SBD/Issue 88/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Giants' Mara First Owner To Speak Extensively About NFL CBA Talks

Mara Says He Is Resigned To
An Uncapped Season In 2010
NFL Giants President & CEO John Mara yesterday said that he is "resigned to an uncapped season in 2010 and thought the union and owners might be moving further apart in talks toward a new labor agreement," according to Judy Battista of the N.Y. TIMES. Mara yesterday was among the owners who "took part in the 11th negotiating session with union leaders" in DC, and he is the "first owner to speak extensively since negotiations began." Mara said that he "still had hope that a lockout could be averted." However, he added, "I don't think we're making any progress. We made a proposal in early November. I don't think we've received a meaningful counterproposal. The point that we try to make to them is that the costs and risks are much greater than they ever have been. ... They want a deal that is equal to or better than the existing one, and that is not acceptable to us." Battista notes Mara's comments represent a "ratcheting up of rhetoric between the two sides and is particularly noteworthy," as "until now, owners have avoided speaking publicly about negotiations at the behest of Commissioner Roger Goodell." By allowing Mara to "speak about feelings privately shared by other owners, management is likely hoping to win over public opinion." The "crux of negotiations is how to divide a revenue pie" of about $8.5B. The current CBA "calls for players to receive nearly 60[%] of revenue," but the NFLPA "views the real percentage players receive as closer to 51[%], and union leaders think owners want a rollback" of 18%. Meanwhile, both sides "seem to agree that a rookie cap is necessary to redirect money to current and retired players." Mara: "We'd rather have money going to retired players and veteran players as opposed to unproven rookies." Battista writes the "need for a limit on rookie wages may be the only common ground players and management have" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/20).

NUMBERS GAME: SI.com's Peter King wrote NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith "would never walk into a room and try to present a contract to players that called for them to take" an 18% pay cut. Before CBA talks are "even close to a conclusion, the NFL will have more money thrown into the pot -- from negotiations over how much of a contribution players should make to the new stadium construction leaguewide (if anything), from the new money coming in from two additional regular-season [games], and from the money funneled to veterans if and when a rookie salary pool is instituted, which could mean upwards of $150[M] per year put into the veteran payment pool" (SI.com, 1/19). NFLPA Assistant Exec Dir of External Affairs George Atallah wrote on his Twitter page, "The $8.5B secret: 32 factories are making $ in this economy and threatening to shut down unless employees took 18% cut. Why?"

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