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Smith Not Agreeing To An
18% Cut To Players' Salaries
HOW LIKELY IS A LOCKOUT? If a new CBA is not reached by March 5, the '10 season will be played without a salary cap. And if no deal is reached by March '11, the owners could lock the players out. NFLPA President Kevin Mawae said the players are expecting that to happen. The question and answer session of the NFLPA press conference Thursday was kicked off by Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco, who asked how serious the threat of a lockout was in '11. Smith responded on a scale of 1 to 10, "I'd call it a 14." Smith also proposed that NFL clubs donate 2% of their profits to a legacy fund to be distributed to retired players. Pash said that the NFL was the first to propose increasing retired players benefits (Daniel Kaplan & Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal).
DARK CLOUDS AHEAD: The AP’s Tim Reynolds wrote the NFLPA Thursday “painted perhaps the bleakest picture yet regarding prospects of labor strife in the league.” Smith: “I keep coming back to an economic model in America that is unparalleled. And that makes it incredibly difficult to then come to players and say, on average, each of you needs to take a $340,000 pay cut to save the National Football League. Tough Sell” (AP, 2/4). However, Pash, referring to claims players are being asked to take an 18% pay cut, said, “The change is nowhere close to 18%. It’s probably half that. But more important -- our proposal should not result, and we have never said it would result, in players having to take a reduction.” Responding to a comment by Smith that the league is a nonprofit organization under the tax code, Pash said, “It’s a nonprofit organization in the same way that De Smith’s old law firm is a nonprofit organization -- the owners or partners pay taxes on what their earnings are. The partnership doesn’t pay the taxes. He knows this” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/5). Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Ed Bouchette notes in an “unusual move, the NFLPA issued a list of prospective restricted free agents Thursday and did so assuming no new collective bargaining agreement [will be] in place, resulting in an uncapped year.” Based on that, “new rules take place, including a measure that extends from four to six years the length of time a player needs to serve before he can become an unrestricted free agent” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/5).
Writer Says Smith "Almost Too Slick"
Goodell Says Lockout Not Good For Anybody
PREPARING FOR A LOCKOUT: Smith, asked during the NFLPA’s annual pre-Super Bowl press conference on Thursday if he “felt the owners bought ‘strike insurance’ with under market priced TV extensions in exchange for guaranteed payments even it there are no games,” said, “It’s not strike insurance. It’s lockout insurance. You can’t interpret the new TV deals as anything but lockout insurance.” Smith added that if next season is an uncapped year, he “believes, as his predecessor Gene Upshaw did, that it will be extremely difficult to convince the players to go back to that system.” NFLPA President Kevin Mawae, who is a free agent this offseason, said that he is “unsure if there will be a free market, hinting the union would be watching for signs of collusion among owners to fix wages that led [MLB] into trouble” (BOSTON HERALD, 2/5).
Mawae Trying To Educate
Players On Saving Money
BLOODY SUNDAY: YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Wetzel wrote to miss a single game “would be calamitous.” NFL Sundays “are sacred, dates millions of fans plan around whether it’s to attend a home game, gather with friends in front of a TV or take a pilgrimage to visit a road venue.” With just 16 games, “every one is precious” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/4).
Whan Has Enlisted Team Of Highly Regarded
Teachers To Serve As His Advisory Council