hit" from a possible work stoppage is assistant coaches. Most coaching staffs "run with contracts through the next season, so nearly all have contracts through '10." However, negotiations "have been going on since the end of the season about contracts for '11," and assistant coaches typically are "getting a raw deal." Owners are "putting language in new contracts that not only calls for up to a 50% wage reduction in the event of a lockout, but the right for the team to terminate the coach without further payment past 60 days." NFL Coaches Association Exec Dir Larry Kennan: "It's horrible. We're not involved in the work stoppage. The club is telling us 'we're not going to allow you to work, therefore we're going to cut your pay.' You don't like it, it's not right" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/16).
Juniors Declare For '10 NFL Draft
As Fear Of Lockout Looms
BAD TIMING: The INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL's Anthony Schoettle reported the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee and the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association said that planning for Super Bowl XLVI in '12 is "proceeding at full speed in spite of the labor issue." Central Indiana Corporate Partnership President & CEO Mark Miles, the host committee's liaison to the NFL, "thinks there is little to worry about." Organizers "have already agreed to hold open the weeks" of February 5 and February 12, but an "extended labor dispute could easily push the game to late February or even early March" (IBJ.com, 1/16).
Martin Clarifies Recent Statement
About NFL Rookie Wage Scale
INITIAL COMMENTS DRAW NFLPA REBUKE: Martin's initial comments brought a sharp rebuke from a group of retired players who were meeting with NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith on Friday. Smith in a statement said, "We want to know why the teams contribute nothing to retired players and why $31[M] profit per club isn't enough. The simple fact is the teams sell the legacy of retired players, but pay nothing for it. Every fan should know that as they look at their stadiums ring of fame, none of those players have received a dime from the teams since their last play. George Martin knows that better than anyone." The statement was signed by nine former NFLers -- Andre Collins, Jean Fugett, Clark Gaines, Nolan Harrison, Charles Mann, Mike McBath, Brig Owens, Isiah Robertson and Ray Schoenke. The letter also questioned why Martin has not attended retired players meetings Smith has held since he was elected NFLPA Exec Dir last year. Martin said he has not been able to attend NFLPA retired players meetings because of scheduling conflicts, but said he met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell three times since taking on his new job and has met up to twice a week with other league employees since taking the reins of NFL Alumni. The organization is funded in part by a $1M, interest-free loan from the NFL.
MARTIN RESPONDS TO NFLPA, RETIRED PLAYERS: Martin this morning responded to the letter from Smith and the nine former players. The letter in part stated, “Since the day I was selected to this position in October, I have attempted to meet with Mr. Smith but unfortunately he has not been able to free his schedule to sit down with me. Fortunately, I have had numerous other conversations with leaders in the player Alumni community around the country, Commissioner Goodell, and NFL owners. ... My recent statements regarding increasing pension and medical benefits for NFL alumni was not a comment on the current CBA negotiations; rather a call to both the union and the owners to keep the best interests of retired players in mind as they negotiate the latest labor agreement for active players.”
CBA BARGAINING CONTINUES: Meanwhile, the NFL is meeting with the NFLPA today for another formal CBA bargaining session in DC, where the league could respond to the NFLPA's counter-proposal to change rookie deals this year. Under the NFLPA's proposal there would be no wage scale, but rookie deals would be limited to three years and some savings would go to retired players. But the NFLPA's plan is conditional, based on the league agreeing to extend the current labor deal two years and for NFL owners to match any contributions active players make to retired players benefits. It is not expected that the league will accept that offer, as a league source last week said that the union was tying its offer "to extraneous proposals that they know are unacceptable." A union source responded that the NFLPA was asking owners to match the contribution to retired players that active players are willing to make.
Newman Feels NASCAR Allowing Drivers
To Police Garage Will Be Good For Sport
In Providence, Bill Reynolds writes, “These are not the best of times for the NBA, not when the last week has been about lawyers, guns and money, as much as it’s been about slam dunks.” Suspended Wizards G Gilbert Arenas is “all over the news for bringing four handguns” to Verizon Center following a gambling dispute with teammate G Javaris Crittenton, and it is the “latest example of conspicuous consumption in the NBA.” Reynolds: “The last thing the NBA needs is another image problem” (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 1/19).
GETTING CLOSE TO A DEAL? In DC, Steven Goff wrote, “I’m getting positive vibes about the negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement between MLS and the players’ union.” The current deal expires at the end of the month, and a “work stoppage in preseason, which for many teams is scheduled to begin in two weeks, wouldn’t be catastrophic.” However, “any delay to the start of the league schedule in late March would be a public relations setback for the league and sport in this country” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/17).
Players Laud Whan For Setting Up Sponsor
Event While Solheim Cup Members Were In DC
SUING FOR DAMAGES: Former Renault F1 Managing Dir Flavio Briatore said that he is “suing Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, for the loss of income to his driver management business incurred after he was given a lifetime ban from the sport.” Briatore: “We lost [Fernando] Alonso, we lost [Heikki] Kovalainen, we lost several drivers. We will sue the FIA for the money we lost” (London TELEGRAPH, 1/18).