SBD/Issue 87/Leagues & Governing Bodies

SI's King Says Work Stoppage Likely To Delay/Cancel '11 NFL Season

Smith Tells Players That Owners
Want To Cut Compensation By 18%
It will be an "upset if there isn't a work stoppage that either delays or cancels" the '11 NFL season, according to Peter King of The "total lack of progress over the nut issue in 11 bargaining sessions" indicates that "unless there's a sea-change by one side or the other, you'd better savor the 2010 season because it could be the last football we see for a while." At the "core of the problem is ownership's demand for players to bear an equal part of the cost for stadium construction, debt service and upkeep -- and the players saying it's not their problem." NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith in a recent e-mail to player reps "startled player leaders by saying ownership wanted to cut player compensation by 18[%] per year in the new CBA." King: "I thought the 18[%] number might be an exaggeration, a scare tactic to get players' attention. It's not." An NFL source said that owners "have asked that the players' pool of revenue against which the salary cap is calculated be reduced" by 18%, and a union source said that the players are "not prepared to take a penny, or a percentage point, less." King: "I wouldn't be surprised if there is some give-and-take in the owners' demands, because this is collective bargaining, but I would be surprised if the owners drop this as a demand altogether. ... But from the players' perspective, it's got to be a tough sell to union leaders." More King: "Imagine Smith going into a union meeting at a team and telling the players that the average compensation to the men in this room is about $1.8[M] this year in salary and bonus payments, and explaining to them in a time of bountiful success for the NFL, each of the players is going to have to take, on average, a $324,000 pay cut. The players will never go for that" (, 1/18). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro wrote the NFL could see the "most traumatic work stoppage in sports history, and there's no need to even argue the point" (N.Y. POST, 1/17).

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
STRIKE WHILE THE IRON'S HOT: The NFL today announced 53 college underclassmen declared for the NFL draft by Friday's deadline, up from 46 last year and even with '08. In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz noted the increase from last year could be due in part to both the "fear of an NFL lockout" and a "rookie wage scale beginning" in '11. Schultz wrote it "seems implausible that the NFL and players won't come to terms on a new CBA," as there are "too many billions on the table." However, the "most absurd concern of all is this projected rookie wage scale, which likely would have a significant effect on only the top half of the first round (16 players)." The scale would "have minimal effect on the other 250 players taken" (, 1/16). But SI's Stewart Mandel writes the 53 underclassmen is not the "massive rush as some feared" (, 1/19).

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" (, 1/16).

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